The Nolan Treatment

2018 marks ten years since the release of  Christopher Nolan’s monumental The Dark Knight. His realistic and gritty rendition of the Batman universe (or any superhero stories for that matter) have made many comic book fans not only absorbed, but obsessed and wanting more. Yet since then, DC keeps on feeding us disappointments after disappointments in a an attempt to create a shared cinematic universe – except maybe for Wonder Woman.

Nolan’s trilogy ended four years later, and somehow we just can’t get over it. Sadly, we all only witnessed what could have happened should there be a fourth film with Blake or “Robin” on that very last scene. So, just for fun, let’s make some predictions about how would the Nolanverse pan out after the end of Rises – in particular, the rogue gallery.

I’m going to try to carefully create respective backstories and appearances (and maybe throw in some cast predictions) for each and one of them, including what could be suitable for Nolan’s vision of a modern and believable Gotham. Images shown are what I feel resembles the closest to each character, which I searched from Google Images.

Here goes,


Backstory: I think Garfield Lynns would only measure to be a crazy arsonist going rampage on Gotham. A limited dimension that would make him just a low-level villain – not a feature film main antagonist. That’s why we need to make Firefly interesting. How about we genderswap Firefly (which the Gotham TV series have kinda already did), change her name into Geraldine or Geri and use part of the character’s backstory from Arrow? Let’s just make Geri a girl who years ago lost her entire family when Gotham’s finest firefighters (called the Fireflies) could not save them from a burning apartment. Geri vowed to get her revenge by burning every fire station in the city.


courtesy – design Gotham TV series

Appearance: Geri will be wearing fireproof tights but with a GCFD coat on the outer layer. She’s gonna have a blowtorch connected to a propane tank on her back, while wearing an insect like protective mask and helmet.
Potential cast: Someone relatively young, looked rugged and unmanicured, but not too brutal, also misleadingly doesn’t show the qualities of a leading woman (at first). Even more deceiving, she’s small and not necessarily caucasian. My choice would be Mila Kunis or Fan Bingbing (should it be Asian, maybe her name can be Geri Lin?)


Calendar Man/Girl

Backstory: Why two options? Because somehow both have their respective coolness, which somehow cannot be combined into one. Paige Monroe with her corporate vendetta and outfits to match her background, and Julian Day with that Hannibal Lecter obsession about the dates. Or should we just try? Okay. Paige Day is a former fashion model with an intense insecurity about her looks. Once she’s reached her 30’s and started to lose jobs, Paige gave up to her dark side. Years later, she reappeared as a masked woman who kills her former colleague and clients. All the killings always happens at the same date every month, but with souvenirs of a certain holiday from each month – New Year’s for January, Valentine’s for February, Easter for March, April Fools for April, and so on. Batman needs to figure out what connects them, before the year ends.


courtesy deviantart (Paige) & dc.wikia (Julian) design Dennis Culver (Paige) & Tim Sale (Julian)

Appearance: Both the mask idea and the month tattoos around her head are great enough, but of course it cancels each other’s purpose. The mask was supposed to be covering Paige’s “flawed” face [while in reality there was nothing wrong], while the tattoo will obviously be a true flaw to her porcelain skin. I was thinking, Paige uses the mask before she got caught, and when she did and confined in Arkham, she shaved clean the bottom part of her hair and made the tattoos, embracing her true identity as Calendar Girl, psychopath.
Potential cast: Someone with a flawless face but will switch to insanity in a heartbeat – and won’t mind about looking bad at the end? Charlize Theron or Olivia Munn with black hair would be stellar in this.


Killer Croc

Backstory: Now this one’s a challenge. We can leave this in the idea trash, or we can just force to find something plausible for Waylon. Like this new medical treatment I recently saw on the news for burn victims where they use fish skin to cover the wounds. What if, Waylon was a career basketball athlete in college, but one day got into an accident that burned nearly every skin on his body. The doctors tries to treat him with this new thing, but instead of fish skin, it’s crocodile skin. Then it got weird when the skin eventually merged with Waylon’s, making him a walking designer bag. This brought Waylon into depression and he fell into the world of underground fighting. One day he killed one of his opponents, which turned a little light in his dark soul – not a good light, of course. Waylon starting to get a hitch from killing and cannibalism, that leads to a chain of brutal murders in the slums of Gotham.


courtesy – design Phil Cho

Appearance: Well, I think I described it nicely above: he’s a living Gucci purse. Waylon has a perfect physique nonetheless, like an MMA heavyweight fighter.
Potential cast: Someone tall enough to portray a star basketballer. I was thinking Jon Jones, but he might have trouble adjusting to Nolan’s standard for acting. So maybe Quinton Aaron – with rigorous exercise to shape him into a killer bod (literally), of course.



Backstory: Before you judge me for bringing a very much comic book monster into this universe, hear me out. Did you know that the very first iteration of Clayface was not the shapeshifting blob like we all recognize now? Clayface was originally a character out of a B-list movie played by struggling actor Basil Karlo. After one of his movies were to be remade but not recasting him in the lead role, Karlo took revenge to those he deemed responsible by donning the character’s appearance and costume. Sounds realistic enough? *sorry for not being too creative here, this origins was literally a masterpiece already. Maybe we can add a little detail such as… being a struggling actor, Karlo was forced to expand his skills, which includes state of the art make up or stuntman. So basically, Karlo can disguise himself into anybody when doing his crimes. Right?
Appearance: Sadly, by making Karlo a ‘mere’ master of disguise, will kind of robs the robust and raw greatness that is Clayface. But it will also be so interesting to see how he will trick Batman over and over again. While for Karlo’s appearance, let’s make him a classically sculpted debonair actor (with features that reminds you of Gable, Clift or Grant), but depressed and scarred, a man that felt no hope in his life.
Potential cast: I want to give Michael Keaton another chance in this canon (such as his messy yet compelling performance in Birdman), but I can imagine it would be an insult. Let’s try with James Marsden or Michael Fassbender. That 1940s old Hollywood face would be great.


Harley Quinn

Backstory: Eugh. I honestly don’t like her, especially when her purpose at the beginning was to be Joker’s hench and wench. I mean, the Joker is already a superior villain, even maybe the best of all time – why would he need an assistant? But just like the Joker, Harley probably fits this dark and crazy universe better than anyone else in the gallery. Let’s take the classic origin story – a resident psychiatrist at Arkham who got infatuated with the Joker’s unfiltered charm. She then became an obsessed fan, and before you know it a switch flicked inside her, turning her into a deranged happy blonde with a dangerous fetish for violence and anarchy.
Appearance: Nope, not gonna use the jester suit, nor the overused rebel girl with dyed hair look. I’m thinking since she was a doctor, might as well something playful from a formal attire – maybe a catholic schoolgirl? White shirt, black and red plaid skirt, long socks, blonde pigtails and some messy makeup – with crazy eyes and grin, of course.
Potential cast: Yet, despite I heard that Suicide Squad was a mess, Margot Robbie can practically play this character to the dot.


Black Mask

Backstory: In the world of Nolan’s realistic crime stories, how could we ever leave out ol’ Roman Sionis, one of Gotham’s undisputed crime lord. Let’s just make this simple, a seasoned Russian-American gangster since he was young, Roman worked his way up and eventually runs his own organization – taking the place of the Chechen as the designated Eastern European mob seat after the events of TDK. Roman will bring in some authentic Russian mobster schticks: drugs and prostitution business, high level bribery, even the tattoos.

Appearance: A crime boss wearing a black mask would seem ridiculous in this realistic universe, so Black Mask is a nickname given by his rivals – those he’s hurt during a negotiation or torture. Roman would always take them inside a dark room, and done the dirty deeds firsthand. All that with his face hidden in the shadows, giving that name a suitable ring to it. His goons wears black skeleton masks, hence becoming the gang’s moniker.
Potential cast: A guy that can do Bostonite flawlessly and Russian accent well – with a facade of a typical East European descendant mobster. That slick, sharp and cold thin build in a crisp suit. I’m thinking maybe Guy Pearce or Viggo Mortensen – the latter has done it, anyway.



Backstory: Haven’t seen Suicide Squad (do I have to?), but I like the approach with making Floyd black. The title of world’s greatest sniper assassin who never misses also rings a nice bell to it. But how do we put him in Gotham? Well, simply make him being in the city to do a job – maybe to kill the mayor or a visiting government official. Batman got in the way, now he’s a little irritated and decided to put the caped crusader in his quotation as a bonus for his employer.


courtesy – design Goran Bukvic

Appearance: Leave all the comic book theatrics behind, including the red jumpsuit and that weird ass mask. If you’re supposed to be good at killing people for hire, you’re not supposed to attract attention by looking like a Soviet Union gimp-ninja. Low key middle aged black dude with military experience who travels around the world working as a writer and blogger sounds more appropriate. He likes to wear a James Dean jacket (there, I kept the red, at least) and carries a camera backpack everywhere, but hides a very effective rifle in there as well – sort of like the legendary Jackal. Floyd wears the one eyed mask only when he’s about to aim his rifle, since it helps him to focus – something he devised during his tour in Iraq.
Potential cast: Let’s not change what’s already established here. I’m a cine-freak of the early 2000s’, and Will Smith will always be the best guy for any part for me.


Victor Zsasz

Backstory: The most realistic thing to a real criminal in Batman’s rogues gallery, Victor Zsasz is infamous for his hundreds of tally mark tattoos he carved all over his body – representing the hundreds of people he’s killed. But if the comic book persona took the guise of a disturbed angry thug, the Nolanverse could go another way. A well mannered and meticulous serial killer that has been moving from town to town all over the country to fulfill this blood thirsty obsession, and now he’s reached Gotham. This could be a true test to Batman’s detective skills.


courtesy – design Mindhunter TV series

Appearance: We can depict Zsasz as a blue collar man who works door to door, fixing their electricity or their plumbing system – houses where he will pick, torture and kill his victims later. He always wear an unrolled long sleeve shirt, buttoned all the way up – something of an anomaly among the peers of his profession. Of course, this is to hide his tattoos. The tattoos will appear more organized than it is in the comics, since Zsasz is an articulated serial killer with OCD. I can imagine the first scene of him having to button the very top button of his shirt because his tattoos have reached the bottom of his neck. And can we have him with glasses and mustache, and maybe a receding hairline, please? So working class American, so undetected.
Potential cast: Watching the Mindhunter series, can’t help to find someone with the qualities of the actors that depict these serial killers on screen. Normal, calm, confident, regretless, but chilling at the same time. Let’s just aim high with someone that we know will be good here – do I hear Leonardo Di Caprio, anyone? Sold.



Backstory: I think what Tim Burton did with Oswald in Batman Returns was brillliant, giving him a bigger plot to set in – albeit still very comicky. In Nolan’s realistic universe, Oswald might be just a short guy with long pointy nose who has a successful legitimate front, but a crimelord nonetheless. Probably one of the biggest ones – along with Falcone and Sionis. And he’s not shy with attention either. A socialite at heart, Oswald hangs out with politicians and celebrities, mingles within Gotham’s high class parties on a weekly basis. Let’s put aside the running for office idea for later (albeit intriguing).

Appearance: His stocky build and preference to appear on black tie affairs garnered him the infamous nickname. Unlike other rogues in the universe, Oswald embraced this fully, using other birds as his main theme – which included in many details like wallpaper, figures, pets, company logo, and accessories (cufflinks, tie pin, umbrella handle, etc.) Suspiciously always carrying an umbrella, which turns out to be a semi-automatic rifle.
Potential cast: The obvious would be Jonah Hill returning to his early 2000s’ weight (or in a fat suit), but we’re still open for other options.


Mr. Freeze

Backstory: Now this is tricky. Scientifically, there is no way Victor’s condition could actually exist in real life – unless he’s a completely different species altogether (one of the reasons it’s so hard to put in Croc, Man-Bat and Clayface in this list). But the story about him being a cryogenic expert who lost his wife on a rare condition sounds interesting enough. Let’s use that Victor Fries generic history plus the lab accident, but omitting the bizarre effects of the events on ol’ Vic – except maybe his bald head, that’s iconic enough to keep. Let’s say Victor simply wants revenge on those (he thinks) responsible for the accident. And since he’s a cryogenic expert, he simply makes ice guns (maybe liquid nitrogen?) to freeze blast his hit list. One of them happens to be Bruce Wayne. Zap.

mr freeze

courtesy – design Kenneth Rocafort

Appearance: Imagine a bald Anton Chigurh – some pale and creepy quiet man carrying a hosed compressed tank around and kills people with it.  Later on he puts it on his back, and wears an industrial goggle to protect his eyes. I’m a bit torn about his outfit – since it’s so cool, I hate to scratch it out. We could write it as his spine being badly injured during the accident that he needed an exoskeleton with protective armor to the cold mess he made. Too much?
Potential cast: Anybody that can pull the creepy slender man look pretty much can do this. Needs to be older, since he’s a doctor. How about Gustaf Skarsgard?


Poison Ivy

Backstory: Ah, Ivy. How could we ever make a real world thing out of you and your… floral quirks. But let’s imagine Ivy as a botanist by day but a drug dealer by night. She transforms a room in her lab into a narcotics lab, producing Gotham’s latest recreational drug. In the true spirit of the character, the drug comes in vials, labelled with a thorny rose – and the street name for it would be “Poison Ivy”. To make it even more in character, all you need to do to use it is to sniff it off the vial – but it has bigger effects if injected. Effects including hallucination and horny (d’uh).

poison ivy

courtesy – design Alanna Howe

Appearance: Not one that’s into confronting Batman one on one, Dr. Isley is a regular redhead with glasses. Maybe make one scene where Batman sees her (or spies on her) in her chambers while she’s in her (green) lingerie and red hair down – where he also sees a large tattoo of her trademark vines on her back.
Potential cast: I feel that this is a no thinker (and probably just simply lazy casting) but who else than Jessica Chastain? Would be great to see her in her return to an antagonist role, wouldn’t it?


The Riddler

Backstory: Who in their wildest dream never wished that Nolan would one day make his version of The Riddler. One of Batman’s smartest and most interesting rogue, I can imagine Eddy Nigma is a genius academic (either a college professor or PhD. student) in either mathematics or economics, who found a loophole in a banking or commerce or trading system that would make him rich – illegally, of course. His early works won’t grab Batman’s attention since it’s not hard crime, but then he gets greedy. He starts to develop taste for the theatrics, and his ego demands him to challenge the Bat on a battle of  knowledge – thus, born the riddles.


courtesy – design Patty McPancakes

Appearance: No question mark insignia, no masks, not even bright green tones. Maybe a darker green like army or olive tones. More of a bomber jacket or windbreaker kind of guy. The bowler hat stays, though – a memorabilia he found on a crime scene, and he just liked it.
Potential cast: Remember when there were rumours that Rises would have Johnny Depp as The Riddler? Well, it was not true – and Depp is in the pits right now. I was thinking maybe a race swap for him. Someone from Asian descent because they’re (wonderfully) stereotyped as being super smart – Indian nor Oriental would do. Probably the great Aamir Khan or the versatile John Cho? An Indian named Nigma is still more plausible, though.



Backstory: Ah, the one that could have been. How many of you actually wished that Blake said “Dick Grayson” or simply a “Richard” (instead of Robin) when he took that bag? I’m sure we all did. But let’s not make the same mistake that Joel did and make an adult into Robin again. Blake is old enough to be Nightwing, and looking at that very last scene, I think it’s safe to say he’s going that path already.
Appearance: Nightwing should be easy, all black jumpsuit, a mask and maybe a little shade of blue on the chest – perhaps made with spraypaint, the way he drew the batman emblem with chalk all over the city? I’m going to speculate that Blake will be working with Lucius to have all the technology that Bruce used, including the suit, grappling hook, and vehicles (at least the Bat-Pod, man).
Potential cast: Don’t change the winning team – JGL FTW.

Oracle / Batgirl

Backstory: Please tell me I’m not going nuts overboard with this – especially when Blake/Robin’s appearance have been altered quite significantly to fit the universe, where do you think a girl jumping around the high crime rated city in a suit similar to its loved/hated vigilante would go? The answer for me, a regular guy with regular ideas, is probably nowhere. But as the Oracle, young Barbara Gordon could take over Lucius Fox’s resourcefulness and knowledge to aid the Bat. Since Barbara needs to be around Dick/Blake’s age, she’s either going to be Jim’s adoptive daughter or niece. I’m thinking some freaky accident (caused by one of the Joker’s fiasco in TDK – you know, just to be faithful to both sources eheheh) that caused her to be paralyzed, but then Blake (who knew what she’s capable of) asked her to become the Lucius to his Batman.
Appearance: Red hair, glasses, on a wheelchair, always in front of the computer – and at one time wears a purple shirt with a yellow bat emblem, maybe?
Potential cast: Someone JGL’s age – can I have a vote for Emma Stone, everyone?


That seems pretty much about it. Ten rogues and two sidekicks with backstories that somewhat fits Nolan’s grim and realistic vision. At least I tried. I’m still trying to figure out how to fit in the Mad Hatter and Scarface in here – they would be bloody awesome. While it’s also really disheartening that I can’t include one of my favourites, Man-Bat (I felt Croc was already taking a risky shot). But overall, it’s pretty fun.

Now if only DC and WB is ever going to read this…


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