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Batman Part II: A Disturbingly Good Case for The Monstrous Professor Pyg

by Tom Chapman

Could it be a case of this lil’ piggy going wee, wee, wee, all the way home in Matt Reeves’ The Batman Part II? Some Batfans think they’ve found the perfect big bad for Warner Brothers’ upcoming sequel. Since the Dark Knight first spread his membraneous blue-black wings on the pages of 1939’s Detective Comics #27, we’ve met an eclectic menagerie of conniving cat burglars, cackling clowns and scarred psychotics as his recurring foes. While the comics have featured everyone from the undead Solomon Grundy (born on a Monday!) to the Alice in Wonderland-obsessed Mad Hatter, the various live-action movies have largely stuck to the same tried-and-tested roster of villains.

Although we’d love to see Reeves’ take on Condiment King or the Eraser, it’s much easier to roll out the Joker for The Batman Part II. Reeves has teased that Barry Keoghan’s version of the character glimpsed at the end of The Batman might not be breaking out of Arkham just yet, leaving the doors open to explore some untapped corners of Batman’s rogues gallery. Now, a frankly inspired choice has us ‘squealing’ with excitement. 

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This Little Piggy

Over on Instagram, artist @victor.heroart suggested an underused foe for The Batman Part II, putting Robert Pattinson’s hero face-to-face with Professor Pyg, the sadistic swine in a blood-soaked surgeon’s gown and pig mask. This would mark Professor Pyg’s theatrical debut, and picturing him we can’t help but think of the Saw movies. Despite being an unconventional pick, it would continue the theme of unhinged serial killers set by Paul Dano’s Riddler in 2022’s The Batman

Introduced in the pages of 2007’s Batman #666, Professor Pyg is the alias of Lazlo Valentin, a cosmetic-surgery obsessed scientist with schizophrenia and a ready scalpel. Valentin sees humans as imperfect, putting them under the knife to sculpt a mind-controlled army of lobotomized Dollotrons because, you know, how can anyone resist Dollotrons? If that wasn’t creepy enough, the good prof keeps his “mommy”– a makeshift iron maiden made of wooden planks, nails and a skull — around to torment his victims and occasionally himself 

Pyg has also been known to create animal-human hybrids, which could take The Batman Part II in a dark direction reminiscent of The Island of Doctor Moreau. He’s returned several times over the years, getting a revised backstory for “The New 52” continuity and again for the “Rebirth” revamp. Although not everyone has heard of Professor Pyg, he’s appeared in everything from Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight video game to Gotham Season 4. Professor Pyg also had a recurring role in the animated Beware the Batman, which focused on lesser villains including Tobias Whale and Humpty Dumpty. 

As for what makes Professor Pyg different from your standard C-tier Batman villain, co-creator Grant Morrison has hyped him as “one of the weirdest, most insane characters that’s ever been in Batman [comics].” Explaining the work that went into Valentin, Morrison told IGN,  “We hear a lot about Batman facing crazy villains but we tried to make this guy seem genuinely disturbed and disconnected … Professor Pyg isn’t from another world; he’s from here, but he’s very, very sick.”

Pyg in the City  

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Cut a little deeper, and Professor Pyg is an even more complex villain. Inspired by the Greek mythological character of Pygmalion and the 1913 play of the same name, Professor Pyg represents a tragic figure who falls in love with its own creation. Chuck in some real-life inspirations from animal testing, and you’ve got one very messed-up guy. It’s also safe to assume elements of the mask-wearing Professor Pyg have been inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface. 

Imagine a scene where Professor Pyg exacts revenge on Gotham’s pharmaceutical industry or a Wayne Enterprises subsidiary that’s been testing on animals. The Riddler took revenge on Gotham’s elite in The Batman, and Professor Pyg striking out against animal testing is a neat allegory for real-world activism. Think Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy having an ecological message about saving the planet (albeit poorly told) in Batman & Robin

The idea of Professor Pyg taking on the Caped Crusader even spilled over onto Reddit, with Batman fans asking each other who could play Professor Pyg. The top suggestion is John Carroll Lynch, the American Horror Story star being a frankly brilliant choice. Lynch is no stranger to playing deranged killers, having portrayed Twisty the Clown, John Wayne Gacy, and Mr. Jingles in the horror anthology. Either way, Professor Pyg definitely fits with the the current darker-than-dark take on the Dark Knight — making Christopher Nolan’s trilogy look like Sesame Street.

Well, okay, we got carried away there.  But still….

You Wanna Get Nuts? Let’s Get Nuts

Even though Professor Pyg would easily fit the overall aesthetic of Reeves’ Gotham, there are sure to be skeptics. Dano’s unique take on the Riddler was a highlight, but it might feel like a rehash to have Batman taking on another serial killer. Thankfully, there are plenty of other choices out there, with Reeves proving he’s up to the challenge of reimagining the Caped Crusader. Like the Nolanverse’s grittier take on Batman’s enemies, we can only imagine what Reeves could do with someone like King Tut or Maxie Zeus. Or, what if we went full body horror to introduce Man-Bat?

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The filmic DCU’s current mastermind James Gunn has spoken about The Batman as a trilogy, with Reeves’ movies being part of a “crime saga” away from the main continuity. That doesn’t mean this world ends here, and while Reeves’ movies (thankfully) sit away from Gunn’s canon alongside Todd Phillips’ Joker, these heroes and villains won’t be confined to just three movies. There’s already Colin Farrell’s forthcoming HBO Max limited series, with an Arkham-centric series tipped to bring back Keoghan’s Clown Prince of Crime. All of these can give a more diverse roster of those rogues we don’t usually see. Professor Pyg could at least be hinted at in Part II as part of the broader crime saga. 

Even if Professor Pyg doesn’t have the (pork) chops to hold up a whole movie on his own, it’s about time Lazlo Valentin got his time to shine. Imagine Penguin heading up a cabal of animal-themed villains, with Professor Pyg sitting alongside Great White Shark, Flamingo, Killer Croc, Catman, Man-Bat, and more. The Batman was clearly pointing at the Court of Owls and a wink toward the fan-favorite Hush, but rest assured, plenty are worthy of their own story and are lurking in the bowels of Arkham. Either way, Professor Pyg is one porky psychopath who could take The Batman Part II in a ‘wild’ new direction.


Based in Manchester, UK, Tom Chapman has over seven years’ experience covering everything from dragons to Demogorgons. Starting out with a stint at Movie Pilot in Berlin, Tom has since branched out to indulge his love of all things Star Wars and the MCU at Digital Spy, Den of Geek, IGN, Yahoo! and more. These days, you’ll find Tom channelling his inner Gale Weathers and ranting about how HBO did us dirty with Game of Thrones Season Eight.







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