So why not classic Batman villain the Penguin in the new movie? Perhaps this day came too late to make Mr. Nolan aware of our flightless friends on the bottom of the world and Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, Gotham City’s own Penguin. Doubtful he was unaware as an ad for the Iceburg Lounge (owned by the Penguin) was featured on the promotional website for The Dark Knight. Ad here. Last seen played by Danny Devito in Batman Returns and years before by Burgess Meredith in the Batman television show, the Penguin must have been considered for this third Bats film. Killer Croc, the Riddler, even Clayface have been rumored since the untimely death of Heath Ledger. His unforgettable performance as the Joker and death insured no other would attempt to carry the role into the next film. So what was it that influenced Nolan to skip the bird?
We will have to wait for Nolan to officially comment on his decisions but I suspect an old Batman villain to be at least partly responsible. Jim Carey, the former Riddler, may be to blame and his upcoming movie Mr. Popper’s Penguins the reason. Carey will star next to six penguins in the adaptation of the 1939 Newberry honor book and hilarity will ensue. Competing with Jim Carey and cute funny penguins with a dark deformed killer bird themed man in the same year may not have seemed appealing. Also accommodating animal trainers and exotic animals is difficult enough, but competing for the same birds and trainers might have prompted the choice of Anne Hathaway with a whip and a backbreaking Tom Hardy.
Comic book fans will debate all day about how a character should look, which character should be in what and why they fit a story, but these are movies. As such they are prone to the pitfalls of any other motion picture including studio budget constraints, actor problems and competing with this year’s lineup of releases.
Even though we won’t have a Chris Nolan interpretation of the Penguin to enjoy and compare to Tim Burton’s. We all can still celebrate the Penguin and his lovable namesakes on this National Penguin Awareness Day by reading a few Batman comics and watching a few documentaries. Happy National Penguin Awareness Day!