Batman Rogues Nolan Missed: Hugo Strange

by Ryan Rigley

Learning Batman’s secret identity decades before Bane was even created, Hugo Strange has always been one of the Dark Knight’s most challenging adversaries. In fact, he was one of the Caped Crusader’s first villains ever, first appearing in Detective Comics in 1940. Recently, Hugo Strange has seen some notoriety with his prominent role as one of the main villains in last year’s “Batman: Akham City.”

Strange would fit perfectly into the “Dark Knight” universe that Christopher Nolan has created, being as he’s just a demented psychiatrist with a Batman obsession and no real superpowers. The only foreseeable downside would be that he’s not that recognizable of a character.

Read on for more about how Hugo Strange could have worked in the Nolanverse!

In his first appearance, Hugo Strange is a scientist who utilizes stolen technology to create a dense fog that allows his gang to go about robbing banks unseen. After Batman single-handedly defeats Strange’s gang of criminals, Strange sets up a trap in order to exact his revenge upon the Caped Crusader. Waking up in Strange’s lair after an intense battle, Batman finds himself hanging from his wrists and being viciously whipped by the crazed scientist. However, he soon manages to escape using brute force and Strange is immediately sent to jail.

Hugo Strange is perhaps most famous for his role in the “Strange Apparitions” story arc, in which he’s seen running a private hospital for Gotham’s wealthiest citizens. After Bruce Wayne checks in to the hospital due to some radiation burns, Strange discovers that Bruce Wayne and Batman are in fact one in the same. He then attempts to auction off Batman’s secret identity to some of Gotham’s biggest criminals, including the likes of both The Penguin and The Joker. Strange’s obsession with Batman has gotten exponentially worse throughout the years; he now hopes to one day usurp the title of Batman, often times dressing up as the Caped Crusader when he thinks no one is looking.

Any great Batman story revolves around a threat to both the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne, as we learned from “The Dark Knight Rises.” Hugo Strange is perhaps the best example of a villain that will attack Batman where it truly hurts: in his own home. What makes Strange such an interesting enemy is the fact that he’s a psychological threat to Bruce, but not a physical threat by any means. However, he’s obsessively studied Bruce Wayne and Batman for many years now, making Strange well equipped to mentally disarm the Dark Knight with just a few words.

Obviously, “Strange Apparitions” needs to come into play here. Maybe not the whole running a private hospital thing, but that part about auctioning off Batman’s secret identity to some of his biggest enemies is pure gold. Can you imagine seeing Scarecrow, The Joker, Two-Face, and Bane all in the same room, fighting each other for who gets to kill Batman first? I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it!

Would It Work?
Yes and no. Sure, Hugo Strange would make for one awesome villain and could easily be inserted into the Nolan-verse that we all know and love, but when it comes right down to it Strange just isn’t recognizable enough to warrant an appearance in a summer blockbuster. When people go to see a Batman movie, they want to see villains that they know, i.e. The Joker or Catwoman. Not some crazy bearded psychologist with a Batman fetish.

Would Hugo Strange have worked in the “Dark Knight” trilogy? Tell us why or why not in the comments section or on Twitter, and tune in tomorrow another rogue Nolan missed!