'Batman 3' To Be Jokerless

This interesting bit of news comes courtesy of Moviehole...read on for the skinny...

Though it was originally planned The Joker would appear in both "The Dark Knight" and it's sequel, director Christopher Nolan says Batman will no longer be going head-to-head with the Clown Prince of Crime again in 2012.

For those that aren't aware, "Batman Begins" scribe David Goyer had, in addition to conceiving the first chapter of the revamped "Batman" film series, written story outlines for both the second ("The Dark Knight") and third (the upcoming untitled third "Batman") films in the series. The Joker would of course be the key villain of "The Dark Knight". And Goyer had decided that he'd have the character returning, if even briefly, for the third film.

Now If I recall correctly, Goyer had come up with a storyline for "Batman 3" that involved Batman trying to capture Harvey Dent (who they ultimately decided to kill off in the second film). Aiding Batman, albeit from a cell, would be the incarcerated clown (Goyer told me he'd be 'the Hannibal Lecter' of the film, referring to Lecter's role as Clarice Starling's aid in "Silence of the Lambs"). But with 'Joker' actor Heath Ledger's tragic death, and some last minute changes to the "Dark Knight" script (killing off Dent, mainly), Goyer's storyline for that third film was discarded.

But still,they ask, 'will The Joker be back!?'

Nolan has confirmed, once and for all, that The Joker definitely won't be popping up in the new film.

"No," Nolan tells Empire Magazine, before adding "I just don't feel comfortable about it."

In other words, there was a time when he would've liked to have brought the character back - if even for a cameo - but he feels it'd be a great injustice to the memory of Heath Ledger to have someone else reprise the character for the new film (and quite frankly, who is gonna wanna compete with Ledger's legendary performance anyway!?). As such, he's leaving the giggling killer be.

The script for "Batman 3" is being written by Goyer and Jonathan Nolan - though it's anyone's guess what it's about.

"My brother is working on the screenplay." Nolan says, "We came up with a story that we are very excited about. We particularly like where we are taking the characters and what the ending is... There are things for me to be very excited about in addressing the characters again."

Though everyone from The Riddler (He won't do it, but the online community is rallying behind the idea of Johnny Depp in the green jumpsuit) to The Penguin (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti's names have been bought mentioned) to Catwoman (Rachel Weisz was recently rumoured for the part) has been mentioned as a possibility for the new film, the only for-sure characters at this stage are, of course, Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Alfred (Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman).

One thing is for sure, "Batman 3" will be the last in the series for Christopher Nolan and likely, Christian Bale.

"[This film will be] the ending of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story."

"Batman 3" is out July 20, 2012.
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