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‘The Penguin’ Tells a Batverse ‘Scarface’ Story

Colin Farrell as the Penguin in 'The Batman'

It’s Colin Farrell’s world, and we’re just living in it. After a stellar back-to-back run in 2022 with The Batman and The Banshees of Inisherin, the actor has confirmed that filming for the much-anticipated spinoff show focusing on his rendition of Oswald Cobblepot, better known as The Penguin, began in February. But just how much do we know about this equally-gritty limited series? Fret not because we’ve got it covered. 

What’s the plot of The Penguin

The Penguin is only one of a few slated spinoff series for Matt Reeves’ BatVerse, but it was announced just following the release of The Batman. We have yet to receive official word on the show’s synopsis, but based on several interviews Farrell and people behind the scenes have given, we can probably visualize the broad strokes. It’s been confirmed that the show will take place right after the events of The Batman and will also set the stage for The Batman II. It will, of course, follow Oz and his rise in Gotham’s criminal underground after the death of Carmine Falcone in the film that left the spot for boss vacant. The power grab won’t be easy. How I Met Your Mother’s Cristin Milioti is set to play Sofia Falcone, Carmine’s daughter, who will fight to take over her father’s operations and butt heads with Oz. 

Speaking to Extra, Farrell teased that the first episode opens right around a week after The Batman’s finale: “So Gotham is still somewhat underwater. I read the first script for the first episode, and it opens up with my feet splashing through the water in Falcone’s office.”

In a recent interview with SFX Magazine, The Batman producer Dylan Clark described the upcoming series as a “Scarface” story: “We’re doing one with Colin [Farrell] seeing Oz rise to power, almost like a Scarface story. It’s exciting to do something like that just as a standalone, but it speaks to the character and our movie, so that you’ll go back to the movie [and say], ‘Oh, I see that backstory there, that line refers to this.'”

On the note of mobster films, Farrell himself interestingly referred to late actor John Cazale’s iconic performances on The Godfather films as inspiration.

“There’s a certain amount of brokenness in Oz that, I think, as a reference, not for me performance-wise, but just emotionally, as a reference for Matt — I think Fredo from The Godfather was a bit of a reference,” Farrell said. “Matt was just talking about somebody who had very real and very lofty ambitions, but never really had the opportunity or the chance to explore them, and was maybe looked upon as someone who was handicapped, whether it was psychologically, intellectually—Fredo was frowned upon as less than the other brothers, and maybe Oz as well, in his life, was looked upon as somebody who wasn’t capable. And so that’s one of the things that fuels Oz.”

Who will be in The Penguin?

Colin Farrell as Penguin in The Batman
(Warner Bros.)

Colin Farrell is, of course, slated to don Oswald’s heavy makeup once more to star in The Penguin. 2022 proved to be a great year for Farrell, after the releases of The Batman, The Banshees of Inisherin, and After Yang. He landed an Oscar nomination for his outstanding performance on Banshees (He’s Pádraic, and he’s nice!) and most recently won a Golden Globe for the same film.

As previously mentioned, he will be joined by Cristin Milioti, who is best known for playing the titular mother on How I Met Your Mother and her time loop romcom, Palm Springs. Milioti will be playing Sofia Falcone, a character who, unlike most of the cast of The Batman, has only ever been seen in a live-action adaptation of the comics in one other instance, in Fox’s Gotham. Teen Wolf’s Crystal Reed played her in the character’s debut on the show. Other actors who have been confirmed to be joining the cast of The Penguin in undisclosed roles include House of Cards alum Michael Kelly, Encanto’s Rhenzy Feliz, 24’s Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Deirdre O’Connell, who is best noted for her performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Production of The Penguin

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Chuck showrunner Lauren LeFranc will be helming the project. She will be joined by Matt Reeves himself and his production partner Dylan Clark as executive producers. Michael Marino, who worked on Farrell’s impressive makeup on the film and was subsequently nominated for an Oscar for his talents, has also been confirmed to return to do Farrell’s makeup on the limited series. 

Mare of Easttown’s Craig Zobel is reportedly directing at least two episodes. He’s also expected to be executive producing. The Emmy-nominated filmmaker is also known for having worked on other hit series like American Gods and Westworld

No less than Farrell himself assured fans that the team behind The Batman was staying on top of things for the spinoff: “Matt Reeves is all over it. And sure Matt is borderline OCD when it comes to his focus and trying to do something new and original and with feeling and aesthetic and all that good stuff.”

Reeves has gone on record on multiple occasions stating his excitement for what’s to come for his BatVerse, and we’re all for it. During an interview with Collider where the director was explaining how The Penguin ties into the film’s larger narrative, he hinted at the possibility for more: “There are some other things we have planned too. […] The BatVerse of what we’re doing has me very, very excited, and I’m very passionate about it. So I’m excited.”

As of this writing, aside from The Penguin, Reeves, and his team are also working on a still-unnamed spinoff that will focus on Gotham’s infamous Arkham Asylum. There were also initial reports of a now-canceled limited series that would have focused on the Gotham City Police, which Reeves is still holding out for. 

When is The Penguin‘s release date?

Both Farrell and Reeves have confirmed that filming for the show began last February 2023, however, we have yet to receive word on a release date. It has been confirmed that the limited series will run for eight episodes. 

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.