Following the enormous box office success of The Batman, Colin Farrell will reprise his role as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin for a limited series for HBO Max. The potential spinoff was first reported in September 2021 and has now officially been given a series order from the streaming service.
Based on the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for DC, the show will follow Penguin, as he rises through the ranks of Gotham’s criminal underworld.
The series is a direct spin-off from The Batman with Matt Reeves and Dylan Clark, who directed and produced the film, serving as executive producers on the Penguin project.
The so-far unnamed series — which has been described as “Scarface-like” — will follow Penguin/Cobblepot’s rise through the Gotham City underworld.
“The world that Matt Reeves created for The Batman is one that warrants a deeper gaze through the eyes of Oswald Cobblepot,” said Farrell in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited about continuing this exploration of Oz as he rises through the darkened ranks to become The Penguin. Will be good to get him back on the streets of Gotham for a little madness and a little mayhem.”
One of the most popular villains in the Batman franchise, the character has previously been played by Danny DeVito in Batman Returns and Robin Lord Taylor in Gotham.
Meanwhile, The Batman — which stars Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight — was finally released after multiple pandemic-induced delays in March 2022, bringing in a global total of USD $258 million in its first week of screenings. The movie also generated rave reviews, despite its three hour run time.
Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, and Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon also star.
The Penguin spinoff marks the second such series from The Batman at HBO Max as the streamer has already ordered a drama set within the Gotham Police Department. Other DC series in development include a Suicide Squad spinoff, Peacemaker, a Green Lantern series and a Justice League Dark series from legendary producer and filmmaker J.J. Abrams.
At the time the news of the potential spinoff broke, it was met with some scepticism from fans of Batman prequel series Gotham, who argued that we’ve essentially already seen a Penguin origin story and therefore don’t require another.
“The Penguin was the worst Batman villain until one of the best things Gotham did was make Penguin a centrepiece, and developed him perfectly,” one Twitter user wrote. “Please don’t regress. Just cancel this while you’re ahead and make the Batman origin story we’ve all been waiting for.”
The Penguin was the worst Batman villain until one of the best things Gotham did was make Penguin a centerpiece, and developed him perfectly. Please don't regress. Just cancel this while you're ahead and make the Batman origin story we've all been waiting for. https://t.co/Q0ZYmqWxFd
— David Rosenblatt (@SirSquinty) September 13, 2021