The Penguin HBO Max Series Finds A Director In Mare Of Easttown's Craig Zobel

The writer-director and EP of "Mare of Easttown" is headed back to HBO (although, the Max version this time), for a project that seems like it'll be a far cry from the emotional Kate Winslet-led detective series that earned him Emmy nominations last year. This time, filmmaker Craig Zobel will be helming "The Penguin," the offshoot series based on the version of the Gotham villain Colin Farrell played in "The Batman" earlier this year. The Wrap confirmed the news today after it was first reported by Discussing Film.

Aside from "Mare of Easttown" and his feature work on films like the tense thriller "Compliance" and the controversial satire "The Hunt," the filmmaker has also directed noteworthy episodes of other prestigious cable shows like "The Leftovers," "American Gods," and "Westworld." Zobel is set to join "The Penguin" as a director and executive producer. Farrell, "The Batman" director Matt Reeves, and Dylan Clark are also set to exec produce, with Lauren LeFranc ("Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") on board as writer and showrunner.

Farrell returns as Oswald Cobblepot

Though the details of "The Penguin" are still under wraps, the series will apparently follow Farrell once more as the menacing and unlikeable – yet surprisingly funny – villain who stole scenes in the latest Batman flick. In the book "The Art of The Batman," Farrell revealed that he has a backstory for each one of the character's scars, saying, "You would hope that from thinking about it — even subtextually or unconsciously — this information finds its way into the character and onto the screen." Luckily, fans won't be left with just subtext, as the show about Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot has already been ordered straight to series.

"The Penguin" looks to be a prequel of sorts, as Farrell said upon its announcement, "I couldn't be more excited about continuing this exploration of Oz as he rises through the darkened ranks to become The Penguin." Meanwhile, another series, initially reported to be about Gotham PD, is apparently on hold for now. Robert Pattinson's take on the caped crusader cleaned up at the box office early this year, so it came as little surprise when a sequel to "The Batman" was announced in April.

It's great to hear that "The Penguin" is waddling ahead, given that this seems to be a dangerous time for HBO Max works in progress. In August, Warner Bros. Discovery canceled "Batgirl," and all eyes have been on the streamer and its in-development projects ever since. "The Penguin" does not yet have a release date.