Most of us have probably seen and heard of the Dark Knight Detective. From the TV show to the comics, the Dark Knight has been a prominent character for over 70 years. This year has seen the 70th anniversary of the Batman franchise, prompting everyone from millennials to baby boomers to reminisce about the great detective and his fight against crime.

While the Dark Knight’s retirement has been greatly anticipated, this year has also seen the rise of a number of other Batman-like characters, from Damian to Harley Quinn to the Joker. With the Batman legacy in mind, let’s take a look at whether or not a certain young man from South London has what it takes to be the next Batman.

From Script to Character

Andrew Scott, the actor who will portray Dick Grayson in the upcoming feature film The Awakening, made his acting debut in a 2006 episode of the popular TV series Gotham. In this episode, entitled “Ace Chemistry”, Batman and Robin track down a group of drug dealers who have stolen a dangerous chemical from Wayne Tech. While scuba diving to search for the stolen chemicals, Batman encounters Ace Chemistry, a character inspired by the drug lord El Santo. In the comics, El Santo is known for setting dangerous traps for the police, as well as being a master of disguise who often feigns mental illness in order to escape prosecution. When Ace Chemistry first appeared in the episode, many viewers expected to see the return of the Dark Knight. However, the producers of the show decided to keep the character of Ace Chemistry under wraps until the end of the episode.

When the episode aired, many fans were upset that the character had been kept a secret for such a long time, and expressed their disappointment that he did not live up to their imagination. Fortunately, that does not seem to be the case, as Scott has since gone on to play other notable roles in both film and television. He has also proven himself to be a versatile and talented actor, capable of inhabiting several different characters with ease.

The Gotham producers did not intend to introduce a whole new generation to El Santo, as he has already been a part of the Batman mythology for several years. Nevertheless, El Santo’s influence can still be felt in other characters that are introduced to the big-bad-guy genealogy later on in the show. For example, Carmine Falcone, the intimidating and mysterious figure at the head of the Falcone Crew, is likely a combination of both the comic book and TV character. Falcone appears in a number of episodes, and even has a short cameo in the final season of Gotham, where he is seen sitting at a table with mobsters and assassins.

Similarly, the portrayal of the Joker in the 2018 film Joker is strongly influenced by the El Santo character. Like the infamous comic book villain, Young Joker is a master of disguise and manipulates others to achieve his goals. In a recent interview, co-director of the movie Joaquin Phoenix spoke about the challenge of playing the Joker and how much he enjoyed the process. “It’s like playing a character who is really difficult to play,” Phoenix said in the interview. “You have to find the humanity in the character. It’s something that you have to feel. You can’t force it.”

A Variety of Villains

In addition to the Dark Knight, a number of other iconic Batman characters have recently been brought back from the frickin’ grave. One of the most prominent examples is Harley Quinn, the Joker’s accomplice and lover who has been a bad girl in several Batman comics and TV shows. In the Batman Reboot comics, Harley Quinn is a major villain who steals the show with her antics and sarcastic comebacks. In the most recent Harley Quinn TV show, which premiered in 2018, Quinn is even more obnoxious than in the comics. In one scene from the show, she even manages to outdo the Joker himself, prompting the audience to laugh and cheer while they’re drowning out her antics in song.

Similarly, the Riddler has been one of Batman’s most iconic nemeses since his first appearance in the 1946 movie series. While the character first appeared as a minor villain in the original film, he went on to become one of the most popular adversaries of the Dark Knight. In the comics, the Riddler is famous for his puzzles, trick questions, and bizarre riddles that often force Batman and Robin to think outside the box. While many of the puzzles from the comics have been adapted into various puzzle games, such as the classic “Catch Phrase,” the character has mostly remained a relevant figure in popular culture. In 2018, the Riddler made a cameo appearance in the third season of Titans, portrayed by Arj Barker. Unfortunately, this was the last we saw of the character, as his next appearance will only be in animated form in the upcoming animated film Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Another iconic enemy of Batman is the Penguin. This character first appeared in the 1940s and he has remained popular ever since, appearing in numerous Batman comic books and cartoons. While the Penguin has primarily been a Batman villain, he has also made a number of cameo appearances in the larger Marvel cinematic universe. In addition to Batman, the Penguin has appeared alongside Ironman (played by Robert Downey Jr.) in several Marvel films, including The Avengers and Ironman 3. In The Avengers, the Penguin and Ironman are both on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D., and are eventually cornered in a church. Here, they engage in a fight that eventually destroys the church – although Ironman escapes while the Penguin is imprisoned.

Even more recently, fans have seen the return of the Joker and the Penguin as significant character in the DC Extended Universe. Not only have these characters been featured prominently in numerous films and TV shows since their respective debuts, but they have also played a large role in shaping the future of the Batman franchise. For example, after almost being killed by Batman in the first film, the Joker goes on to have a significant hand in the creation of a new, more dangerous Batman. Similarly, the Penguin helps to train Jim Gordon in the ways of being a detective, and even provides the first step in Gordon’s rebranding process. These characters will be playing a much more significant role in the upcoming Dark Knight Rise TV series, which will focus on the early life of Batman foe Bane (played by Tom Hardy). While the Joker and the Penguin have both been featured heavily in the marketing material for Dark Knight Rise, this will not be the case for Bane, who is largely a product of concept art and designs inspired by classic villains.

While these characters have remained relevant and popular for several decades, it is important to note that their relevance does not mean that they are un-scary or un-challenging. On the contrary, many of these characters are among the most frightening and challenging opponents that Batman has faced. For example, Hannibal Lecter is a recurring villain in the Batman franchise who has been described as the “most terrifying psychopath ever to appear on screen.” While most people are scared of regular old serial killers, it is interesting to note that Hannibal Lecter is largely considered a compelling character who is both fascinating and scary as a result of his intelligence and manipulative nature. Many other villains from the Batman mythology, such as the Joker and the Penguin, have the same effect on their opponents – making them both memorable and terrifying experiences for any fan of the Dark Knight.

A Variety of Heroes

While it is important to acknowledge the significance of the villains mentioned above, it is equally important to remember that Batman’s allies and friends frequently prove to be just as terrifying and challenging as their foes. Some of these allies and friends are: