The sequel to Christopher Nolan’s 2005 film, Batman Begins won’t be out until next July, but internet buzz has already been circulating for months. Once it was declared that Heath Ledger would be cast as The Joker in the next film titled The Dark Knight, fans began to voice their approval or distain for the decision. Overall, however, Ledger has been generally well received by internet bloggers, and with the first photos beginning to circulate, some of which have been considered fakes, people are getting even more curious about this new movie, including myself.

First there was the rumor that Ledger’s Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Gyllenhall was being cast as Harvey Dent. That myth has since been busted with the Internet Movie Database declaring Aaron Eckhart as the schizophrenic District Attorney who eventually becomes the coin-flipping Two-Face. That particular story arc is said to not occur until the next Batman film. That’s right, Nolan is signed on for three. With all of this talk of villains, however, there is really no news about the real star of the film, Batman, causing one to wonder whether or not the villains will overtake the screen time as they did in the previous Batman films. This is not to say that the dominating presence of the villains ruined the previous films, but I for one am already a bit disgruntled about the return of two villains that we have already seen on screen. Nolan defends this by saying that his films are totally unrelated to Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s visions, but at the same time, this does not erase the fact that audiences have seen these villains in action before, no matter how different they are from the previous characters.

I am willing to slide with the reusing of the Joker as he is Batman’s greatest foe and interesting enough to reuse, especially if Nolan plans to go darker with the new version, which he says he does. My only suggestion would be to write in Harley Quinn as Joker’s ditsy sidekick, a character who was a hit on the after school hit, Batman: The Animated Series. The dysfunctional relationship these two engaged in on the series would be a good way to lighten up the heaviness of Nolan’s style for the kids without getting to overwhelming colorful Schumacher phase. Also, while I think the portrayal of Two-Face in Batman Forever could have been more true to the original characterization as well, that ship is sailed.

I just hope that Ledger and Eckhart will surprise me without freaking me out by going too dark or too low-key. Ledger, especially, has big shoes to fill after Nicholson’ performance in 1989’s Batman, but because Ledger has the Joker’s physique and with his recent film roles appears to be willing to tackle complex characters, I think he has a chance. But until the first teaser trailer emerges and we can see for ourselves, we can do nothing more but remain optimistic and hope that the Joker is the only one laughing once the movie comes out.


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