A moderately-successful film followed by the (now) third most successful film of all time — sounds like a threequel would be a sure thing, no? Not in the Caped Crusader’s case it appeared. After 2008’s uber smash-hit “The Dark Knight,” director Chris Nolan seemed to purposely resist any attempt to get him straight back into the chair to helm another sequel.
Speaking to the LA Times in 2008, Nolan said, “Is there a story that’s going to keep me emotionally invested for the couple of years that it will take to make another one? That’s the overriding question. On a more superficial level, I have to ask the question: How many good third movies in a franchise can people name?”
A fair point really. I think I speak for all Bat-fans when I say I would prefer Nolan to take his time to hammer out another quality screenplay rather than rush through production at the studio’s behest and release another “Batman and Robin.”
After much talk and speculation, things may now appear to be getting under way. Variety reported on Feb. 5 that “Flash Forward’s” David Goyer (who co-wrote “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”) was stepping down as showrunner but will still remain as an executive producer. Goyer is quoted as saying, “As my feature projects have started ramping up again, I felt I was being pulled in too many directions,” Interesting. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to assume that this move is due to his “Batman 3” scripting duties being his primary focus now.
Details solidifying the assumptions from Goyer’s story came out a few days later, when Deadline Hollywood broke the news that Nolan had locked down a story for Batman 3 and that, younger brother, Jonathan Nolan and — surprise, surprise — David Goyer are currently scripting it. Other news also revealed that Nolan had been asked to “mentor” a new Superman film. How this will or will not affect the production and a Bat-sequel remains to be seen.
But what and who will be involved in Batman 3? For a start, what will the title be? Rumours have circulated that it is/was due to be called “Shadow Of The Bat.” Other titles offered include “The Dark Knight Returns,” a simple and effective sequel title that also pays tribute to the acclaimed graphic novel series by Frank Miller, and “The Caped Crusader.” Personally, I like “Enemy Of Gotham,” which builds upon the idea from the end of “The Dark Knight” that Batman is now treated as the bad guy in Gotham.
Christian Bale is up for returning if Nolan is. Speaking in 2008 to iF Magazine, Bale said, “The possibility of doing another one is completely Chris Nolan’s decision and if he’s doing it, then absolutely. He’s presented himself with a huge challenge of surpassing this one I believe, and very much so with surpassing the Joker as a villain. You know, how do you up that? It’s a very tricky thing to do. If anybody can do it, I think Chris can. So that’s his choice.”
Ah, yes, The Joker. Could anyone possibly top Heath Ledger’s now iconic and Oscar-winning performance as the clown-prince of crime? Sadly, Ledger passed away shortly before the release of “The Dark Knight.” Rumour also has it that one of the reasons Nolan refused to think about a sequel was due to the fact that he was so devastated about the loss of Heath and that he had planned for The Joker to return in a sequel. So, could anyone take over such a role from Ledger? My personal choice if they went that way (and I salute anyone who takes on the role) is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The likeness is uncanny, and anyone who has seen his performances in “Mysterious Skin” and the awesome “Brick” knows he could comfortably build on Ledger’s Joker and make the character his own. Remember, though, this is just pure speculation and in all likeliness, Nolan and co. will probably use a new bad guy.
So, which of Batman’s rogues gallery could they use in the next sequel? Gary Oldman teased that The Riddler was in the frame for “Batman 3” when speaking to MovieWeb. Then Johnny Depp, David Tennant, Steve Carrell and Robin Williams were all touted for the role. Further to that, Nolan told Esquire that The Penguin was unlikely as “there are certain characters that are easier to mesh with the more real take on Batman we’re doing. The Penguin would be tricky.” However, people still reported that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was “in talks” to take on the role.
How about Catwoman? Clayface? Or, erm … Mr. Freeze? Even though Nolan and Bale have both expressed their disgust at the thought of Robin making an appearance, is there a way to introduce the Boy Wonder? *cough* Nightwing *cough*
At the moment, we are comfortable in the knowledge that Nolan, Nolan and Goyer are busily working to help “Batman 3” take shape. At least we know that our next Bat-film is in safe Bat-hands …
Batman art by Sebastian Colombo
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