Fans reckon the Riddler in the new The Batman movie reminds them a lot of another figure known to enjoy riddles and puzzles, saying he looks a lot like the ‘Zodiac Killer’.
In the forthcoming reboot, which is due for release this March, we see Robert Pattinson step in as the Caped Crusader alongside Paul Dano, who plays the film’s villainous Riddler – a serial killer who targets Gotham’s elite while feeding puzzles about his crimes to law enforcement.
However, many people have drawn parallels between Dano’s new take on the baddie and the Zodiac Killer, the pseudonym of a serial killer who murdered at least five – but possibly as many as 37 – people in Northern California throughout the 1960s and 70s, taunting police in a series of letters and cards that included mysterious ciphers.
Speaking about the Riddler’s new look on Twitter, one fan wrote: “I really like that he looks like the Zodiac Killer which is very fitting for the Riddler.”
Many others agreed, with another saying: “I said the exact same. Looks like the Zodiac Killer.”
A third said: “I was about to post this! But yea I really like how they look very similar! It’s very creepy but cool.”
A fourth wrote: “EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING!!!!!”
And it turns out that the similarities are very much intentional, with director Matt Reeves admitting last month in an interview with Empire Magazine: “He made me think of the Zodiac Killer. He went around in a black, crudely-made costume, with an insignia and an executioner-type hood. In the darkest of dark ways, he’s the real-world analogy for one of these rogues’-gallery characters. There was something very powerful and provocative in that idea.”
Dano added: “I liked how both grounded and big this film is at the same time. So there are some grounding forces like the Zodiac Killer, right? But it’s still The Batman, and for me it’s so much bigger, so it was important to let my imagination react to the script, rather than strictly basing it on a serial killer.”
It’s a connection that the entertainment press also picked up on last year when a teaser trailer was released, with Screenrant reporting that the character ‘seems to be Gotham’s own Zodiac killer’.
Writer Anthony Borrelli explained: “The elements presented in the teaser trailer portray Riddler as a sadistic killer looking to strike fear into the citizens of Gotham. These traits, when paired with his appearance, point to Riddler becoming Gotham’s very own Zodiac Killer, a notorious serial killer in the San Francisco Bay area during the 1970s who was never captured.
“Matt Reeves’ decision to base his version of the Riddler on this notorious killer is inspired, as it utilizes the Riddler’s most interesting characteristics and pairs them with those of a real-life super villain who terrorized a city and brought the police to their knees.”
Borrelli said the ‘most obvious’ similarity between the two is the Riddler’s physical appearance in the upcoming movie. He wears a ‘dark bag-like mask over his face with glasses and a jacket with what appears to be a circled question mark’, which is ‘remarkable similar to eyewitness descriptions of the Zodiac Killer’, which alleged he wore glasses, wore a sack over his head and a tunic bearing the Zodiac symbol.
Secondly, the Riddler ‘taunts the police with sadistic killings and various writings’, in fitting with the Zodiac Killer’s modus operandi.
“Yes, riddles and coded messages are to be expected when dealing with the Riddler, but the manner in which they are done in this film is darker than anything previously attributed to the character on film,” Borrelli added.