Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot in The Penguin

‘The Penguin’ Gets the ‘Sopranos’ Treatment in This Teaser for ‘The Batman’ Spinoff

The Penguin‘s official teaser dropped on April 12, 2023, and features Colin Farrell going full Tony Soprano as Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot. The new Max series is still currently in production and not expected to debut until 2024, but it has sparked high anticipation for the first spinoff of The Batman. Prior to the release of The Batman, director Matt Reeves had plans to create an entire Batman universe separate from the DC Universe. These plans included expanding The Batman into a trilogy and creating spinoff TV series set in Gotham.

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There is currently an Arkham Asylum series in development, as well as a Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) series, which is believed to still be in development despite being previously put on hold. Meanwhile, The Penguin moved forward rapidly, which isn’t surprising considering how well-received Farrell’s performance was in The Batman. Despite having a minor role in the film, Farrell stole nearly every scene he appeared in. He fully disappears into the role, being rendered nearly unrecognizable while in costume (which ridiculously includes a fat suit). Plus, he brings viewers nostalgia for some gangster classics; he looks like he could’ve walked right out of The Godfather or Goodfellas.

While The Batman skimmed the surface of the Penguin’s personality and involvement in crime, he isn’t the mob boss that most comic book fans are familiar with. Despite accusations that he assisted in the Riddler (Paul Dano)’s murders, it is later revealed that the Penguin wasn’t involved. Later, when he tries to kill Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), he’s too late, and the Riddler gets to him first. The Penguin kind of fumbles throughout the film, proving to be a low-level threat waiting for an opportunity to present itself. This new teaser trailer, though, shows the Penguin truly settling into his role as the new crime kingpin of Gotham.

Colin Farrell channels Tony Soprano in The Penguin

Farrell has been compared to a lot of iconic actors who portrayed Brooklyn-accented gangsters, such as Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro. The actor also revealed that his performance in The Batman was inspired by John Cazale’s Frederico “Fredo” Corleone in The Godfather, as he’s from a prominent crime family but rather insecure and ineffective in his business. However, The Penguin teaser shows that he has gone from Fredo to James Gandolfini’s crime boss Tony Soprano. While no one can replace the great Gandolfini, it does seem as if Farrell’s Penguin is a nod to his legacy and spirit.

For one, the outfits he wears seem like they were pulled right out of The Sopranos. In The Batman, he wore a lot of neat suits and bowties, but in The Penguin he’s changing it up with some v-necks, loose collars, and even leather jackets reminiscent of Tony’s style. It’s not just his attire that has changed, but his personality: The Penguin is no longer a fumbling low-level threat, but a man who has identified his opportunity and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He has seen his moment, decided what kind of life he wants, and is now stepping on whoever gets in the way of his vision.

We see a new ferocity in the Penguin as he brazenly threatens others and chuckles when he kills them. His motivation is to be the kingpin of Gotham, believing that being feared and talked about by others will “mean something.” Despite being so vicious and brutal, he somehow still evokes sympathy through his scarred face, characteristic gait, and contemplative nature; he’s lonely, insecure, and an outcast, and this is part of the Penguin’s obsession with making something of himself. Like Tony Soprano, he’s shaping up to be a vicious, ill-tempered, crime lord, whose emotional struggles and complex motivations set him apart from the common criminal.

(featured image: HBO Max)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.