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    The Anderson Chronicles: Batman 3's Villains

    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.

    Reader Comments (11)

    Since Nolan seems to like to re-use actors in his movies...I wouldn't be suprised if Ellen Page gets a role in Batman 3...possibly the Catwoman role? Inception might be her proving ground. I could be wrong but I wouldn't be surprised. And as for the Joker...I think the introduction of Harley Quinn could give a nod to Ledger while continuing the story. And as you said, it would be hard for Catwoman to hold an entire film on her own so maybe pairing her with Harley would work. I know I'd pay to see it.

    06-30-2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon

    I want to see DiCaprio play Joker.

    06-30-2010 | Unregistered CommenterJ

    I would LOVE to see DiCaprio in any role in Batman 3! I don't think Ellen Page for Catwoman though, my guess would be Marion Cotillard... I know here name has been tossed around before, but she'd be great!

    After a couple weeks ago when you did the superman anderson chronicles I was hoping for a batman edition, Great Article!!!

    06-30-2010 | Unregistered CommenterBatmanfan

    I seriously don't see how he clearly stated that Joker wouldn't be in B3. What he said was he wouldn't be pulling the strings from Arkham, not that he wouldn't appear.

    Catwoman could very easily carry a movie on her own as the main villain, have you even read any of the stories with her??? She's one of if not the most important villain in the mythos.

    Another thing, Jett knows Team Nolan better than any other "media outlet" So i don't see why you would try to take subliminal shots at him in your shitty column.

    Get your facts straight, and quit being a bof hater because you're jealous!!! I

    06-30-2010 | Unregistered CommenterSly

    I love batman!!! I thought Batman forever was the best after the dark knight so I don't get what you mean by less like jim carrey. Weren't they saying he stole the show in that?

    07-1-2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

    I love that Idea for the riddler, I never would have thought of him that way, and it fits right into what Nolans been doing with Batman. Have riddler as a serial killer, great idea. I would rather see talia al ghul rather than catwoman, and she makes more sense in this story she could get close to bruce and then fuck him over kill lucius or something, try to kill him as revenge for her father

    07-1-2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

    @Crystal Batman Forever was pure garbage! What he meant was to have a more serious and realistic approach on the character which would have been a given already, but to have him a sick twisted serial killer like spacey in seven leaving clues behind as his trade mark.

    @Sly you're an idiot! You are full on retard! I have no idea why your tongue is so far up Jetts ass but maybe you should remove it, because your starting to believe way too much of the bullshit he's feeding you. He is NOT "friends" with "Team Nolan" or Chris himself. He like a lot of other members of the media have met and interviewed Nolan, they didn't go out for drinks and exchange phone numbers jack ass.

    07-1-2010 | Unregistered CommenterBatmanFan

    I have to laugh at Sly. If someone were talk so much shit on bof about bof they would either be banned, have their comments deleted or both. At least here they allow you to voice your idiotic opinion.

    I would much much rather see Talia al Ghul then Catwoman too. She just seems much more interesting to me, and it fits into the continuity already set in place. I think her and maybe Black Mask would work too, but I do like your take on the riddler, very cool idea.

    07-1-2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

    Let's all try to keep this sophisticated.

    Sly... I'm glad you're reading, that is cool and all. You also don't have to agree with anybody's article on this site, so you're input is welcome whether it be negative or positive. We won't censor you. However, if we aren't censoring you, it means we aren't censoring others...

    07-1-2010 | Registered CommenterPeter Georgiou

    Forget a love interest, Batman 3 needs a leading lady first. Rachel is Bruce Wayne's true love of the Nolan series, so to have Bruce Wayne fall in love with another woman (right away) would deminish the importance Rachel for him. So no one like Vicki Vale or Julie Madison as the leading lady; the other reason being that it wouldn't be that interesting to see a female character who mainly interacts with Bruce and would only deal with Batman when needing to be saved.

    That automatically leaves a female characer who primarily interacts with Batman; having Batman fall in love is a different story that could be a possibility and maybe even implied by the end of the film, but I doubt we see Batman and this character go full on romantic at any point. With Rachel, Bruce's "one hope for a normal life" dead, he may not see the point in being Bruce Wayne anymore, walling himself up in Wayne Manor and dedicating most of his time to being Batman. This leads me to believe that a fair amount of the scenes with Bale will involve him being Batman, moreso than in The Dark Knight. As well as Gordon being off limits for the most part, Batman is going to need someone to converse with; Robin is obviously off limits.

    For the leading female character, there are 2 (obvious) choices: Talia Al Ghul and Catwoman, and the winner IMO is Catwoman. Talia could work in that one could argue her presence brings things full circle, but there are 3 problems with her. One, her love for Batman. If there is to be a romantic relationship it's best to imply a possible one down the road, not bring one into the current film. Two, Nolan has stated many times that the only reason to go back for a sequel is to do something different. Talia's presence automatically brings back the connection to Batman Begins, Ra's, and the League of Shadows. Nolan would probably see Talia's inclusion as covering familiar territory when the possibility to cover new territory is clearly there. Three, if Talia is in the film, why wouldn't she be there to possibly avenge her father's death? Or bring him back to Gotham? Or bring the League of Shadows with her? Point being, there's so much going on in Gotham right now that the re-appearence of Ra's or the LoS would seem pointless and unnecessary. I fully expect Batman 3 to be Gotham-centric.

    Catwoman works best, IMO, for a few reasons. One, she fits in well with the theme of escalation. Is she a freak? A vigilante? She could very well be both, and could reinforce the idea of Batman inspiring other troubled individuals, for better or worse. Two, her personality and her ambiguous image. I personally love Catwoman's personality. She's very strong and aggressive, yet can be very seductive and sexy. I like how Catwoman's playfulness and adventure attitude contrasts with Batman's attitude towards the war on crime, but I also love how ambiguous Catwoman can be. Is she a villain? An ally? It's not exactly clear, and can be used to create a lot of tension not knowing exactly what side Catwoman is on and what she'll do next. Three, her relationship with Batman. As I said, I'm not looking for anything romantic, but Catwoman as a character can definitely mirror Bruce Wayne/Batman's own history and struggles, but maybe offer a slightly different outcome; ex. she aims to do good but has immoral means. The ambiguity of Catwoman's true intensions could have Batman not only questioning her as a character but question exactly who he can trust in this war. As well, Catwoman could also potential fill the role that Robin would've; not as a sidekick, but as someone that Batman sees a lot of himself in, someone that Batman can relate to and accept as an ally in this war. This possibility actually reminds me a lot of the final lines of Dark Victory (which did involve Robin): "I made a promise to my parents that I would rid the city of the evil that took their lives. That remains unchanged. Only now...I am no longer alone." In addition with a possible romantic relationship, I think Catwoman has the most potential as far as character's in Nolan's series go. I don't just want her because she's one of the last top villains in Batman's rogues gallery & a very popular character, I want her because she simply works the best IMO, and maybe because she is so popular is because a lot of fans (and possibly Nolan as well) realise just how much there is to work with with her character.

    When it comes to villains in general for Batman 3, with Nolan we know that we're not dealing with a director that builds a story around the villains he wants to use, Nolan instead inserts villains that best fit the story he wants to tell. Whether Nolan uses a well known villain like Catwoman or a lesser known villain, whom ever he picks will be chosen to fit his story & chosen because they were the best characters. So whether a villain can carry their own or not isn't exactly relevant, since, as demonstrated by Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the main villain probably wont even have a ton of screen time at all, as they, like all the other characters, will have a roll to play. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the police could end up being the villain of Batman 3, or in a weird way, maybe Batman is the "villain" of the film.

    As for other villain rumours, The Riddler seems like an interesting villain choice, one I could see happening. Edward Nashton was featured in the virals as a citizen who spoke out against Harvey Dent in The Gotham Times, so maybe that works its way into the script. Could The Riddler deduce that Dent killed those 5 people and not Batman?

    As well, with the traditional gangsters on the decline, could we be seeing the rise of a new breed of gangster? One that bridges the gap between freak and gangster? If so, obvious candidates could be The Penguin, Black Mask, and The Ventriloquist. My personal favorite would be Black Mask, but I wouldn't mind seeing both Black Mask and Penguin as the new gangsters in town; escalation at work.

    07-31-2010 | Unregistered CommenterDom

    I have always had this interpretation of the series that the first film was about Batman facing criminality - with the central antagonist being criminals in all their fragmented forms (mob boss, psychopath, terror-monger) ; the second about Batman facing the criminal personified (The Joker being 'evil' or an equal to the 'Batman' shadow archetype, Harvey Two-Face being how morality crumbles for all of us when pushed to the limit), so finally the third film might pit the Dark Knight against "criminalism" itself - the ideology of the immoral. I think that just like the first film left off with Gordon and Batman speculating about escalation and with a new kind of villain in the Joker, the second film left off with the same characters talking about 'the hero turned villain' and with a new kind of villain in The Dark Knight - the 'watchful' protector. In the third film we can say (while this may sound corny to some) that the antagonist is Batman himself - the traditional archetypes of protagonist and antagonist shattered in a new form of narrative. The title being 'THE SHADOW OF THE BAT' and with both Bruce and Gotham City trying to escape from it.

    But will there be other 'villains'? By all means. But they need not be the primary antagonist at all. I also don't buy into this article's claim that Catwoman cannot maintain a film on her own popularity - she is quite popular enough and interesting enough. But once again, there can be another character central to the story. I really want Dick Grayson (if not Robin) to be in the film because it would provide the great parallels between Bruce's own tragedy and reliving them in Grayson's. The animated series from the 90s managed to capture this profoundly, as did one of the inspiring graphic novels for the Nolan series - DARK VICTORY. I don't see why everyone is skeptical regarding Grayson - who provides such a sad, lonely dynamic to Bruce's history. And with him we have Zucco and the rest of the mob goons.

    The Riddler and the Penguin can be adapted as well, but they are probably not going to because they would be too obvious choices. The Riddler I'm not so much sure of because the potential is limitless - as you've written in the article, that a Kevin Spacey-esque malice wouldn't be all bad, especially if he's working for the cops (but we've all speculated there as well - the forums are full of that). I guess the only thing to do is to wait and see. I still want the title to be THE SHADOW OF THE BAT because thematically it resonates on the same level as THE DARK KNIGHT.

    10-7-2010 | Unregistered CommenterNave Torment

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