'The Dark Knight Rises' may add Joseph Gordon-Levitt to the cast. Start speculating: Hugo Strange? Riddler? Robin?

Joseph-Gordon-Levitt-dark-knightImage Credit: RD/Orchon/Retna ltd; DC ComicsThe Dark Knight Rises may be recruiting another cast member from Christopher Nolan’s Inception dream team: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is reportedly in talks to join a starry corps of actors that includes Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Levitt’s Inception chums Tom Hardy and Michael Caine. No word yet on who Gordon-Levitt may play, but fanboys around the Web — not yet ready to give up on the well-traveled rumor that Batman foe Hugo Strange will appear in Nolan’s third and final Bat-flick — are speculating that Gordon-Levitt will take on the role of the mad shrink whose comic book resume of evil includes cracking the code of the caped crusader’s secret identity and then trying to sell it other super villains. Can you imagine Gordon-Levitt playing auction barker for Bruce Wayne’s name? I think I can. (I could also see a scene where scores of famous actors cameo in the movie as interested buyers participating in said auction.) Of course, there’s also the rumor that the movie will be based on the Prey storyline, in which Strange participated in the hunt to arrest the vigilante hero. The argument against Gordon-Levitt as Hugo Strange theory? The actor — slender and boyish — doesn’t look much like the comic book villain. But hey: Artistic license. (PS: That rumor that a mysterious “RW” — Robin Williams? — will be playng Hugo Strange? The source of that rumor now says he was just doing what we’re doing here: Having fun wondering aloud.)

But there could be other possibilities, too. Many fans — noting that Gordon-Levitt has a passing facial resemblance to Heath Ledger — are speculating he could be tapped to play a younger version of Joker in flashbacks. (Or how about this idea that just popped into my brain: Remember all those wannabe Batmans in The Dark Knight? What if we find out that in The Dark Knight Rises, there’s now a gang of wannabe Jokers giving Gotham City money-burning, eyeball-stabbing, ferry-blowing grief? What if Gordon-Levitt is one of them, if not their leader?)

Some fans think the thesp would make a fine, funny, fiendish version of The Riddler. I can picture Gordon-Levitt in manic SNL-hosting mode bouncing around the screen in question mark-imprinted tights and giggling up a “Riddle me THIS, Batman!” dark comedy storm — but remember, Nolan did tell The Los Angeles Times a couple months back that The Riddler won’t be in the film.

Casting Gordon-Levitt as a villain, however, would put The Dark Knight Rises at risk of bad guy overload. We have Hathaway playing Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman, though Nolan conspicuously omitted the word “Catwoman” in Hathaway’s casting announcement) and Hardy playing Bane. So what do you guys think of Batman taking on a protege in The Dark Knight Rises? No, not Robin the Boy Wonder — I’m thinking Nightwing, a.k.a. Robin/Dick Grayson all grown up?

Your nominations and speculations: Go!

Read more:
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Burning Questions: Where’s Talia? Will Catwoman show up? And will Bane break Batman’s back?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ scoop: Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy join cast
The awesome new trailer for ‘Batman: Arkham City’ resembles everything we’ve been hearing about ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ Interesting, huh?
Christopher Nolan says Heath Ledger will not appear in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Comments (180 total) Add your comment
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  • Ash

    He could be sitting in the corner reading the phone book and I’d still be excited to see him in this movie. I love JGL and may have to bump this movie from a rent later to a must see.

    • Dark Willow

      You took the words outta my mouth, I just adore JGL. He broke out of the kid star mode with some great indies. I was elated to see him start in a blockbuster like Insurection. I don’t care what he plays (although the idea of Nightwing would be SO COOL).

    • StewyFan

      I agree. Who cares what he does, just put him in the film and he will be brilliant.

      • lana

        the writer of this article knows NOTHING about Batman, how could he be Nightwing? If anything, he will probably play the new district attorney who is leading the charge against the Batman

      • Brandon Routh IS Superman

        What if Nolan is staying true to the Knightfall storyline as the basis of the movie, in which case Bane unleashes all of Arkham, then Joseph Gordon Levitt could be one of the many dangerous inmates.

        OR, JGL could be cast as Bird, one of Bane’s henchmen who is an expert falconer.

        Although I hope for the Mad Hatter

    • tvgirl48

      I completely agree as well. He actually is a fantastic actor, unlike some ppl who get one role in a blockbuster movie and suddenly become movie stars. JGL deserves it.

    • silverrose

      everyone is going to speculate villin or robin, but im gonna go a different route and say he will be the new DA to replace harvey dent.

      • KinDallas

        Ooh–love that idea.

      • Mollie

        Oooh I hope this is right!

      • Brian

        Wouldn’t just another cop or lawyer be kinda bland?

    • Mise, Ireland

      Totally agree. He’s such an amazing actor and when you watch him you know he’s just a great guy. I hhope he gets many more roles.

    • Claire

      I love JGL too. I really hope he gets a role. I would see the movie regardless but that would be so cool.

  • Kiki

    I really hope they don’t make the mistake of including too many villains in one movie. The right number of bad guys is almost always ONE.

    • Jackie

      I agree. One of the (many) problems with ‘Spider-man 3′ is that they tried to do WAY too much and had two villains too many (those being Venom and Green Goblin, Jr.). If they had put together a good storyline with just Sandman as the villain, they could have had something great. That said, I trust Nolan to know what he’s doing.

      • Tony

        It’s hard not to trust Christopher Nolan. His filmography is unblemished. Plus Gordon-Levitt is one of the best young actors I’ve ever seen. His work in Brick and (500) Days of Summer was excellent.

    • BLM

      Agree. I think Two Face was wasted in The Dark Knight. They should have just stuck with The Joker.

    • John Berggren

      Nolan has used 2 or more villains in each of his Batman films so far, depending on how you count. I don’t think he has problems balancing them properly.

      • Kiki

        But it has always been one main villain in the recent Batman movies. The Scarecrow had a really small (but good) part, and Harvey Dent was a good guy for most of the second movie. If Joseph Gordon-Levitt could have a small but really interesting role like the Scarecrow, I’d be all for that. I do love him. There’s just something about sequels that makes filmmakers go a little nutty, but I pretty much trust Nolan not to make Spiderman-type mistakes.

      • Mike

        why even change Characters? Joel Schummacer (sp) turned last generation’s Batman into a awful villain vest with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin! But from what we’ve seen so far of Christopher Nolan, I trust his judgement and for it to make sense to the story.

      • SXiPPY

        I do too, he knows how to stagger the characters so they don’t convolute the story, leading to sensory overload. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a massive amount of villians in one movie, yet I would prefer something like that to be capping off the end of a franchise after we’ve been introduced to the individual characters in films prior. However, a feat on that scale would call for the sequel expectancy to exceed the average trilogy that many filmmakers are content/contractually obligated at devoting their time to. It is no secret that Nolan sees this to be his last and wishes to pursue other films outside of Batman and Christain Bale likely wouldn’t do any further films without Nolan. I don’t think casting JGL as Nightwing would make for good story either, considering it erradicates the whole back story of Robin that is needed for added drama and tension between the two.

      • Nirveeze

        Well, Nolan knows how to balance the villains, one classic comic book outlandish villain (Scarecrow and Joker) one with some sort of personal connection (Ra’s and Harvey) and a more realistic crime boss.

        I think Catwoman (or Thalia if that’s who Anne Hatheway plays) will primarily be a love interest, if Catwoman, then it’s going to be Bruce exploring his darkside, Batman being on the run and all. Bane will be the outlandish one, possibly connected depending how they go there, and they could do Hugo Strange more realistic.

      • rerun

        In Nolan We Trust!

    • Brian

      JGL would make a good Edward Nygma/Nashton who doesn’t become the Riddler. I imagine a PI who’s helping Gordon to hunt down Batman, possibly as a diversion to commit his own robberies. And Riddler doesn’t need to be big and ridiculous…just use the low-key brilliant Animated Series version, especially if he doesn’t take on the Riddler persona.
      A Joker recast is possible and I’d be totally fine with it, but Nolan said he’s against it. I also feel like Joker would overshadow Selina and Bane.
      Can’t see JGL as Hugo Strange at all. Can’t really see the point of Hugo Strange in this movie either.
      Robin/Nightwing I can see, but reworked as a successor to Batman who possibly doesn’t train with him at all at first (because Nolan and Bale are against Robin for some reason), since I don’t think Bruce will be Batman by the end of this movie. I think he’ll get his back broken by Bane and he won’t recover.

      • Brian

        Or maybe JGL could play young Alfred, back when he was a spy. (only half-serious about that)

      • Silk Spectre

        That would be cool, yhough very unlikely.

      • Silk Spectre


    • therealeverton

      Nah, not at all. Begins had 3 main villains; Dark Knight several, even if you want to just count “organised crime” as one. Batman Returns had 3 villains; X2 several again, even with the lines blurred for Magneto. It’s always about the writing, the performances and the directing. The directing on Batman Forever & Batman & Robin was terrible, the writing even worse and the performances, as directed, were generally abysmal too.

      Spider-Man 3 (Which I still don’t consider anywhere near as bad as many Americans seem to) had a writing problem. The money men insisted on Venom being in the film and the release date they had booked. Venom just wasn’t put into the film with enough thought or back-story. James “how wasn’t I cast as Anakin Skywalker” Franco’s Goblin was fine. He had 2 movies worth of back-story and he was almost the best thing about all three movies. It was clear that the Osborn. Goblin story was being built up from film 1 as was the Lizard.

      When I saw the trailers for Spider-Man 3 I honestly thought the Sandman – Goblin story was going to be the plot thread and that Eddie Brock & the Symbiote would slowly be built up throughout the whole movie with Brock getting fired right at the end and Peter, having dealt with Sandman and Osborn would get the Symbiote off, it would drop onto Brock and last shot of the film is Venom. Topher Grace Gets a year to put on a ton of muscle (like in the comics) and Venom is the big bad of Spidey 4. I never thought they’d cram all of that into one film to sell more toys and they shouldn’t have done it. But that’s still a writing issue, there was a way to make that work and splitting the story over 2 films was it. Having the symbiote drop out of the sky right next to Spider-man was just ridiculous.

      Good writing and the number of characters / villains doesn’t matter.

      • Badsley

        Dude everything you just said was awesome!!! That would have been perfect!!

      • tom

        man that would’ve been way more entertaining and engaging. Having venom only at the end for a last fight would make a fourth completely necessary.

  • graeme

    yes please! JGL would be great.

  • cam

    I like the copy Joker idea. Except in the movie Batman universe The Joker never died. So it’d be kind of weird to see copy Jokers without seeing the real Joker anywhere. And any mention like “The Real Joker went off skiing” would just be eye-roll inducing. It’d be a really neat trick if they took old Heath Leger clips and CGI’d Joker makeup on him and somehow worked it into the film (insane asylum security tapes or something).

  • Kimberly

    I love JGL so much, I think I can actually forgive him for GI Joe. Inception cancelled that out. I’m already excited for Dark Night Rises, so this is just…too much!

  • cam

    oh, and I hated JGL as Cobra Commander in G.I Joe btw. Wrong person, wrong concept, missed opprotunity. :(

  • Mr. Holloway

    The Joker idea is interesting.

    If Ledger hadn’t died, I don’t think ANYONE would’ve assumed the way we do now that Nolan was done with the Joker seeing as how the character was left hanging at the end of “The Dark Knight.”

  • Sarah El

    Unless they’re going the route of Selina Kyle remaining a civilian as opposed to the villain Catwoman (which was speculated upon the press release only calling her the former), I’d rather JGL not play another villain – the past two movies have worked with roughly two major villains apiece. There have been the mobsters, Scarecrow’s TDK cameo, but the two villain formula has worked and nobody wants another Spider-man 3.

    • Stephanie T.

      You mean it has not worked:

      1. Batman Returns
      2. Batman Forever
      3. Batman and Robin
      4. Spiderman 3

      Returns and Forever were ok for what they were but B&R and SPM3 were bad.

      • Wow

        I’m with you on all but Batman Returns. I think that was the only one where two main vilains did work.

      • Brian

        Agreed. Returns was very good!

      • therealeverton

        Batman Returns is very, very good and it had 3 villains.
        Iron Man had 2,
        Sin City had several,
        Blade 2,
        X2 (sure lines blurred because Magneto is both ally and enemy)
        Akira (again friends & enemies switch around blurring the lines)
        There’s no “rule” about the number o characters / villains you can accommodate, as with all things it’s the writing that is the key.

      • Emilio

        every batman movie from CN had 3 villains:
        Batman Begins: Ra’s, Scarecrown, the mob
        TDK: Joker, Two-Face, The mob
        The catch is, Nolan makes the villains share the same storyline, giving them enough time on screen and giving the film some gravitas. I can see a Riddler or the Joker again in JGL… also, maybe Selina Kyle is not a villain in the film, but an amoral presense all around.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      It’d be great if he were Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne/Batman’s protege, but not “Robin”, same as AH playing Selena but not “Catwoman”.

  • Jeff

    I won’t try to speculate because ultimately, we’re probably all wrong and it makes my head hurt. But I have learned not to doubt Nolan. On anything. Except Maggie Gyllenhaal.

    • alan smithee

      Yes, in this next film it’s like Nolan realized he could have a pretty woman that can also act, that it wasn’t one or the other.

      • Pittner

        Katie Holmes was a bigger mistake than Maggie.

    • Melissa

      Agreed. Maggie Gyllenhaal was the only disappointment in The Dark Knight.



    • Big Walt

      I’m thinking more along the Selina Kyle route, maybe JGL as Dick Greyson or something but not as Robin. And you can’t have Nightwing without ever having a Robin so rule that out.

    • ash

      If anyone could make Robin cool, it’s JGL. Make it happen, Nolan!

    • Nathan

      Agreed, he’d make a pretty decent Riddler I’d say.

    • Carla in Houston

      Agreed, Nolan could make it work. But I’d prefer Nightwing to Robin. Robin’s been done (albeit, rather poorly), but Nightwing would be something new. Either way, JGL is a great casting choice.

    • Brett

      He’s going to play Chief O’Hara.

    • Brian

      There’s nothing wrong with Robin or any other sidekicks, for that matter. It’s Batman’s attempt to rebuild his family.

      • Elle

        He could bring a lot more depth and darkness to Robin and do it the way it should be done. We have never seen a great Robin that is real and sympathetic. He will redeem the character for me.

      • Brian

        Why does everything have to have darkness heaped onto it? Darkness doesn’t equal depth. Robin especially is a light-hearted character to balance out Bruce’s pathos. Remember, though Robin’s parents died while he was young, he’d been mentally preparing for that eventuality for most of his life because of the nature of their work, trapeze artists without nets.
        Dick Grayson/Robin/Nightwing is supposed to be a mix of Batman and Spider-man in terms of character, and this franchise could use that lightheartedness.

      • Jace

        Elle, that is totally true. JGL is a great actor who can portray a wide range of emotion. I think he’s bring some layers to the side kick role.

    • MCS

      Dont worry, I read an interview where Bale said he would leave the series if Robin was introduced and Nolan agreed.

  • TW

    Whether he plays a good guy or a villain, he’ll be a great addition either way. Make it happen Nolan!

  • Liz

    I don’t care WHO he plays as long as he’s in the movie!

    • Thalia

      I wholeheartedly agree. My interest in this movie just grew exponentially.

  • Summer

    My husband and I always thought if they ever did try to replace Heath Ledger as the Joker that he has enough physical characteristicts to pull it off. Probably a long shot that that would be the reason for his consideration, but it could work. More than likely Hugo Strange. Good choice in actors (except Anne Hathaway).

    • Jace

      Yea, ick Anne Hathaway who would want Oscar nominated actresses in their movie? Blech give me Megan Fox and her vacant stare any day of the week.

      • HD

        I think this role will make Anne Hathaway the way it made Michelle Pfiefer. Yeah she was well liked and popular and so forth but it didn’t seem as though she really became Michelle Pfiefer until she played Catwoman and I can see Anne Hathaway sinking her claws into the role with the same effect.

      • dntbstpd1

        Anne Hathaway…ick, who would want her over Kristin Stewart?! <<<Sarcasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • datruth82

      I’m not even going to pretend to be an expert on the Batman universe. But, from looking at the photos of Hugo Strange, I don’t think it would be too far a stretch for JGL to play the character. I may be 1 of 5 people that saw the movie in theaters, but he played a deranged, older-looking scientist in the live-action GI Joe movie. With the makeup, that character didn’t look all that different from the Hugo Strange drawings I’m seeing. I’m not by any means comparing GI Joe to any of the films in Nolan’s canon. Just thinking that with the right makeup artist, if JLG could pull off that role, the Strange role may not be too much of a stretch (from the looks department, anyway).

  • alan smithee

    Well, the joker is entirely made, messy make-up and green hair so why couldn’t JGL play him. I always expected he and Ledger to do a movie together where they played brothers. Damm, I miss Ledger.

    • Big Walt

      I like the idea of him as the Joker but I bet the backlash by Ledger fans would be enough to dissuade Nolan from doing that.

      • alan smithee

        I’d approve the move. But, I agree, it would be a very difficult move.

      • Brian

        Would it really be that difficult? Someone’s gonna play Joker again. It’s only a matter of time.

      • Thalia

        True, but I doubt it will be during Nolan tenure in the franchise.

      • Thalia


  • Katie

    I always loved Dick Grayson. Sign him up for that.

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