The Penguin HBO Max Series Reportedly Casts Michael Kelly, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and More
HBO Max’s The Penguin spin-off series is expanding its ensemble roster with four new additions. As per Variety, the series has cast Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse), Deirdre O’Connell (Outer Range), and Rhenzy Feliz (Runaways). Character details for the actors are currently under wraps, save for Feliz’, who reportedly plays a teen, whom the crime lord Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell) befriends and employs as his personal driver. Filming on the eight-episode-long limited series is set to commence later this month in New York City, with Craig Zobel (Mare of Easttown) attached to direct the first three episodes.
Set about a week after the events of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, the limited series will explore The Penguin’s (Colin Farrell) rise to power, as he tries filling the vacuum left by Carmine Falcone’s (John Turturro) death. “And if it works, if the trajectory is interesting, and the audience goes for it, and we do our jobs right, the second Penguin feature will pick up where the HBO show will end,” Farrell said in an interview, earlier this month, re-affirming that the series is tightly woven to the movie’s arc — eventually leading into The Batman: Part II, slated to release in October 2025. The series promises to expand upon Falcone’s legacy by introducing daughter Sofia Falcone, played by Cristin Milioti (Palm Springs). Debuting in the acclaimed graphic novel Batman: The Long Halloween, she was a mass murderer, returning in aid of her father, who was being targetted by the mysterious Holiday Killer.
New cast member Kelly is best known for playing the recovering alcoholic White House chief-of-staff Douglas Stamper in Netflix’s House of Cards. Spy thriller fans might also recognise him as CIA Officer Mike November from Amazon Prime Video’s Jack Ryan series. Emmy-winner Aghdashloo (The Expanse) brings her distinct, raspy voice to the table, alongside O’Connell, who won a Tony Award for best actress in the play, ‘Dana H’. Feliz seems to be the only one with past experience in a comic book project, having previously led Marvel’s Runaways as Alex Wilder. He now joins the DC Comics family as an unnamed personal driver and accomplice to the Penguin, according to Deadline.
Reeves will executive-produce the HBO Max series, written by Lauren LeFranc (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), with plans to further expand his BatVerse with detailed explorations of the Dark Knight’s Rogues Gallery. An earlier report suggested that Reeves was looking to build out more movies focused on both established and obscure villains such as the Scarecrow, Clayface, and Professor Pyg. An Arkham series is also in the works, shifting gears from the originally planned GCPD (Gotham City Police Department) show. These will be labelled as DC Elseworlds projects, running separately from the larger, mainline DC Universe that co-CEO James Gunn established, earlier this month.
It’s also worth mentioning that The Penguin series has been billed as an ‘HBO Max’ project, which means that it might not drop on Disney+ Hotstar, as seen with Game of Thrones or The Last of Us series. Gunn’s Peacemaker, which also bore a similar branding, was released on Amazon Prime Video seven months after its initial US airing. On a related note, HBO could be looking to move its content from Disney’s streaming platform soon.
Currently, there is no release window for Colin Farrell’s The Penguin limited series.