Michael Kelly (House of Cards) is the latest actor to join the cast of The Penguin. The upcoming eight-episode HBO Max series is a spin-off from last year’s The Batman. According to Deadline, Kelly has been cast alongside Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse) and Deirdre O’Connell (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). At the moment, their roles are currently undisclosed.
What’s interesting is that neither of the new cast members are new to comics-adjacent projects. Kelly, in particular, is no stranger to the DCEU, having previously played The Daily Planet reporter Steve Lombard in 2013’s Superman opus, Man of Steel. However, both O’Connell and Aghdashloo have appeared on the Marvel side of things, with O’Connell appearing in Netflix‘s Daredevil in a guest role while Aghdashloo appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand as Dr. Kavita Rao.
The Penguin will follow Colin Farrell as the title character (Oswald Cobblepot), reprising his villainous role from The Batman. He’ll be joined by Cristin Milioti (Palm Springs, Fargo), who will play Sofia Falcone, daughter of the mobster Carmine Falcone, the Penguin’s now-deceased former boss. Carmine Falcone was portrayed by John Turturro in The Batman.
The Batman writer/director, Matt Reeves, revealed that The Penguin picks up from where things were left off at the conclusion The Batman, and will lead directly into The Batman Part II. At the end of The Batman, Carmine Falcone was assassinated by the Riddler (Paul Dano), who subsequently staged an attack that left the entirety of Gotham City flooded. The Penguin is last seen watching the sunrise after the flood, presumably plotting how to advance his own interests in the newly-destabilized Gotham. Previous descriptions of the show have compared it to Scarface, with Penguin attempting to fill the power vacuum left by Carmine Falcone’s death. Additionally, Farrell had high praise for the series, stating, “I read the first episode, which is just so tasty and so unusual, as the character was on the page and what Matt Reeves kind of envisioned when he was thinking of this iteration of the bang up of Oz.”
The Penguin will be executive produced by Farrell, Reeves, his producing partner, Dylan Clark, and the series’ showrunner, Lauren LeFranc (Impulse, Marvel‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Bill Carraro (Lovecraft Country, Blade Runner 2049), and filmmaker Craig Zobel (Mare of Eastown, The Hunt), who will also direct several episodes of the series. Production on The Penguin is expected to begin later this month in New York. It’s expected to air sometime in 2024. The Batman Part II, meanwhile, is currently scheduled for release on October 3, 2025.
Though Kelly, Aghdashloo and O’Connell‘s roles are currently unknown, it will be interesting to see how they fit into the larger lore of The Penguin and The Batman.