The Batman showcased its explosive first trailer on Saturday night, when writer-director Matt Reeves helped close out the DC FanDome virtual convention. The teaser provided fans with the first official footage of the upcoming film, as well as what kind of threat Bruce Wayne/Batman (Robert Pattinson) will be up against. The trailer definitely put a spotlight on Paul Dano's take on Edward Nygma/The Riddler, who appears to be targeting Batman with a series of hand-written notes and dead bodies. While what we see in the trailer is certainly terrifying enough in its own right, some clues could hint at a much wider - and more nefarious - organization working in the shadows.
The trailer opens with The Riddler creating a new crime scene for Batman and the GCPD, with a man whose face is covered in duct tape with "No more lies" scrawled across it. Accompanying the body is a friendship-themed card addressed to the Batman, which happens to be adorned with an owl, and asks the Caped Crusader to guess "whoo" his new friend is.
While the card could just be another innocent pun from The Riddler (in addition to his cipher within the card itself), the owl imagery certainly gave fans pause. This is especially the case when coupled with Riddler's costume, which includes a covered face and an overt pair of goggles. Could The Riddler's crusade be somehow tied to the Court of Owls?
For the uninitiated, the Court of Owls are a long-running organized crime syndicate in Gotham City, which has operated as a prolific secret society in the city since the 1600s. The group trains its own assassins known as Talons - children that they kidnapped from the circus - to carry out various crimes, and ideologically and physically reshape Gotham in their image. The group only made their comic debut a decade ago, but has already factored into a storyline on Gotham, and the upcoming Gotham Knights video game.
While the Court of Owls haven't been tied to Riddler in the comics, the idea of the villain being connected to their larger conspiracy would actually be pretty fitting. As Reeves revealed during the DC FanDome, the plot of The Batman will uncover a long-standing history of corruption in Gotham along the way.
"The idea is that we're in year two," Reeves explained. "It's the Gotham experiment. He's trying to figure out what he can do that can finally change this place. In our story, he's in that mode, that's where you meet him. You see that he is charting what he's doing, and it seems that he's not having any of the effects that he wants to have yet. That is when the murders start to happen, and then the murders begin to describe sort of the history of Gotham, in a way that only reinforces what he knows. It opens up a whole new world of corruption that went much farther."
"You start to see this epic history of corruption and gossip, that you start to understand well," Reeves continued. "I think all of that is a way to take a story that is a detective story [from] every point of view. It's got action, all that kind of stuff, but at the end of it is incredibly personal for him."
With three antagonists set to debut in The Batman and further develop across Reeves' planned trilogy - The Riddler, Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), and Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell) - the idea of the Court of Owls secretly pulling some of the strings would certainly be unexpected. Their fight against Batman would also lean more into his detective side, something that Reeves has said is a priority for the trilogy.
Do you want to see the Court of Owls factor into Matt Reeves' The Batman? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!