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‘The Penguin’ Is Giving the Batman Villain a ‘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 is back in the highly anticipated spinoff series focusing on his iteration of Oswald Cobblepot, better known as The Penguin. 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 one of a few slated spinoffs for Matt Reeves’ Batman universe, announced after the release of The Batman. While Max (née HBO Max) has yet to release an official synopsis for the series, it has been confirmed that the show will take place right after the events of The Batman and will set the stage for The Batman Part II. It will, of course, follow Oz’s rise in Gotham’s criminal underground after the death of mob boss Carmine Falcone leaves a vacancy at the top of the food chain. 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. 

In a recent interview with SFX Magazine, The Batman producer Dylan Clark described the upcoming series as a Scarface story. On the note of mobster films, Farrell himself interestingly referred to late actor John Cazale’s iconic performance in The Godfather films as inspiration, telling MovieMaker magazine:

“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 Oswald Cobblepot in The Penguin

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 and nabbed a Golden Globe award for his outstanding performance in Banshees (he’s Pádraic, and he’s nice!).

As previously mentioned, he will be joined by Cristin Milioti, best known for playing the titular mother on How I Met Your Mother and starring in the time loop rom-com Palm Springs. Milioti will be playing Sofia Falcone, a character who—unlike most of the cast of The Batman—has only ever appeared in a live-action adaptation of the comics in one other instance, in Fox’s Gotham, where she was played by Teen Wolf’s Crystal Reed.

They’ll be joined by Michael Zegen (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Boardwalk Empire), James Madio (The Offer), and Scott Cohen (The Americans). Per Variety, Zegen is reportedly playing Alberto Falcone, Carmine’s son. Other actors who have been confirmed to be joining the cast of The Penguin in undisclosed roles include the great character actor Clancy Brown, 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

Also lined up for The Penguin in unnamed roles are François Chau (of LOST fame), Carmen Ejogo (who also appears in the new Boots Riley series I’m a Virgo), and David H. Holmes (Mindhunter, Difficult People).

Is there a trailer for The Penguin?

Sort of! Ahead of its rebranding, Max released a production teaser for The Penguin:

The vibe is very Sopranos, which tracks considering Farrell’s very James Gandolfini-esque Penguin aesthetic.

The Penguin‘s production

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Chuck showrunner Lauren LeFranc is helming The Penguin, joined by Matt Reeves 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 in addition to serving as an executive producer. The Emmy-nominated filmmaker is known for having worked on other hit series like American Gods and Westworld, and for directing Compliance and The Hunt.

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 in 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.