The Penguin: Release date, cast, and plot for The Batman spin-off series
Venture into Gotham's underworld with its slipperiest villain
In 2022, Matt Reeves’ The Batman introduced us to a new Gotham City with a new take on its twisted characters, one of which, Colin Farrell’s the Penguin, is getting his very own show.
Farrell’s heavily made-up portrayal of Gotham City crime boss Oswald Cobblepot, better known as Bat baddie the Penguin, was one of the most memorable elements of Reeves' dark and brooding take on DC’s Dark Knight.
While he only played a small role in a larger tale revolving around Robert Pattinson’s caped crusader and Paul Dano’s The Riddler, we’ll soon get to explore his life and crimes in a more expanded way on the small screen.
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Shortly after The Batman’s 2022 release, HBO Max revealed that Farrell will be returning to the make-up chair to play Cobblepot in an eight-part limited series.
What will it entail? It’s still early days but here’s everything we know so far…
Is there a trailer for The Penguin?
Warner Bros. Discovery's presentation in early April showcasing its new 'Max' streaming service gave us our first 'in production' glimpse at The Penguin.
While still featuring shots of Farrell filming, this brief teaser provided ample material to whet our appetite for what's to come, specifically a waddling, Tony Soprano-esque Gotham villain that's not afraid of violence.
Watch for yourself above.
The Penguin release date
The Penguin has been confirmed to debut in 2024 however a specific release date is still TBC.
Is The Penguin part of the new DCU?
Good question. After Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn was revealed to be the new story-steerer for the DC cinematic universe moving forward, many people wondered what that meant for the future of Gotham’s protector in the shadows.
While spilling about his future plans for the DC Universe, Gunn revealed that he will indeed be retooling the Batman character in a yet-to-be-cast project that takes its cues from Grant Morrison’s popular comic book run, The Brave and the Bold.
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That means that Pattinson’s Batman — and Jaoquin Phoenix’s Joker, for that matter — will still exist but in a separate creative timeline from Gunn’s future DC plans. These stand-alone projects will fall under a category known as DC Elseworlds.
It is here where Reeves and Farrell will continue to explore the Penguin’s shady dealings in Gotham’s underworld.
What is the plot of The Penguin?
According to the show’s official logline details, The Penguin will explore the character’s rise to power in Gotham’s criminal underworld.
Much like the Penguin’s nemesis, firm plot details for this new series are still very much in the shadows.
However, the show's star has spoken briefly about what we can expect, revealing that The Penguin takes place just weeks after the climactic events of Reeves’ movie and finds Gotham city largely submerged under water after the Riddler achieved his goal at the end of The Batman.
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“I read the first script for the first episode, and it opens up with my feet splashing through the water in Falcone’s office,” teased Farrell during a recent interview. “Even just that alone, I read it, I was like, ‘Oh, jeez.’ It’s lovely. It’s so well-written.”
Meanwhile, Reeves has suggested that the series will lean into Cobblepot’s quest for control as he “grabs violently for power in Gotham.”
The show will span eight episodes and be released on HBO Max under the title The Penguin. However, there’s a chance this moniker could change closer to the show’s release.
Speaking of which, an official ETA for this spin-off series has yet to be unveiled.
Who is starring in The Penguin TV series?
It’ll come as no surprise that Farrell will be at the centre of The Penguin, once again donning a hefty amount of prosthetic makeup in order to transform himself into Gotham’s slipperiest villain.
Joining Farrell is Palm Springs star Cristin Milioti who will play Sofia Falcone, daughter of criminal boss Carmine Falcone who was played by John Turturro in Reeves’ movie.
The Shawshank Redemption star and voice actor behind SpongeBob Squarepants boss, Mr Krabs, Clancy Brown, has also joined the series as rival crime kingpin Salvatore Maroni.
Comic fans will of course recognise this name as the person responsible for chucking acid in Harvey Dent’s face and creating Two-Face. Could this coin-loving bad guy be making an appearance? Only time will tell.
Other actors confirmed to appear in The Penguin include Deirdre O’Connell, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michael Kelly, Rhenzy Feliz, Michael Zegen, James Madio, and Scott Cohen but their roles are currently unknown.
Has The Penguin begun shooting?
Filming for The Penguin is currently underway in New York City and is due to last until mid-2023.
As with any outdoor shoot, it didn’t take long for stills from the production to leak online, with images of Farrell in familiar Penguin makeup and wearing a Joker-esque purple jacket and suspenders quickly circulating online.
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He was also seen filming sequences involving a slick purple car, once again hitting home the character’s focus on social status.
While Reeves is executive producing the show, he is not confirmed to direct any of the series' eight episodes but The Leftovers helmer Craig Zobel has signed on to direct three instalments.
The Penguin will be released on HBO Max.