Riddle Me This: Who Will Be The Next Batman Villain?

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And now we'll never know...
Forget all that talk about natural disasters and midterm elections, yesterday we finally got some really important news:

The Dark Knight Rises.

That's the title director Christopher Nolan is running with for his third go-round with the Batman franchise he successfully rebooted with 2005's Batman Begins and 2008's blockbuster sequel The Dark Knight.

But what about those neverending rumors that the Caped Crusader will duke it out with the Riddler? Well, the answer isn't much of an enigma anymore.

"It won't be the Riddler," the helmer tells Los Angeles Times, no doubt to the disappointment of fanboys dreaming Johnny Depp might get the call.

Yeah well, color me among those not disappointed by this turn of events. Not only is the Riddler really just the "Diet Joker," but it's highly unlikely whoever they'd get could compare favorably to Heath Ledger's performance in TDK. Especially with some of the names that were thrown around (Johnny Depp, David Tennant...Eddie Murphy).

So while I may agree the Riddler would definitely have been the wrong choice for Nolan's third film, that leaves us with the obvious question: who's ass is Batman going to kick in The Dark Knight Rises?

I'll tell you after the jump.

There are a few clues, of course:

"We'll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we'll be introducing some new ones," Nolan says.

That may include Tom Hardy, the hardscrabble hunk who played the forger on Leonardo DiCaprio's team of dream invaders in Nolan's Inception. Hardy has reportedly been tapped to play one of the leads opposite Christian Bale in the new Batman flick, which is shooting for release on July 20, 2012.

There's also word the helmer has been meeting with actresses in their 20s and 30s for another key part, though no word on which villain that may be (Catwoman perhaps?).

Assuming Nolan doesn't make the unwise decision of bringing a certain crazy clown back, he's already run through Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, the Joker and Two-Face. The Riddler is just the latest villain he's said he won't use, joining the Penguin and Mr. Freeze.

As far as notoriety goes, that's about it. Catwoman? Yeah, most people have heard of her, and I'd say she's the odds-on favorite, but given who Nolan has already gone through, we're forced to look at some characters that could charitably be called "obscure." Which one will be in The Dark Knight Rises? Let's take a look.


A bit player in Batman & Robin, the comic book version is actually a fairly well educated dude, albeit one transformed into a one man killing machine by the super-steroid "Venom." And judging by the picture, he also sported some sweet implants.

Hardy's pretty buff. He'd be a good fit, unless the IMDb is right and he's actually playing Det. Bullock. Then again, when has the IMDb ever been right about production rumors?

He's famous for breaking Batman's back in Batman #497, an act I would describe as a great set-up for a 4th Batman movie, except I can't imagine Nolan wants to go through the ordeal again.

Odds Of Appearing in TDKR: 25-1

Killer Croc

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered this wasn't a murderous pair of cheap footwear, but actually a half-man/half-reptile. Originally a big dude with scaly skin, recent incarnations have him as more crocodile than man.

Given that most of the new Batman villains have been psychological in nature, it seems a bit far-fetched that Nolan would go with something that would have to be rendered mostly in CGI as his ultimate villain.

There have been rumors, however, of location shoots in Louisiana, which would tie in with Croc's continuity. This one might not be as far fetched as it seems.

Odds Of Appearing in TDKR: 30-1

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