9 Fan Theories About The Riddler That Are Actually Plausible

The Riddler Actually Figured Out That Bruce Wayne Was Batman By The End Of 'The Batman'

DC has become one of the largest superhero franchises in history. With so much source material to pull from and countless interesting characters, there’s no question as to why. From unanswered questions to character quirks, some passionate fans managed to come up with some interesting theories surrounding one of Batman’s most interesting foes – The Riddler. With Jim Carey’s iconic portrayal in Batman Forever, to Paul Dano’s more deranged approach in The Batman, The Riddler has always been a fan favorite.

1. Supervillains Fund The Riddler’s Shenanigans In ‘Batman: Arkham Nights’ So Batman Will Be Distracted On Key Nights

Supervillains Fund The Riddler's Shenanigans In 'Batman: Arkham Nights' So Batman Will Be Distracted On Key Nights

From Redditor u/Burnnoticelover:

Ever notice that The Riddler just so happens to place his trophies/take his hostages/set batmobile challenge courses on the craziest nights in Gotham history (Joker bomb plot, Arkham Asylum takeover, fall of Arkham City, Arkham Knight incident)?

Also, ever notice that the Riddler has the money to construct all the contraptions and devices for his challenges (no small cost) despite the fact that we see no source of revenue? Black Mask deals drugs, Two-Face robs banks, Penguin sells guns, and the Joker does whatever he has to, but we’ve only seen Riddler commit crimes centered around Batman.

I was playing the Arkham games, and realized how much time I was wasting collecting Riddler trophies, but then I realized maybe that’s the point.

Maybe, on the nights when the criminals of Gotham are planning serious stuff, they give Nigma a few million dollars in the hopes that Batman will be too busy trying to stop Riddler to pay attention to them.

2. The Riddler Addressed His Letters In A Very Specific Way In ‘The Batman’

The Riddler Addressed His Letters In A Very Specific Way In 'The Batman'

From Redditor u/SullyyMr:

In The Batman, the Riddler addressed 4 out of 5 of his letters “To the Batman”. But for the letter that was with the bomb that was sent to Bruce Wayne, the letter is addressed “For the Batman”. Maybe the Riddler does know his identity?

From Redditor u/Tyelr_olp:

The package said “for Bruce Wayne” the thing that says “for the Batman” is in a fireproof envelope, meaning he intended for Bruce Wayne to be blown up and the the letter survive for Batman to read.

3. Edward Nashton May Not Have Committed The Crimes In ‘The Batman’

Edward Nashton May Not Have Committed The Crimes In 'The Batman'

From Redditor u/Imaginary_Ad_2478:

Is it possible that Edward Nashton didn’t physically commit any of the crimes?

It was his plan, sure, but is it possible that it was one of the guys who show up at the end who do all physical work? He says himself that he is not cut out for the physical strength needed.

At the funeral scene. The Riddler is briefly present up on a balcony, but one of the fake Riddlers who was unmasked at the end was also at the church. Could it actually have been Edward who was up on the balcony? And if so, isn’t it a question of who actually was behind the mask for the Mayor’s murder and the DA’s kidnap?

Maybe Edward never really left that room at all.

4. The Campiness Of ‘Batman and Robin’ Was A Result Of Riddler’s Plan In ‘Batman Forever’

The Campiness Of 'Batman and Robin' Was A Result Of Riddler's Plan In 'Batman Forever'

From Redditor:

Before I start, I want to remind the readers that Batman Forever wasn’t nearly as campy as Batman and Robin. It still had serious moments regarding Bruce Wayne’s psyche, it told the origin story of Robin pretty well, and some of the Tim Burton aesthetics were still present. There are even 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes that display a more serious vision for the movie compared to what we ended up with.

Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you why Batman and Robin’s sudden turn to 60’s camp makes perfect sense in-universe.

The theory:

In Batman Forever, The Riddler develops a virtual reality device called The Box and sells it to Gotham. Everyone buys The Box and even becomes addicted to using it. This makes The Riddler not only rich, but also the smartest person in Gotham. This is because The Box is secretly sucking their intelligence and transferring them directly into The Riddler’s brain. At the end of the movie, we see Batman destroy his equipment which results in Edward Nigma lose all the intelligence he collected plus more. But we never really see all that stolen intelligence being given back to the people of Gotham. Batman just destroys the machine, puts The Riddler in Arkham and that’s it. As far as we could see, all those stolen brain waves gone to waste. This explains why everyone in Batman and Robin act like Saturday morning cartoon characters. The movie takes place in a Gotham that lost half of its brain cells.

5. The Riddler Gets Caught So Often In ‘Gotham’ Because Ed Leaves The GCPD Clues

The Riddler Gets Caught So Often In 'Gotham' Because Ed Leaves The GCPD Clues

From Redditor u/whatagooddaytoday:

So I commented a couple months ago on a post about Ed Nygma/The Riddler that theorized about what might have happened to him post-Gotham and what his future interactions with the GCPD and Batman could have been like. Here’s what I said:

I think that Ed’s story is very tragic. He’s my favorite character on the show, and I was always hoping that he would overcome his Riddler persona.

I have a personal fan theory that Ed’s fight with the Riddler is far from over. In most Riddler appearances in media, he is very well known for the puzzling act of leaving clues to lead Batman to foil his own plans. Now of course, every adaption of Riddler has a reason for doing this, but it usually seems strange that he would willingly leave hints to lead to his own arrest.

I like to imagine that the Gotham’s answer to that involves Edward, who is still within the Riddler’s subconscious as shown in season 4. Edward is shown as someone who is trying to be a good person throughout his time on the show. Edward really just wants love and a genuine friend, though he usually tried to gain love and friendship through misguided ways. Still, to me, he doesn’t want the Riddler to be in control because the Riddler resorts to murder and despicable acts for his own agenda. For example, nearly every murder that the Riddler commits is purposefully thought out while Ed’s murders are more by accident. Ed doesn’t want to kill or commit crimes to get what he wants, but the Riddler is completely fine with doing so.

Therefore, I believe that the Riddler continues to leave clues for Batman after the time of the Gotham show because Ed’s still in there. Ed knows that the Riddler is evil. He wants to try to stop him while he is able to do so by leaving behind riddles and hints to what the Riddler is planning for Batman or the GCPD to discover without the Riddler knowing. The Riddler was mostly in control, but I always kept in mind that Ed was still in there as well. So in this way, I like to think he resurfaces in those little moments to help Batman and Gordon stop the Riddler’s plans.

Of course, none of this was really explored on-screen, but if the Gotham story continued, I’d like to see this kind of thing.

While I also acknowledge that Ed wasn’t completely innocent in any of the Riddler’s or his own crimes, one of my favorite things about Gotham was how Edward still strived to do everything that he could to not let his demons win. I ultimately find his story tragic because we all knew who he was supposed to become, yet he still fought back against the Riddler anyway. I think that’s why I like this theory that he’s still fighting back against the Riddler on the inside, even though the battle is seemingly already lost.

6. The Arkham Conversation In ‘The Batman’ Points To The Riddler’s Real Motive

The Arkham Conversation In 'The Batman' Points To The Riddler's Real Motive

From Redditor u/itsnotthattypeofmovi:

I’ve been thinking about the ending of The Batman since I left the theater. I know theres been a lot of discussion of the confession scene. I do like the theory that Riddler was repeating the name Bruce Wayne to see Batman’s reaction and testing his theory that way, but since Batman didn’t react, he drops it and just explains how he became the Riddler. I think that is wrong though, and the Riddler does know that Bruce is Batman. 

Throughout the movie Batman isn’t the alter ego of Bruce, Bruce Wayne is the mask. Right before going to see Riddler Batman sees a message left for him in Riddler’s apartment which states ‘I know the real you.’ I think the misdirect of having Riddler talk about the reason why he hates Bruce Wayne is because he doesn’t want to expose Batman’s secret, as he knows people are watching them over the camera, because the public wouldn’t understand the riddle. The Riddler says in his confessions that people want to unmask Batman, but they’re missing the point, he’s looking at the real Bruce right now. Even if public knew that Bruce was Batman, they would miss the point that Batman isn’t the mask… Bruce is. The Riddler is a funhouse mirror of Batman, as the Riddler said his mask allowed gave him his power. To the Riddler, the mask of Batman is the “real you.” 

I believe that the Riddler did not really intend to kill Bruce with the bomb but rather sent him away to let the actual mask of Bruce Wayne to die, to both cleanse Gotham and Bruce of the lies and allow them to become what they were meant to be. I think the Riddler was giving Batman a way out to be able to be. He saw Batman as his partner and because Bruce didn’t take the Riddler’s out he’s the one that got away to the Riddler.

7. The Riddler Is The Son Of The Journalist That Tried To Expose The Waynes In ‘The Batman’

The Riddler Is The Son Of The Journalist That Tried To Expose The Waynes In 'The Batman'

From Redditor u/AdamSmasherTime:

I think that the Riddler was the son of the journalist that tried to expose the Waynes. If not explicitly stated, here’s my reasons why:

1. The Riddler had knowledge of the dirt on Martha Wayne.

This is important because this is the only information he couldn’t have gotten from the club where he was spying on the corrupt Gotham patrons. So this is information he must have gotten from somewhere else and I theorize from his father.

2. Riddler is an orphan.

The Riddler was an orphan around the same time as Bruce becoming an orphan. We know that Falcone had Thomas Wayne killed shortly after he had taken care of the journalist. And I don’t believe his parentage is ever brought up.

3. Riddler has a personal vendetta against the Waynes.

It’s never really stated why Riddler had a personal hatred for the Waynes. We know he didn’t like Thomas Wayne because of Renewal and his mob connections, but he tried to blow-up Bruce, who to his knowledge, was not directly connected to the corruption of Gotham. I believe Riddler wanted revenge on the whole corrupt system after his father was murdered for exposing it.

8. The Riddler Actually Figured Out That Bruce Wayne Was Batman By The End Of ‘The Batman’

The Riddler Actually Figured Out That Bruce Wayne Was Batman By The End Of 'The Batman'

From Redditor u/ThreeFoxEmperors:

Near the climax of the film, the Riddler is sent to Arkham where Batman has a lengthy conversation with him. This conversation is mostly one-sided and involves the Riddler seemingly taunting Batman by continually saying “Bruce Wayne” in a strangely mocking tone and implying that he knows that’s who he is under the mask. It is shown that this entire conversation is being recorded by the Arkham cameras and this leads Batman to behave nervously as he believes that his time as the Batman is over now that the Riddler has been recorded calling out his true identity.

However, at the very end of the conversation, the Riddler reveals to Batman that he believes they have been working together the entire time and laments that Bruce Wayne was the only target that they failed to mark off their list.

This causes Bruce to become relieved and believe that his secret identity is still safe and that the Riddler doesn’t actually know who he is under the mask. My theory is that the Riddler does actually know that Bruce Wayne is the Batman and this was his way of telling him that, but he didn’t want to this knowledge to become public so he talks about Bruce as a potential victim at the end of his monologue to throw the Arkham guards and whoever else watches the recording off the trail.

He states in the same conversation mentioned above why he doesn’t want to reveal the Batman’s secret. The Riddler mentions that many people are obsessed with unmasking the Batman, but that he personally doesn’t care because he believes that when the Batman puts on the mask, that’s when he becomes his true self and that the man underneath, Bruce Wayne, is the façade. The Riddler also views his own identity the same way and believes that he is only his true self when wearing his own mask.

The first piece is the fact that the Riddler never again tries to kill Bruce Wayne after his first failed attempt, and the film never gives a reason as to why he gives up. Given how obsessive the Riddler is shown to be throughout the film regarding his plan to enact vengeance, it doesn’t make sense that he’d never again try to kill Bruce, unless he had a specific reason not to. I believe that the reason he never tried again is because he learnt that Bruce was the Batman.

Evidence that he discovered this secret is found on a wall full of notes and pictures of all of the Riddler’s targets that is shown in his hideout. One detail that is specifically focused on is a note written over a picture of Bruce with his eyes marked out that reads, “If only I knew then what I know now.” I believe what the Riddler “knows now” is that Bruce Wayne is the Batman and that if he knew this earlier he never would’ve tried to kill Bruce to begin with.

Some may question why the Riddler doesn’t reveal Batman’s identity after he mocks him and says that they were never working together. The reason for this is that unlike other versions of the Riddler, this one isn’t obsessed with using riddles to look smart, but instead using them as a sort of coping mechanism and as a tool to execute his own form of justice. Therefore, he doesn’t feel the need to gloat about discovering Batman’s identity. Additionally, he also likely still respects the Batman, despite everything, and enjoys challenging him with riddles. If he were to reveal that Bruce is the Batman, he would no longer have access to someone who can go toe to toe with him mentally, someone who he even considered a partner at one point, and he knows this.

If he were to reveal Batman’s secret, I believe that he would only do so in the form of a riddle and only to someone who he likes/respects as much as the Batman (possibly his new “friend” the Joker and this could be an issue to pop up in a potential sequel).

9. The Riddler Has Always Known Who The Batman Is In ‘The Batman’

The Riddler Has Always Known Who The Batman Is In 'The Batman'

From Redditor u/The_Centurion_Avenue:

Riddler has always known that Bruce Wayne is Batman. And he wanted to kill Bruce, not the person, the identity.

In his apartment we can see photos of Bruce Wayne and Batman side by side and even a drawing that is clearly an attempt to draw Bruce Wayne with the Batman mask. But the most interesting thing is the text on the wall:

I know the REAL you…

But he even thought that Batman is his ally or even a friend of his. Why try to kill him?

Because he knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman’s alter ego, not the opposite.

Right now, every Riddler attack is perfectly executed, but why does he make such a lame attack on Bruce Wayne? A relatively weak bomb and even with a visible light? He wants to warm about the bomb, otherwise putting a flashing light in a “surprise package” it’s stupid. The only reason Alfred only has minor injuries is due the light.

Because he doesn’t want to kill the person. He just wants to kill the identity, the alter ego.

He was hoping Batman/Bruce Wayne would survive the attack like Alfred does. In this way Batman finds the way to anger, madness and revenge. Riddler wants Batman to sink to his level. And what does he want Batman to do? Kill Falcone.

If Batman kills Falcone, Bruce, the identity also dies. And only Batman “The revenge” remains.

Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne Bruce Wayne.

The only one we didn’t catch.

He is talking about “us”. He is disappointed that Batman didn’t kill Maroni and Bruce Wayne.