Just because I’m a Batman fanatic and am caught up in the Nolan-induced frenzy for one of the most anticipated sequels of all time, I have to throw in my two cents here regarding the newest installment of the franchise, The Dark Knight Rises. Lets throw a wooden sandal in the rumor mill, shall we?

First off, Tom Hardy!


We loved him in Inception, and now he has officially joined the cast of TDKR. But whatever role shall he play? Here I believe the rumors are right. As is, he’s said to be filling the shoes of the rugged detective, Harvey Bullock, a long-time favorite in the comics, and an avid opponent of Batman.

This is a good idea.

Why? I’ll get into the meat of this in just a bit when I discuss the issue of villains in this film, but for now, lets address the great tension that will be present between Commissioner Gordon and Bullock.

One the one hand, you have Gordon. He and Batman have had a mutually beneficial working relationship. On the other hand, we have the gruff Bullock, whose firm belief in the law and due process, and perhaps his own pride, allows no room for Batman’s shenanigans. Now, with the events that close The Dark Knight, Batman will be public enemy numero uno in Gotham City, and Gordon is going to have to play along with the mob to keep Harvey Dent’s legacy in good standing. Of course, Gordon is still going to do his best to help Batman. And Bullock will be at their heels the entire way.


Our Female Lead/Villain

I’m putting my money on the chance that Catwoman will not make an appearance in this film. She’s too hokey a character for Nolan’s gritty, realistic vision of Gotham City. (Plus, who could really fill Michelle Pfeiffer’s shoes?) However, Talia al Ghul would be a perfect fit, especially since Nolan already introduced her father, Ras al Ghul, in Batman Begins. Her character makes the most sense in Nolan’s Gotham. What was great about Talia and Batman’s relationship in the comics was that they normally dispensed with the theatrics (I.E. the cat and bat crap) and got right to the point. The sometimes ally/sometimes enemy pair have often shared common goals and passions, but, much like the relationship between Professor Xavier and Magneto in the X-Men universe (and far more sexy), Batman and Talia often go about achieving their goals in wholly different manners and methods. There you have the potential for all sorts of great fireworks that don’t rely upon kitschy animal themed costumes or cheesy one-liners.

Talia is an exciting character option for this film, and I hope she makes it.


Villain(s):

Here’s where I think Nolan will surprise us by doing exactly what he always does: allowing the  characters and their subsequent development to dictate the direction of the story. Nolan is also sort of a master at leaving all of the pieces of the mystery out in the open for all to see, and then piecing everything together in the end in a way that never ceases to surprise. (Perhaps something he learned from making The Prestige).

My thoughts on the issue are that the real villain in TDKR will be Gotham City, itself. Its people, its police force (Bullock), its inmates (Arkham Asylum), and most likely Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, as well. Sure, there’s going to be a few major characters that will stir the pot, I.E. Talia, the Scarecrow, perhaps the Firefly, Killer Croc, and maybe even Two Face (we only see that Harvey Dent died at the end of TDK, not Two Face). The point is that the costumed enemies will most likely consist of a bevy of interesting, cool, yet ultimately disposable characters. Why not one friggin awesome villain? Because, how can you really top Heath Ledger’s Joker?

Nolan doesn’t strike me as one to reinvent the wheel. And he certainly isn’t a fool. For that reason, the legacy of the Joker’s discord will remain, and the real battle will probably be an internal one.  Batman will most likely struggle with his role as defender of the city that villainizes him. He’ll continue to protect the people. And he’ll run into a few baddies along the way. He’ll potentially fall in love. He’ll have to make tough choices and sacrifices.  He’ll earn back the city’s respect, thus officially cementing his role as the true guardian of Gotham City.

Of course, this is all mere conjecture at this point. There’s a great chance that I’ll be deleting this post in a month or two when the juicier TDKR news breaks. But it sure is fun to appease the imagination!

I’ll end with a minor list of aspects we can almost certainly count on seeing in the final Batman film based on the arc of the storyline thus far:

An operational, or semi-operational, batcave (Maybe even the fully rebuilt Wayne Manor), an upgraded Batmobile (or an even sweeter ride, such as a Bat-i-fied military chopper), and Arkham Asylum.  (We really didn’t see Arkham at all in the last film, so I think it’s going to come back around, perhaps in a big way!)