Batman 3 Dark Knight Sequel, Casting, Title, News and Rumors

Batman!Welcome back, kids! This post will serve as the authoritative source for all things related to the next Batman movie, so keep it bookmarked!  The Innernet’s been abuzz about some definitive news coming out of Hollywood about the final chapter in the Batman Begins Thrillogy Trilogy. Director Christopher Noland has let loose some facts to finally add to the dearth of info and quash some rumors that have circulated since 2008’s cash-swollen earner, “Batman Begins 2: The Dark Night.” Warner Brothers must have put the pressure on him after he spent two years crafting the commercial and artistic flop that was this past summer’s “Inception.” So when the boss starts hounding you, you get to work!

Let’s start by getting to the meat of what we do know.

OUT! Joseph Gordon-Levitt so far has not been cast as the Riddler, and Noland has rejected all rumors about the Riddler showing up in the movie. But I’m still holding onto hope that he’s handing out red herrings and we’ll get an appearance by a more cerebral and reserved Riddler, rather than the cartoonish version Jim Carrey brilliantly portrayed in the Burton/Schumacher Fourpeat Quadranglogy. Now I’m just spitballing here… as a nod to that series, Riddler could have a connection to Two-Face, like they were brought together in a Big Brothers program years ago and Harvey Dent mentored a young Edward Nigma.

Tom Hardy and Joseph Godron-Levitt

Badass. Now put them both in a Batman movie!

IN! Tom Hardy, who made a name for himself in 2002’s “Star Trek: Nemesis,” has been cast in an unnamed but pivotal role. Rampant nerd speculation favors him to be playing one of three different roles: Mister Freeze, Mad Hatter, or Joe Chill. The underdog favorite, of course, is Nightwing. Some have said he could play Alfred’s son OR Alfred from 40 years ago, but I don’t know if Noland is ready to introduce time travel into the series. I figure the time-traveling Pennyworth angle is bunk, because Noland probably wants to get away from the sci-fi aspect, like in the second film with Joker’s overuse of teleportation.

MAYBE! Speaking of… there has been no talk of the Joker whatsoever, and Noland has stated the third film will feature a new villain taking center stage. Seeing as Scarecrow showed up in the first act of The Dark Night, though, might we see a Heath Ledger cameo in the third movie? The director has been mum on that so far, but let’s not waste too much time on it just in case he has a surprise in store for the fans. Bringing the Joker back would be nothing short of legendary.

RUMOR! Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luthor! Well, “returns” might be a stretch, since he was never in a Batman movie, but the idea that Noland could shoehorn his epic Batman series into the same universe as the Richard Donner Superman films is three parts mind-blowing, two parts mega-ballsy, and one part extra-brilliant. Hackman’s camp has so-far denied any committed involvement in the franchise, but actors have to play coy until they actually sign the contracts. I just don’t think there is a better way to reintroduce audiences to Lex Luthor than by having him set up shop in Gotham in the next Batman movie, played by the man who redefined the character for the ages!

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor with Christian Bale as Batman

If only!

TITLE SPECULATION! I guess we can rule out the long-running favorite title, “Batman Begins 3: Trial of the Riddler,” for obvious reasons. I still think Christian Bale’s Batman on the Prosecution team trying to put Riddler behind bars would be epic, because it would be a battle of wits never before seen on film. Imagine the Riddler going all In Propria Persona up against the Batman while Gotham’s protector growls that in stopping Riddler from destroying the city’s financial infrastructure, breaking his collar bone was de minimis. Anything’s possible… so why can’t a Batman movie be a courtroom drama? And you know the judge would have to quiet him every time a witness swore the oath. “Swear to mmmmeee!!!!”

The other popular title that’s been preferred by 2 out of 5 geeks is, “Batman Begins 3: Nightfall,” where the story could feature Bane (Tom Hardy??) breaking the back of Gotham’s hero, only to see Azrael (Tom Hardy in a dual role??) step in an take over the mantle of Batman, just as we saw in the comics in the early 1990s. To do this story right, Christian Bale would probably only be featured in the film for maybe 20-30 minutes total, maybe just bookending the movie in the first and third act. The franchise is getting kind of old and audiences are growing tired of Bale’s Batman, anyway, so using Azrael would allow for the franchise to continue with a fresh, new Batman in place. That way, Bale and Noland don’t have to worry about making more installments together. Don’t tell anyone, but I probably wouldn’t mind if Commissioner Gordon was transferred to Coast City or somewhere in between the second and third movie so we can move on from that character, too.

Other titles that have made the rounds but Noland and Warner Brothers won’t comment on is “Batman Begins 3: Enter Clayface,” “Ventriloquist Rising,” and “Revenge of Killer Croc.”

Maggie Gyllenhaal

T-.5 seconds to awesome

OTHER THOUGHTS! “Batman Begins 2: The Dark Night” was a pretty bland Batman movie, but it did have some great scenes like the Lower Wacker Drive chase and the explosion of Maggie Gyllenhaal. Audiences came in droves and plunked down big money to watch Gyllenhaal get obliterated in IMAX, so a third movie was inevitable. But how does any filmmaker top the demolition of the old Brach’s Candy factory (A U.S. landmark if there ever was one, which also doubled for Gotham General Hospital), Gyllenhaal’s funeral pyre, and a teleporting psychopath in white facepaint? The Batman rogue’s gallery is full of fun and interesting villains, like the Penguin, Poison Ivy, and Calendar Man, plus great supporting characters like Robin, Batgirl and Catwoman. It has to be incredibly difficult for an auteur like Christopher Noland to decide which ones to include on his probable final entry in the franchise. Does he bring in Talia Al Ghul and pick up where the first movie left off, or does decide to move production to Rome and again pretend the exterior of Gotham City is the same as the other movies? Will he keep the story closely related to the Batman mythos, or does he play ball with Warner Brothers and let Ryan Reynolds make a cameo to bridge the release of “Green Lantern 2: Green Lantern Lives,” the purported sequel to next summer’s inevitable smash hit, “The Green Lantern?”

More news is certainly going to be coming down the pipe in the next few months, so stay tuned for all the latest Batman talk while we sort through the news and rumors! Don’t forget to post your theories and wish-lists for the next film. And be sure to check out my original review of BB2: The Dark Night when you get a chance. Thanks for stopping by!