New casting for The Batman HBO Max spin-off teases Joker’s Return

A new report revealed casting information for a deep-cut DC Comics character set set to debut on HBO Max’s The Penguin Series closely linked to the Joker.

After Barry Keoghan’s Joker was teased at the end of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, fans were excited to see when audiences would see/hear the villain again. One place many didn’t expect the character to show up was in the upcoming penguin-centric HBO Max series.

The Penguin shall take place “About a week later The Batman ends”, with Colin Farrell’s Oz, who collects the pieces of a criminal empire and comes into his own as a penguin.

Aside from some casting info here and there, not much else is known about the project. And the last of those casting calls could have potential ties to Gotham City’s Clown Prince of Crime.

The Penguin casts Mike Stone

The Illuminerdi reported that HBO Max’s The Penguin is currently recruiting for the deep-cut DC Comics/Batman character Mike Stone.

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DC comics

Stone has one comic appearance so far, which is the focus of 2015 Arkham Manor: Endgame. The issue focuses on Stone telling a Joker-focused story about working at Arkham Manor, a version of Gotham’s iconic asylum set at Wayne Manor.

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DC comics

In the one-shot, Stone recalls Joker’s attack on the Manor, a night in which the Penguin-hired Arkham employee-turned gunslinger takes on the Clown Prince of Crime and knocks him out when he’s had enough of the bloodshed.

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DC comics

With Arkham and the legacy surrounding the institution becoming such a big part of it The Batman‘s last act, it is not known if The Penguin‘s take on Stone will simply be muscle for Oz’s growing criminal empire, or an Arkham employee as he is in the comic.

What could Mike Stone mean for the penguin?

It seems odd for the creative team behind HBO Max The Penguin including such a deep-cut character in the upcoming series, but it could very well be intentional.

If Stone was only playing a background role, he could have been called “Goon #2” or “Arkham Guard”, but he isn’t! Mike Stone is specifically named for a reason.

Stone is one of the few characters that has ever faced the Joker and won. The only other big name to do so is none other than Bruce Wayne (aka Batman), and more often than not even the Caped Crusader loses in the long run.

Perhaps this is an indication that the Joker will play at least a small role in the period to come Batman spin off. Barry Keoghan’s Unseen Arkham Prisoner probably won’t be the main villain The Penguinthought it was inevitable The Batman2. But his possible escape from Arkham, or any hints of it, could feed into the case.

All of this could lead to another great story as well. Could Mike Stone’s inclusion be a hint that Arkham Manor (the title of Stone’s only comic book appearance) will become a part of Matt Reeves’ Bat-Verse?

The Batman revealed that Bruce Wayne’s mother was actually an Arkham too. So the iconic family mansion being converted into a home for Gotham’s most wanted might actually work well in this universe. But all of that is speculation at this point.

The Penguin is slated to begin filming in early 2023, with no public release date set at that time.