In this week’s edition of The Anderson Chronicles I delve into the behind the scenes happenings on Batman 3, and presumably what will be the villains in Nolan's final instalment. I have to say right off the bat I don’t know anything for sure, as I’m sure no one really does at this point. So you should take this almost entirely as speculation.
Two years ago before The Dark Knight was released and before Heath ledger passed on, there was huge buzz in Hollywood about Ledgers performance. It was rumoured he would most definitely be reprising his role as the iconic villain The Joker. Then there was Ledgers death, the hugely successful release of The Dark Knight, and a posthumous Oscar win. After all the smoke had cleared no one, not even Warner Bros themselves was sure that Christopher Nolan would even return to the director’s chair, let alone proceed to re-cast The Joker for Batman 3 presumably as he was intended to appear. Message boards, blogs, and fans everywhere were torn in two different directions. As much everyone loved Ledgers performance there were a few people that felt The Joker was too iconic of a character to be held back regardless of ledgers passing, as sad as it may have been. While everyone else had already decided it would be tasteless to re-cast the character regardless of the fact this soon after. Thankfully Nolan put all the speculation to rest in a recent Interview he did with Empire Magazine. He made it very clear that The Joker will not be re-cast in Batman 3, but that’s not to say they plan to write the character off all together. They could have him mentioned in name only, which I think is a safe bet to say we it's something we “might” see.
Now that we have the whole Joker controversy/speculation recast fiasco out of the way we can look at the most presumably likely villains to appear in Nolan’s final Batman film.
I know the fan favourite right now is Catwoman/Selina Kyle, but that means nothing when it comes to Nolan. He’s said time and time again that he pays no attention to the online community when making decisions (no one tell this to Jett from Batman-On-Film). He does what he feels will work best for the continuity of his story. Would Catwoman work? Sure, but so would a plethora of other villains you could choose from. The thing that makes her the most likely though to be at least one half of the films antagonists is with the death of Rachel in TDK we were left with a void for a love interest. Selina Kyle could serve as a love interest to both Batman and Bruce Wayne, as well as serve an important purpose in the overall plot. The one problem with a character like Catwoman , is she can’t carry an entire film on her own like a different villain such as The Joker could.
Assuming that Catwoman is the most likely to appear, what other villain would work along with her in one film? The almost too obvious choice for everyone seems to be The Riddler. The problem with this is, everyone assumes The Riddler for the wrong reasons. They immediately assume him for his likeness to Joker, and having seen him most recently it seems most logical, while other theorists will tell you can’t include him for this very reason. From the start of this new franchise starting with Batman Begins Nolan has sworn up and down that he wants his “Batman Universe” grounded in reality. That being said it makes it hard to include certain characters from the rouges gallery. The Riddler though, could be handled similarly to Kevin Spacey’s character in Se7en and a lot less like what Jim Carrey did in Batman Forever. You’d be able to maintain the suspension of disbelief in Nolan’s grounded in reality take on Batman, and not interfere with or imitate what ledger did with The Joker.
Even still the problem with this is, Nolan doesn’t do anything in a predictive manner. Aside from the obvious clue at the end of Batman Begins, Nolan’s future plans are rarely ever discussed. The only thing we really know for sure, is he won’t do Mr. Freeze or The Penguin. With Catwoman as the one almost certainty to appear, I’m expecting to see something completely left field and/or a character we haven’t seen adapted for the big screen before. Who would’ve thought we would ever see a realistic approach on Scarecrow or Ras al Ghul before Batman Begins.
The nice thing is we’ll know at the very least who will appear if not be cast for said role before the end of the year. I’m personally expecting to be surprised by what we hear, but you never know maybe Eddie Murphy or Johnny Depp really is the Riddler, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is the Penguin.