Who Will Joseph Gordon-Levitt Play in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:30 pm,

We’ve spent a lot of time here at Screen Rant dissecting the characters of The Dark Knight Rises. A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time wondering how Bane might figure into Nolan’s final Batman film, and just this week, Screen Rant Senior Editor Kofi Outlaw explored how Selina Kyle/Catwoman might play into the movie.

Without patting myself on the back too much, I thought that we both did a pretty good job. Of course, that was before Christopher Nolan decided to throw a monkey wrench into our casting speculation with the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was joining Batman 3.

Within minutes of the announcement that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be involved in the movie, fans began debating over what character he might play. Somewhat predictably, the two most popular guesses were that JGL was playing the Riddler or that he was taking over Heath Ledger’s role as the Joker. I don’t think either of those will turn out to be right, but more on that later.

In this article, we take a look at all of the possible characters that Gordon-Levitt could play in The Dark Knight Rises, and offer our opinion as to which character is most likely. Read on for our picks, arranged from least likely to most likely.

The Joker

The Dark Knight Joker 570x328 Who Will Joseph Gordon Levitt Play in The Dark Knight Rises?

As I mentioned before, as soon as the Gordon-Levitt story broke, many people immediately assumed that the young actor would play the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s final film, reprising the role that won Heath Ledger a posthumous Academy Award.

I won’t go on the record to guarantee that this won’t happen, because you never know for sure, but let me say that I would be extremely surprised if it did. The fact of the matter is that Ledger’s performance was a one-of-a-kind and anybody taking over the role, even the exceptionally talented Gordon-Levitt, would be held to an unfair standard.

Plus, Christopher Nolan already said back in June of last year that The Joker wouldn’t appear in the film. While I acknowledge that Nolan is something of a trickster when it comes to casting, I’m holding him at his word here. Sorry Joker fans, but I wouldn’t bet on seeing the Crown Prince of Crime on the big screen again anytime soon.

The Riddler

theriddler Who Will Joseph Gordon Levitt Play in The Dark Knight Rises?

Back before we found out that Bane would be the villain in The Dark Knight Rises, many fans were hoping that the Riddler would show up in the final Batman film. Now, with the announcement of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s involvement in the film, suddenly those hopes have been reignited. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

While the Riddler is definitely a great villain, fitting him into The Dark Knight Rises in a way that enhances the plot and doesn’t diminish the importance of the character in the Batman mythology would be immensely difficult. We’ve seen what happens when comic book movies squeeze too many characters into the story (X-Men 3) and I doubt Christopher Nolan would let that happen.

If the Riddler were in the film, he would be the primary antagonist. Since that role belongs to Tom Hardy as Bane, I don’t think Batman will be spending too much time deciphering riddles in The Dark Knight Rises.

Hush/Black Mask

Hush Black Mask Batman Who Will Joseph Gordon Levitt Play in The Dark Knight Rises?

We’re getting closer, but still no cigar. Black Mask and Hush are both great villains, and they definitely would work in the more realistic world of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, but the same problem we had with the Riddler comes up again here.

Unless they were just crime bosses competing with Bane for control of Gotham, Black Mask and Hush would be too complex to fit into the narrative that Nolan has established going into The Dark Knight Rises. Like the Riddler, Black Mask or Hush would be great primary antagonists. Relegating them to second-string status seems like a mistake, and a misuse of quality characters.

Of all the famous villains Gordon-Levitt could play, either of these guys is probably the most likely, but I still think it’s a stretch.

Continue to other roles JGL could play…

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  1. if they were going to have falcone have a son to take over the business he wouldof been introduced in the dark knight. another way to introduce nightwing is to have him as a new crime fighter on the streets and batman just thinks of him as a copy cat. but he proves to be an effective forcee if nolan can introduce new characters why cant he tweak nightwing to fit into his universe know what im sayin?

    • Not necessarily! Salvatore Maroni wasn’t introduced in BB, he was only brought in in TDK. So were all the other mob bosses. The same can be done for any of Falcone’s children

  2. I just…never, ever want to see Hush or, as some commenters brought up, Azrael, especially AzBats, ever on the screen. Or in more comics. Just generally awfully written characters, and really, the concepts aren’t all that interesting either.
    This is my opinion, of course, no offense intended to anybody’s ideas that differ from mine.

  3. You say of the Major Rogues Hush and Black Mask are most likely and I’ll agree on Black Mask but for Hush I’d say he’s the leas likely. Because the character can not work in Nolans world not if was gonna be even remotely interesting. His entire back story is what makes him interesting other wise he’s just a guy with mummy wrap. It’s his connection to bruce and his child hood that make him matter. His knowledge of Bruce is why he matters. You can’t logically give him that same back story with out creating big plot holes. With out that back story he doesn’t exist. So no he’s the least likely.

    Also you said that Riddler needs to be a major role if he’s in it and again I disagree. I think if anything the comics have proven Riddler works best when he isn’t focused on. Riddler never had a great solo story because he’s not that interesting. He works great as the master mind who only briefly appears or as the secondary/third rogue who is just a distraction. That’s the way the comics have been using him the last decade and it works much better. They tried it the other way… Go ahead name two great stories where Riddler is the primary focus of the Rogues. Go ahead I’ll wait. Top Ten Batman stories Riddler only briefly appears in two of them. Not even a secondary.

    You left out Azreal as an option. Given how very unlikely some of these options are he should at least warrant a mention on here given that he is a major part of the Bane story not a brief appearance he is a major major part of the Knightfall arc.

    • I’m curious to know what those Top Ten are. Always interests me.

      • S.Matt well that depends. Are you asking for my Top ten or the most critically praised 10 stories? Bother are fairly similar and neither has has much riddler and neither has him as the main Rogue in any book. He actually has very very few books that’s he the lead in at all let alone good ones. There simply are not very many stories with a focus on Riddler haven’t really been ever. Most of his time in the comics has been as a second fiddle so it confuses me when people claim he has to be the main bad guy if he’s in it.

        • I think the only story where he’s played the prominent villain part that I enjoyed was “Dark Knight, Dark City”, pretty essential reading to the Morrison Batman epic. I actually like it a lot, Milligan can do some writing!
          I guess your Top Ten, though the critically praised one would interest me, because I feel as though I would disagree with much of it.

          • Morrison is very hit or miss with me. Sometimes I feel he nails Batman other times I feel like he doesn’t understand the character at all. He can write some good stuff but most of his stuff for me borders on overly campy.I actually stopped reading for a bit because of him. I came back and now had to stop again due to his new series Batman Inc which just sounds awful in every way.

            Here are my top 20 and in order or as close to order as I can get some were really close calls.

            1. Batman Knightfall
            Batman No Mans Land
            Batman Long Halloween
            Batman Hush
            5. Batman Killing Joke
            Batman Year One
            Batman Heart of Hush
            Batman Lovers and Madmen
            Batman Dark Victory
            10. Batman Death In the Family
            Batman Battle for the Cowl
            Batman Resurection of Raas Al Ghoul
            Batman: Brian Azzarello’s JOKER
            Batman Face to Face
            15. Batman Officer Down
            Batman War Games/War Drums/ War Crimes
            Batman Under the Red Hood
            Batman Death and the maidens
            Batman Bruce Wayne Fugitive
            20. Batman Son of the Demon

            • There are a lot that I really, really dislike on there, but to each their own! I am of the opinion that what Morrison’s done for the character is incredibly important and makes him far more enjoyable to read.
              In fact, his run on Batman books, most recently Batman Inc, which is really a lot of fun and really well done, is my absolute favorite Batman story of all time. I just feel bad that Battle for the Cowl was written in the first place, a completely unnecessary book. Doesn’t help that Tony Daniel wrote it. Ugh.
              Under the Red Hood and the Lost Days mini are the only Winick books I’ve ever liked.

              • To me how Morrison writes Batman is an entirely different character. it’s not the batman I grew up on. He’s to light hearted and the stories are to campy. I also really hated the tie ins to the old old material. The stuff had been ignored for a long time for some very important reasons not the least of which being because it was all awful. Bringing back Bat Mite? Wtf? Batman Inc what I read which was very little was just bad. It wasn’t Batman at all. His work already reads like an alternative universe. Everything that Batman has been known to be the last few decades is not what he is in Morrisons books. Instead of a dark brooding character with occasional Dry wit Morrison wrote an happyish guy who enjoys a good joke and every once in awhile tries to be serious. He also went way to campy and at times it feels like I’m reading the awful books from the 60′s.

                Other than Battle for the Cowl I’d love to hear what other books you dislike. I can understand a dislike for Battle for the Cowl some people thought it was brilliant others hated it. Really is one of those love it or hate it things, but most of the other books I cant understand anyone hating especially the top 10. As you drop out of the top ten obviously it’s lesser quality, but the top ten are IMO the best batman comics written and most of them tend to make the majority of top ten batman books lists.

            • @Daniel:
              I agree with almost all them being good to great in Range except… No Man’s Land is AWFUL for me except in patches. And those patches are rare. Pesonally for me, it was needlessly stretched endless boredom. IMO.

              • Amol I don’t know about how it was in the actual comics because I have the Novel, but the Novel was amazing. It was a fantastic story. I know they cut a few things for the Novel version and that may be why I loved it so much but the novel it’s self was just amazing. Though I will say I’ve noticed a lot of people cite the actual Comic run as one of the all time greatest, but I’ve never actually read it. They are essentially the same except some of the stuff from the run was cut for the novel mostly the useless stuff and it was touched up and all pieced together by one brilliant writer Greg Rucka.

  4. We already have 2 villains I don’t think that a 3rd one would be welcomed.

    • Why ? that makes no sense? People liked Batman Begins it had 3 plus a 4 in a small cameo. People loved TDK it had 3 villains plus a 4th in a cameo. Why can’t this one have 3 just like all the others?

      • and 4th cameo being Scarecrow again, Cillain Murphy said he wants to do it again so thats a good chance xD

  5. if JGL is doing a reporter role, i think it might good if he eventually turns out to be ‘the creeper’

    riddler and bane tandem sounds good also, if that will be the case.. maybe they can make Anne Hathaway as the Huntress rather than playing Selina Kyle.

  6. Bat-Mite!!!!!

    (*runs from room, laughing maniacally as torrents of rotten veggies pelt him*)

  7. Whose brilliant idea was printing this in white on a grey background? Thanks for the headache, editors.

    • butterfly,

      You need to upgrade your Internet Explorer browser from your ancient version 6 – that’s the problem. Site looks gorgeous to everyone else.


    • Butterfly – you could also be polite and send an email rather than post on one of the threads.

      On topic – I’d love to see Black Mask but I like the idea of JGL playing Falcone’s son trying to take the reins of the syndicate. JGL would be perfect for that role

  8. Ok well there is manycharacter JGL can play (I perfer The Riddler)

    The Joker- I really doubt it, Nolan did say he won’t be in it which you have already said, but I think it affects him personally when he didn’t even want to talk about it, so I am 99% sure he wont be in it.

    The Riddler- I doubt he will be in it, but Edward Nigma is a whole diffrent story.

    Black Mask- I can see it happening with trying to run Gotham and itd be cool to see JGL wearing that mask haha.

    Hush- JGL being a sergion and trying to help out Bruce, but secretly being Hush would be great.

    Alberto Falcone- I cant see it at all for him.

    Jack Ryder- You mentiond being a news reporter, but I think having a radio brodcaster would be awesome with Jack Ryder being a comic character and becoming The Creeper, but maybe not in this universe.

    Mayor of Gotham? – it can work trying to clean up the streets.

    Nightwing- I doubt it because Nolan says its still the early stages of Batman so I really doubt it and wont jump on it.

    Azreal- It would work perfectly that Bane would break Bruce’s back and Azreal jumped in for him, but I think they wouldnt give him the spot light.

    Everything else that was suggested isnt really appealing to me. I think Nolan woud give him a role with actual meaning.

  9. Didn’t Christopher Nolan outright say that The Riddler won’t be featured? Or did I just make that up? haha

  10. Maybe he’ll play his character from Inception, and get into Batman’s head. Haha

    I’m still hoping for the Joker!

  11. i think it would be cool if bane broke batman’s back like in the comics, and hush was the surgeon/doctor to help him

  12. have him as nightwing and have bane break batmans back at the end. Have nightwing movies after TDKR.

  13. yeah,, thats true maybe the dark knight falls in this movie and he rises back again after getting his back broke..

    I think Gordon Levit is going to be Hugo Strange. I am swayed also by that idea that he will be a crime boss of some sort.. maybe a younger penguin? Ehh?? Special make up and stuff make him alil fatter? — nahhh…

    I’m liking the Hush idea. I think he will be Azrael! yeah thats it.

  14. ……..Azrael…………

  15. damn thats a good plot that last one.. i’m worried that we are all thinking too hard because we might accidentally stumble upon Nolan’s actual plot and then by the time the movie shows we will be disappointed that his best plot will be something we’ve already thought of haha and then it’ll all seem predictable

  16. I really like the Alberto Falcone idea, especially if they portrayed him as a serial killer

  17. Detective Michael Wuertz, a character that shows up in several scenes of TDK (most notably when the Joker was antogonizing him in the questioning room) always seemed like a Harvey Bullock type character to me. Why he wasn’t actually named Harvey Bullock, I don’t know. I don’t see Levitt playing a young Bullock, Alberto Falcone seems most likely.

    • Gordon working with two Harvey’s probably nixed Wuertz from being Bullock

  18. Why am I still hoping for Joker? He’d be a good fall guy for Heath. I’m still hoping for the impossibles like Joker or Riddler given that Nolan likes surprises.

    • I’m still hoping for Joker but ii dont think it will possible :(

  19. I just think it’s strange that jgl looks a lot like Heath ledger. They favor each other a lot. So im not saying it’s going to happen but if they were going to have joker back jgl would be a good choice. But he could play anything. My pick would be the Alberto falcone storyline.

  20. i think he will be some kind of gangster / socialite…but if he’s the joker i would be really excited

  21. I doubt he would be the Joker even though you guys are right he would be a great fit in for Heath. I can see him as the riddler cause of the nutty acting hes done in his career and he looks like the riddler too a not Jim Carrey funny version more like a lunatic type. Remember the movie is trying to stay as realistic as possible. Azrael would be a good choice too but if I have to vote I say Riddler.

  22. Nolan already has said Robin will not appear as long as he is attached to the films. Besides jumping all the way to Nightwing would be ludicrous.

  23. I feel like the logical choice for him would be Falconis’ son. If Bane is to take over the city, and there’s some hot, nutty chick dressed up like a black cat crossing peoples’ paths, and the gangs have had a strong presence in the previous films, why not? Selina Kyle, in this case would be an illegitimate Falconi, and is bein’ a sneak, secretly trying to muck things up for her half brothers’ operation. While stumbling upon “the Bane”, she decides to take on a costume, meets Batman, “seduces him”, figures out he’s Bruce Wayne, and uses it to her advantage somehow…

  24. Alberto falcone and Nightwing are my guess.And the fact of maybe been Nightwing doesnt need show him as Robin first.

  25. Was it officially decided that he’d play a villain? If you ask me, the uninitiated, it would be just as likely for him to end up being Robin. Why no speculation towards that end of the character spectrum?

  26. why doesnt think about jean valley, also known as azrael and azbat… he takes over for batman when bane brings his back. batman has to later rehabilitates himself to be able to defeat jean valley who becomes a ruthless killing viligante.

  27. what i think will happen is that nolan will change the origin of robin/nightwing and have him as a business partner of bruce, and nolan will probly have the movie based off of the nightfall story bruces back will be broken and nightwing will take over for batman.

  28. Hey, you never know. He could have a small part. Perhaps something on the lines of Jack Ryder (without the Creeper persona)?

  29. He should be Robin or Nightwing