Matt Reeves' The Batman trailer has finally released, and fans are loving the filmmaker's gritty new take on the Batman mythology. While the trailer sets the movie up as a straightforward showdown between Robert Pattinson's Batman and Paul Dano's Riddler, a small easter egg might be hinting that the final villain will turn out to be someone else entirely.

In a scene showing The Riddler's greeting card for Batman, there is an image of an owl adorning the front of the card with the word "Who?" printed underneath. The owl is very likely a reference to The Court of Owls, a secret and extremely powerful organization made up of Gotham's elites, who have been directly responsible for the corruption of the city for decades.

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The Court of Owls appeared first appeared in Batman comics in 2011, and Matt Reeves hinted during DC FanDome that his movie will be following a similar explanation for why Gotham is so corrupt, and the role that the city's most powerful families played in enabling that corruption, possibly even Batman's parents.

"The murders start to happen and then the murders begin to describe the history of Gotham in a way that only reinforces what [Batman] knows about Gotham. It opens up a whole new world of corruption that went much farther. But as that story starts to come out, without being an origin tale for him, it ends up being something that touches on his origins. So you start to see that as it starts to describe this epic history of corruption in Gotham, you start to understand, 'Well, where did [Bruce Wayne's] family sit in that?"

Another factor that indicates the Court of Owls may wind up being the main villain of The Batman is the fact that Reeves has repeatedly stressed that his movie is constructed as a mystery. There will not be much mystery in the plot if the Riddler is set up as the main villain, and then actually ends up being the main villain.

Still, even though the Court of Owls may turn out to be the main villain, they are unlikely to figure largely in The Batman, since that would take the spotlight away from Riddler. Reeves intends to make an entire trilogy of movies about the Dark Knight, and the Court might make their presence felt in the first film, and the second in a limited manner, before triumphantly taking center stage in the final part of the trilogy.

The Batman is directed by Matt Reeves and co-written by Reeves and Mattson Tomlin. The film stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/The Riddler, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone and Peter Sarsgaard as District Attorney Gil Colson. The movie is set to be released in theaters on Oct. 1, 2021. This news originated at Comic Book Resources.

Neeraj Chand