The Penguin

Other than the production of ‘Shazam!’ and pre-production on ‘Wonder Woman,’ things have been extremely quiet on the DC Extended Universe front, which was somewhat to be expected after ‘Justice League’ proved to be such a box office disappointment in November.  But it looks like a certain cagey bird might be stepping in to make some noise– specifically “Waugh! Waugh!”

Reportedly, plans are underway to make The Penguin a major cinematic bad guy in an upcoming movie, most likely Matt Reeve‘s ‘The Batman’.  But in case that doesn’t work out, it’s believed that The Penguin will instead appear as the villain in ‘Birds of Prey’!

This is just a rumor at this point, but the scoop comes courtesy of Justin Kroll who is a writer for Variety and therefore has some pretty high-up and reliable sources.


The Penguin is certainly one of Batman’s most famous foes, but he is also one of the most difficult to make work.  He’s traditionally an ordinary rotund man with a long skinny nose, who waddles, wears a monocle and smokes through a cigarette holder.  He is typically seen dressed in a tuxedo complete with a top hat and tails and conceals his weapons in an umbrella.  He became popular during a simpler time and because kids found him funny.

In the 1992 movie ‘Batman Returns’ in which Danny DeVito played The Penguin, director Tim Burton reimagined him as a “mutant” born with physical abnormalities like flippers for hands.

In the comics, he has largely been evolved from an outright “supervillain” into more of a crime boss-type, which works better for modern audiences.

But perhaps his biggest move toward legitimacy has been on the TV series ‘Gotham’.  Not only has his physical appearance been completely overhauled– as he is played by the tall, thin Robin Lord Taylor— but he has been given a deeper backstory, including an overbearing mother and an absentee father.  But he has transformed from a bumbling low-level mob thug into a scary, ruthless gangster that basically rules the Gotham underworld often by forming alliances with other criminals only to betray and often kill them.

The Penguin makes sense as a part of the DCEU because he is one of the most famous and recognizable Bat-villains and he has been used sparingly in most adaptations, except for ‘Gotham’.  But his higher profile, thanks to that FOX series, also makes him a better known commodity than most.  And should he not make it into ‘The Batman’, the idea of him taking on the ‘Birds of Prey’ also makes perfect sense.

What do you think?  Are you looking forward to The Penguin possibly joining the DC film series?  What approach should the filmmakers take?