I'm not going to lie; I was one of the people expecting to see The Riddler as the villain in Christopher Nolan's next Batman picture, now confirmed to be titled, The Dark Knight Rises. In fact: I was hoping to see The Riddler. The rumor mill was working hard, too, as people the 'net over speculated who would play the devious master of questions.
Well, Christopher Nolan didn't pull any punches when he put those rumors to rest during an Oct. 27th interview with Hero Complex.
“It won’t be the Riddler...”
It's ok kids, just take a deep breath, and we'll get past this. Go grab a tissue if you need one, I'll be right here.
Alright, feeling better? Let's move on.
So it's not going to be The Riddler. Then who might Nolan, hot off the success of Inception, choose to be Batman's next greatest nemesis? We know that it won't be Mr. Freeze, which is good, because I don't know how my fragile psyche would handle the memories of Arnold Schwarzenegger's turn as Freeze, in 1997's Batman & Robin, rushing back in the middle of a packed theater. (Remember "Chill out!"? I sadly do.)
No Freeze. No Riddler. I think it's safe to say that we won't be getting a recast of Joker. For one thing, Nolan seems to be a pretty classy guy, and I don't think he'd disrespect the late Heath Ledger by recasting his last (debatably greatest) role in a major studio production.
Personally, I'm in the camp that doesn't expect Two-Face to make a return. The guy was pretty dead at the end of The Dark Knight, and as much as I enjoy the Jurassic Park books, I don't need to see Harvey Dent pull an Ian Malcolm and return because he was 'only mostly dead.' The only way I'd accept seeing Dent return would be if Nolan could really do it justice by explaining it in a really believable way.
I think that Nolan is going to go in a new direction. In Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul tested Batman's readiness to protect Gotham. In The Dark Knight, Joker tested Batman's resolve to protect Gotham. The new villain will need to test Batman in another way in The Dark Knight Rises.
Having said that, my new draft pick is The Penguin.
Oh, I hear that groaning from here, you nay-sayers. The Penguin isn't a threat to Batman? No, he's really not. He's a threat to Bruce Wayne though, and that's how I see the third movie going. Ra's al Ghul and Joker are, basically, terrorists. They're creative, theatrical terrorists, but terrorists all the same. They create chaos to put their plans into motion. What makes The Penguin different is that he is a business man. He's a guy that, with minimal tweaking, represents corporate evil and greed at the extreme.
|The next face of evil?|
Now, despite this being purely speculation, I think I have a good bead on who would end up playing The Penguin, were he to be Nolan's choice for villain.
Philip Seymour Hoffman not only would be an appropriate actor from a physical standpoint, but would be more than capable of holding his own alongside actors of the caliber that Nolan has gathered for his Batman trilogy.
I'm not alone in this sentiment either. A quick hop, skip, and Google search away and you'll see that other fans also think that Hoffman would be a top-notch addition to the cast of The Dark Knight Rises.
Let's stop there for a moment and talk about titles and the significance that they carry with them.
I'm not alone in thinking that The Dark Knight Rises is a bit of a weak title. A lot of people, from what I've gathered, agree that the title is too close to that of it's predecessor. Personally, I'd prefer something along the lines of 'The Caped Crusade', but I do see how 'Rises' makes perfectly clear what it's about.
So all in all, I'm really rather excited about this news. For a film geek, like myself, half of the fun is speculating and anticipating what these little tidbits of information mean. Hopefully, we'll be getting even more in the near future.
Any ideas on a new villain? Do you love the title? Do you hate the title? Then leave a comment!