- "If knowledge is power, then a God am I!"
- ―The Riddler [src]
|Appeared in||Batman Forever|
Edward Nygma became a researcher under the employment of Wayne Enterprises, and had developed a device to beam television directly to a person's brain. Bruce Wayne, convinced that mind manipulation would raise too many questions, turns the idea down, but Nygma continues to work on it after hours. When Fred Stickley, the head of the research department, discovers Nygma's clandestine overtime, Nygma knocks out Stickley then uses him to test his device, discovering that he can use it to absorb people's knowledge. Realizing Wayne was right about it being mind manipulation, Stickley fires Nygma, but Nygma murders Stickley, doctors the security tapes to make Stickley's death look like a suicide, and then resigns from Wayne Enterprises.
Edward Nygma, who has been stalking Wayne and leaving riddles for him, is inspired and delighted by watching Two-Face's raid at the circus on live television and creates his own alter-ego in the form of The Riddler, a master of puzzles and quizzes. He perfects his brain-manipulation device into a system which beams signals to and from the human brain in order to simulate an immersive television viewing experience. This has the side effect of allowing the Riddler to read viewers' minds, as well as augmenting his own intelligence. Making a deal to use his brain-manipulation device to discover Batman's true identity, he becomes partner-in-crime with Two-Face in order to fund mass-production of the device. Successful, he readopts his Nygma persona and hosts a launch event for a set-top version of his device. Nygma convinces an unwitting Wayne to try it, resulting in Nygma and Two-Face discovering Wayne's alter ego. Two-Face attempts to kill Wayne/Batman, but the appearance of Dick (disguised as Robin) at the end helps to foil the plan. Armed with the knowledge of Batman's true identity, the villains later converge upon Wayne Manor. Unwilling to have Two-Face kill his idol, Nygma (as the Riddler) blows up the Batcave and leaves a final riddle for his nemesis, while Two-Face kidnaps Doctor Meridian.
Bruce and Alfred eventually solve the riddles, each one having a number in it:
1. "If you look for numbers on my face, you won't find thirteen any place." (a clock)
2. "Tear one off and scratch my head; what was once red is now black instead." (a match)
3. "The eight of us go forth, not back, to protect our king from a foe's attack." (chess pawns)
4. We're five little items of an everyday sort; you'll find us all in 'a tennis court'." (vowels- in the words 'a tennis court')
Each number corresponds to a letter in the alphabet, with 1 and 8 being digits for the number 18. 13 being "M", 18 for "R" and 5 for "E", M-R-E, or "Mr. E"- mystery, or enigma- Mr. E. Nygma. Changing into Batman, Bruce asks Alfred whether he should use the Batboat or the Batwing. Dick suggests both as he enters the Batcave- now dressed in a "Robin" costume of Alfred's design. Bruce decides two against two are better odds, and finally agrees to Dick becoming a partner.
Batman and Robin use both vehicles to enter the aquatic lair; however, the machines are destroyed by the Riddler and Two Face. The heroes end up swimming to an island made of metal, where they are separated. Batman fights his way through the Riddler's deadly traps, while Robin finally fights Two Face. He manages to send the villain over the edge of a ledge, where he clings to dear life. Realizing that he cannot kill Two Face, Robin helps him up instead. The villain thanks him by pulling out a gun and trapping him. Meanwhile, Batman finally reaches the Riddler, who sits in a large throne beneath the glass chamber that collects the brainwaves of Gotham's citizens. He reveals Chase and Robin, imprisoned in large containers over a large, deadly pit.
Riddler, challenging Batman with the greatest riddle of all ("Can Batman and Bruce Wayne actually co-exist?"), gives him the choice of rescuing only one of them. Batman distracts Nygma with a riddle of his own; unable to resist, the Riddler takes his hand off of the control that would drop the two. Batman uses this distraction to hurl a Batarang at the brain-wave hub, shattering both it and the Riddler's massive intelligence. Before Nygma collapses, he springs the trap doors in Robin's and Chase's cages, sending them plummeting to their apparent doom. Batman rescues both of them, only to be drawn on again by Two-Face perched on a nearby plank. Before he can shoot them, though, Batman acts on a suggestion of Chase, who had theorized that Two-Face's coin is his Achilles' heel. He tells Two-Face that he must flip the coin to determine their fates. Two-Face agrees and flips his coin, but Batman hurls a handful of similar coins into the air. Frantic, Two-Face grabs at the coins, but loses his footing and falls to his death. As he drowns, his own coin lands in his palm.
Batman returns to the now-destroyed Riddler's lair and finds Edward, his mind now enfeebled by the brainwave reversal. He answers Nygma's riddle saying "I had to save them both. You see, I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not because I have to be, but because I choose to be". But one wonders if The Riddler even heard or understood the answer - just after Batman tells him the answer, the Riddler is screaming in terror as he sees a bat flying towards him.
The Riddler is later committed to Arkham Asylum, and Chase is asked to consult on his case. She is told that he has been screaming for hours that he knows who Batman is. Wondering if The Riddler has indeed remembered the information taken from Bruce Wayne's brain concerning Batman's identity, she goes to Nygma's cell. She identifies herself and then asks Riddler if he remembers her. When he answers yes, Riddler offers to reveal the identity of Batman to her if she says please. She does so, and The Riddler responds by telling her that he thinks he himself is Batman, and as if to prove his point, he starts flapping his arms as if to imitate a bat.
- Bruce Wayne/Batman - Employer turned enemy.
- Dick Grayson/Robin - Enemy.
- Fred Stickley - Boss, enemy and victim; deceased.
- Alfred Pennyworth - Enemy.
- Chase Meridian - Enemy.
- Harvey Dent/Two-Face - Partner; deceased.
- Sugar - Partner.
- Spice - Partner.
- Non-Canon (1 film)
- Although the Riddler doesn't appear, when Mr. Freeze was being held in Arkham, one of Nygma's green Riddler outfits was still being held in a storage room, along with one of Two-Face's.