Fancasting the DCEU: Batman Villains

One of Batman’s greatest strengths as a comics character is his rogues gallery. Batman simply has the best villains in DC, which is definitely part of what makes his stories so compelling. Often times, Batman has a unique dynamic with each character, enriching their interactions with philosophical differences or tragic companionship.

While hanging out with some friends recording Geek, Unchained’s next podcast, we got to talking about who we’d fancast as certain DC characters in the new DC Extended Universe. That was so much fun, I wanted to take the ball and run with it here on the blog. None of these will ever end up happening, probably, but as a huge comic nerd and film buff it’s fun to dream. Similar to my earlier series regarding Ant-Man and the MCU, I’ll be splitting this fancasting series up into 3 parts: Batman’s Rogues Gallery, DC Heroes, and DC Villains.


Mr. Freeze / Daniel Day-Lewis

We’re starting with big dreams here, folks. Mr. Freeze is my favorite Batman villain, and in my head only one actor is gifted enough to portray him on the big screen. Daniel Day-Lewis has what it takes to make Mr. Freeze the tragic figure that Batman: The Animated Series created. Mr. Freeze shouldn’t be overtly villainous and he shouldn’t come across as corny or campy–I think Day-Lewis is the only actor working today who could give Mr. Freeze the hefty performance needed. Imagine a Ben Affleck-directed Heart of Ice movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis? Gah, I got nerd chills just thinking about it.


Two-Face / Mads Mikkelsen

This idea gets me hyped. Mads Mikkelsen is the perfect guy to play a classy, gross villain. Have you guys watched Hannibal or Casino Royale? I think Mikkelsen could really give us a great depiction of the duality of Harvey Dent. Since the DCEU is using Batman as an established presence, it’d be great to also see an older Two-Face who’s been doing this for years. Dent is one of those villains that has close personal ties to Batman, and playing a villain who has a broken friendship with the main hero is basically the role Mikkelsen sold so well on Hannibal.


Hush / Matt Damon

I’m going to spoil a storyline that’s over a decade old, so if you still haven’t read “Batman: Hush,” you’re gonna want to skip this section. (Also, why haven’t you read “Batman: Hush?!”) Hush is Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend Tommy Elliott, and I would love the meta casting of Damon against Affleck. Hush is really just a really determined plastic surgeon with pistols, nothing Damon couldn’t pull off.


Poison Ivy / Blake Lively

This one actually was a suggestion from my friend Connor; I’d originally pitched the fancast idea of Jessica Chastain for Ivy and he one-upped me with the thought of Blake Lively. He reasoned that he thought Lively would have great chemistry with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn; their friendship and sometimes romance is a staple of both of their characters in the comic books. With Robbie producing her own solo Harley Quinn movie, the idea that we might see Poison Ivy onscreen soon isn’t so unthinkable.


The Riddler / Johnny Depp

When The Dark Knight came out in 2008, I was about to become a freshman in high school. I spent the last month of summer working on a film treatment for a sequel for The Dark Knight, with The Riddler and Catwoman. In my outline, Depp was renowned GCPD Specialist Edward Nygma, assigned to solve the ultimate riddle: who is the Batman? This is following the murders Batman accepted the blame for, so Batman is GCPD’s #1 Most Wanted. Anyway, Depp feels like the perfect fit for the Riddler’s special type of narcissism.


Catwoman / Angelina Jolie

Look, there’s just nobody you could cast right now who would better embody Catwoman’s strength, playfulness, moral flimsiness, and femme fatale persona than Angelina Jolie. It helps that the DCEU is featuring an older Batman; Jolie is the right age to play off Affleck.


Scarecrow / Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy is too underrated for my liking. His voice work in Pirates of the Caribbean was impeccable, lending his motion capture performance a gravitas it might have otherwise been lacking. Nighy is a man who could be scary, and he’s got the basic look of Dr. Jonathan Crane down: older, intellectual but off-putting, tall, and lanky. He’d make the perfect Scarecrow.


Ra’s al Ghul / Pedro Pascal

I don’t know that this one needs much explanation. Have you seen Pascal as Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones? That’s exactly what I’m looking for in an ideal Ra’s. Smart, cocky to a fault, battle savvy, and with a robust old world sexuality.


Hugo Strange / Kelsey Grammer

This is one of those times where a picture is worth a thousand words. Grammer just is Hugo Strange, and he’s no stranger to comic book roles, either. Grammer was game for Beast in the X-Men films; he’s actually the most realistic choice I have on this list!


That’s it for this fancasting, but there’s more to come! Let me know in the comments who you’d like to see as these characters, or any other Batman villains, and stay tuned for the next fancast article for DC Heroes.

Some general notes:

  • Penguin wasn’t on this list because in my head he’d be Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
  • Jared Leto is a good choice for Joker, but I’d have gone with Michael Fassbender, personally.
  • Margot Robbie was born to play Harley Quinn and she’s honestly who I would have cast.
  • I also wouldn’t have included Killer Croc on this list even if he wasn’t in Suicide Squad, because I would think they’d go full CGI like the Hulk.
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