Interestingly the villain in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game is currently a mystery. I’ve already talked about one theory I have for the game, about how Batman may die, but today I wanted to talk a bit about the Arkham Knight himself.
All we’ve really got is a teasing picture of them and Rocksteady’s word that the character is original. Whether they’re entirely brand new, loosely based on a Batman character, or actually just someone directly from the comics, is an interesting point to ponder on. It’s possible he is indeed brand new, but they could be simply saying that to avoid ruining the surprise. We were all told that in Dark Knight Rises a certain villainous character was most certainly not in the upcoming movie… except they were.
Either way, surely a character with some ties to the Batman mythos would be more interesting as the Arkham Knight than a random stranger. So with all that in mind, here are some ideas as to who the Arkham Knight could be, or at least inspired by.
Be warned! There are spoilers for Arkham City below, as well as some comic book spoilers which are individually marked.
Huge Spoilers for the Batman Court of Owls comic book storyline!
In the culmination of the Court of Owls storyline, it’s revealed that mayoral candidate Lincoln March is actually Thomas Wayne Jr., Batman’s brother. After which he dons an armoured suit and fights Batman as Owlman. The comic itself leaves it vague over whether Thomas Jr. is indeed Batman’s brother, or he simply believes that he is.
Either way, some variation of him would be a fun addition to Arkham Knight. As not only would he challenge Batman physically, but he’d also have a psychological impact on Batman as well. The presence of Thomas Jr. affects Batman’s perception of his own parents, as it means they had lied and hidden Thomas Jr.’s existence.
Obviously Owlman as the primary villain would be very personal. It’d also make for one killer reveal when Bruce realises who he’s up against.
Side Note: There is another version of Owlman, recently seen in Forever Evil, but he’s unrelated to Thomas Jr. and presumably less likely to appear in the game.
Batman’s Son, Damian Wayne… Or His Clone
Damian Wayne is the latest in Batman’s line of Robin sidekicks, but he’s unique in that he’s Batman’s biological son. You may be thinking how the heck could Damian be old enough to even be the Arkham Knight? Well, Talia makes a brief allusion to her having had sex with Bruce when she appears in Arkham City, so Damian’s existence is easy to slot in. As for his age, in the comics Talia is known for experimenting with cloning and rapid ageing when it comes to her son. The Arkham Knight could be a genetically modified, advanced aged version of Batman’s own son. As for who had raised him? Well…
The League Of Assassins
The League had a pretty clear role in Arkham City, but as a big part of Batman’s past it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they could return in Arkham Knight. Even if the Knight himself is a new character, he could be tied to the League. Especially since the League were presumably left leaderless with Ra’s al Ghul dead after the events of Arkham City. But even then, if the comics have taught us anything about Ra’s it’s that he never stays dead for long. Maybe in an attempt at revenge Ra’s has groomed the Arkham Knight, whether it’s related to Damian or not.
Azrael was the first person that popped to mind when I heard that the Arkham Knight wasn’t Batman. He’s often been referred to as a knight in the comics, due to his appearance and backstory. He’s also flirted between being a hero, villain and anti-hero.
During Arkham City Azrael could be found as part of a small side quest, but left before doing much beyond teasing that something big was on the horizon for Batman. In hindsight this could turn out to be the most clear hint at Arkham Knight’s story. I have a hard time believing that Azrael is the Knight himself, but he could still be related to him in some form.
Jason Todd is perhaps most famous for being beaten to ‘death’ by the Joker during his time as Robin. Later returning as the Red Hood, Jason has been both an ally and an enemy to Batman in the comics. Briefly during the Battle For The Cowl event, he donned his own version of the Batsuit, complete with handguns. Interestingly the Arkham Knight is said to use firearms too. Jason presumably does exist in the Arkham world, as Tim Drake is the current Robin in Arkham City, so even if he’s not the Knight, he’s out there somewhere.
Violent but skilled, Jason is another closely personal character that could get inside Batman’s head.
Spoilers for the Batman: Hush comic book!
A former childhood friend of Batman’s, Dr. Thomas Elliot is also the villain Hush. He works as a kind of dark version of Bruce, as while Bruce was distraught over his parents’ murder, young Thomas tried to actually get his own killed! He actually made a brief appearance in Arkham City in a plot that goes unresolved, perhaps opening the door for his presence in the game in some form, if not as the Arkham Knight. In the game the last we see of him is when he leaves to return to Gotham intending to pose as Bruce Wayne. This, coupled with his history, already sets him up as a kind of dark reflection of Bruce Wayne, it’s not a huge jump to push him into being a reflection of Batman too.
There’s a lot to mine from Batman’s history when it comes to inspiration, but perhaps one of the best ideas would be to avoid it entirely. Rocksteady could make a real mark on Batman’s mythos by inventing someone totally unique. So although all of the above choices would be exciting to see, I’m just as happy if they do indeed go for something entirely new.
Whatever the answer is, I’m looking forward to the final game so we can see for ourselves, once it hits PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year.