The Dark Knight Rises Story Speculation
Christopher Nolan’s next Batman film is still a ways off, but the hype surrounding it is already understandably high. The original plan for the third movie, David Goyer once said, was to bring the Joker back in a supporting capacity. However, the tragic passing of Heath Ledger has put a hitch in that plan. As a result, Chris Nolan, his brother Jonathan, and Goyer are left in a rather difficult position of putting together a film that ties up the storylines they laid down in Begins and Knight while staying true to the incarnation of the Bat they’ve created. So, here is my speculation on what we’re getting on the next movie based on the little snippets of info and rumors we’ve received. I’m going to work with reliable sounding rumors and official statements from those involved in Nolan’s films. General possible spoilers below:
I’m going to assume we’re getting all the regular players back. Wayne, Alfred, Fox, and Gordon are all going to be around. The real wild cards here are the villains.
For those hoping Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent/Two Face would return, it’s been confirmed he died in his fall at the end of The Dark Knight. Therefore, we’re gonna have to work without him.
The first casting announcement was Tom Hardy, who you may remember as Eames in Inception. At first, people speculated he would play Detective Bullock from the animated show, but official sources quickly debunked the rumor. The second rumor emerged that he would be playing Hugo Strange, a psychologist obsessed with Batman with the desire to replace him. While that certainly seemed like a route Nolan would take, it was announced yesterday that Tom Hardy would be playing Bane, a criminal who uses a steroidal cocktail called “venom” to increase his muscle mass with the press of a button. The rather cartoony immediate increase of muscle mass is obviously too outlandish for the realm of the movies. However, it isn’t out of the question to see Bane as a steroid junkie. It would be nice to see Batman fight an antagonist who can match him physically.
Now, Bane is certainly no slouch in the brains department. In his introductory character arc, Knightfall, Bane stages a massive break out of Arkham Asylum. For several sleepless days, Batman rounds up the criminals to the point of exhaustion. Having deduced that Batman is Bruce Wayne, Bane follows him to the Batcave and beats him within an inch of his life… and then breaks his back. In all honesty, despite Bane’s notorious history… no one thought he’d be in The Dark Knight Rises because of his embarrassingly bad role in the travesty known as Batman & Robin.
Second up we have the female roles. With the bombshell that Anne Hathaway is playing Catwoman, we have a big part of the speculation out of the way. I’ve always thought Catwoman should be part of the movie, as she would fit into the theme. A running motif in The Dark Knight Rises should be redemption and it would make sense for Batman to try to save Catwoman from a life of crime. Furthermore, Catwoman is a logical extension of the Batman knock offs in The Dark Knight. If those fat guys could be inspired to dawn hockey pads, why couldn’t someone like Selina Kyle pile on the Batman-like theatrics for her own purposes? Catwoman, however, has a history of heroic as well as villainous actions. She couldn’t be the main antagonist because… well… she’s just plain not evil enough. So… who is?
In order for Batman to truly be redeemed in the eyes of Gotham, he needs to save it from total disaster. The only villain left that can fit in Nolan’s realistic universe and still provide an adequate challenge is Ra’s daughter. Besides, wouldn’t be a nice full circle for Batman to take on the League of Shadows one last time? Oh, and how perfect would it be to get Eva Green to play her? So perfect.
The buzz around the campfire is that Nolan and his team are basing their movie on the graphic novel Batman: Prey in the same way Begins is based on Year One and The Dark Knight is based on The Long Halloween. I tried to grab Prey, but it seems as though it’s out of print. From what I hear, it tells a story concerning Commissioner Gordon being forced to put together a task force to hunt down Batman. The task force is led by Hugo Strange, a psychoanalyst obsessed with killing Batman and taking his place. Not a bad place to start for a story following The Dark Knight.
I suspect the story will take place 6 months to a year after The Dark Knight, with Gotham taking a significant turn for the worse after the Joker’s rampage. Their white knight, Harvey Dent, has been killed by the seemingly murderous Batman. James Gordon will have his hands tied by new officials in Gotham’s office that have little concern for the policies of the past. Forced to spent a great deal of manpower hunting down the Batman, Gordon will have less time to deal with the mob. Judging by the fact Nolan is shooting The Dark Knight Rises in Detroit rather than Chicago, Gotham will have deteriorated a great deal since the end of The Dark Knight due to Mafia influence.
Hugo Strange may not be in the movie (as far as we know), but Gordon will most likely be forced to hunt the Batman. Add in a new criminal mastermind named Bane taking control of the remains of Gotham’s mafia and you have a real problem. Now, how could you tie that character with Talia’s plot? Easy. Take the Scarecrow from Begins. He worked for Ra’s as an agent of the League of Shadows. What could be better than Talia having an insider leading the city’s mafia? With Batman weak and Gotham in chaos from the Joker’s rampage, it stands to reason the League of Shadows would return to finish the job Ra’s started in Begins.
How? As Bruce will be spending less time as Batman, he’ll have to make up for his lack of night time excursions by helping through Wayne Enterprises. In comes a foreign investor buying up businesses and buildings named Talia… whose last name will be changed to protect her identity. She immediately gains the attention of Bruce, as she’ll want to collaborate on a project that will seemingly restore the city’s economy. Bruce will be immediately suspicious, but his guard will lower as Talia becomes a more prevalent (and possibly romantic) presence in his life. Eventually, Bruce will discover she is Ra’s daughter and she is actually planning the destruction of Gotham.
How would Catwoman fit into the movie? My only guess is that her character arc will mirror Batman’s reputation in the eye of Gotham City. Bruce will have to continue his career as Batman while trying to dodge the law, which will mean he won’t be able to have the free reign he enjoyed before. Catwoman will be picking up the slack as a thief stealing from Gotham’s rich and powerful (corrupt or not) and becoming a sizable thorn in the remnants of the Mafia. Through her crusade, she’s going to garner the attention of both Batman and the Mafia. Thus, a love triangle erupts between Selina, Talia, and Bruce. Bruce simply isn’t going to know who to side with, as Selina will be advocating Talia’s duplicity. Eventually, however, Bruce is going to learn to trust Selina and side with her. Bruce is going to want to help Selina as a way to redeem himself in his own eyes and make up for his failures in The Dark Knight. Think of her as the reverse Harvey Dent. She’s going to start off in a rather gray moral area, but by the end she will stand next to Batman as a champion of Gotham city. In the end, isn’t that what Bruce always wanted: to inspire people? He failed to help Harvey Dent, but his influence will save Selina and make her a trusted ally.
Now, I may be completely wrong, but that’s my guess with the current rumblings we have.