How The Batman Sets Up an Iconic Villain from the Comics

Editor’s note: The below article contains spoilers for The Batman.

As advertised, Matt Reeves’ batman gives audiences a dark and gritty take on the character, unlike any other live-action adaptation. That said, the superhero film isn’t afraid of referencing its comic book roots. Whether it’s The Long Halloween or Year Onethe Robert Pattinson-led film borrows heavily from the source material. Moreover, Reeves makes it clear the world he has created is here to stay, setting up several adversaries for Batman to encounter in the future. and-while Barry Keoghan‘s appearance as The Joker remains the film’s most overt sequel set-up, Reeves subtly references another fan-favorite villain: Thomas Elliot, aka Hush.


The nod to the iconic villain comes from a vital point in the overarching plot surrounding Thomas Wayne’s past. When he was campaigning to become Gotham’s mayor, Thomas found out a reporter was digging up dirt on his wife, Martha, regarding her own dark past. Worried about her spouse, she went to Carmine Falcone to scare off the reporter. The mob boss ends up killing the journalist, whose last name is Elliot. In the sequence where paul dano‘s Riddler reveals the truth about the Wayne mayoral campaign, he displays the word “HUSH” on national television, referencing how the reporter was silenced. Not just a neat easter egg, the plot development recontextualizes the Wayne legacy and allows for Thomas Elliot to be introduced down the line.

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Image via DC Comics

Created by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee In 2003, Thomas “Tommy” Elliot made his first appearance in Batman #609 as a childhood friend to Bruce Wayne. He was also born into a wealthy family, but unlike Bruce, he hated his own parents. So much so that he attempted to murder both in a car accident, but his mother survived thanks to Thomas Wayne. After Bruce’s parents were murdered, Thomas further resents the young inheritance for being able to achieve financial independence. Later on, he killed his own mother to retrieve that family fortune. Which worked, but nothing stopped his unquenchable hatred for Bruce, forcing him to team up with Riddler to take down the Bat and his alter ego.

The psychotic murderer is known as one of Batman’s most despicable and self-entitled villains to grace the comic book pages. Moreover, his rise in popularity can be partly attributed to the Arkham video game series, which had players solve the villain on several occasions. A 2019 animated adaptation called batman hush also featured the antagonist, but heavily changed key parts of the original story. Most recently, Tommy Elliot appeared in The CW’s bat-womanplayed by gabriel mann before Warren Christie took over while he posed as Bruce Wayne.

the-batman lies
Image via Warner Bros.

The introduction of Hush would begin yet another clash between orphans. His rivalry with Bruce Wayne, not just Batman, is set up exceptionally well by Reeves. Of course, his exact motivation for him may have to be slightly different from the comics, but his hatred for Bruce and his family for him reigns. He has a good reason to despise him, and while some of those reasons may line up with the Riddler’s own trauma, Elliot would have a much more personal vendetta against the Wayne family.

The vast potential of the grimy superhero world Reeves creates in batman is nothing short of a miracle. By combining unrelenting realism and the exciting source material, the filmmaker is able to create a foundation in which Batman’s rogues’ gallery can thrive for years to come. And while the film teases an upcoming partnership between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Riddler, it seems inevitable Hush will join the picture. If batman is any indication, there is no doubt that Reeves will pull off whatever is planned for future installations.

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