In the last two weeks we saw multiple casting announcements for The Dark Knight Rises, one returning cast member from The Dark Knight, one new face for the franchise playing a character from Batman Begins and several supporting roles

Now, we can add two more high profile members to the already strong cast of The Dark Knight Rises, two actors we are certainly not surprised about: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard.

Both talents have been rumored and reported to be in talks for parts in Nolan’s third and final Batman feature film, speculated as potentials to play characters Alberto Falcone and Talia al Ghul, but as it turns out, they’ve been cast in neither of these parts.

Gordon-Levitt will play John Blake, a cop working for Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Cotillard will play Miranda Tate, a member on the board for Wayne Enterprises. Blake works on special assignment for Gordon, while Tate will aid Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) on his “philanthropic endeavors for Gotham,” stepping into his father’s shoes.

Nolan had nothing but positive words for the two who he clearly wanted to work with again after Inception. All we need is Leonardo DiCaprio for the big reunion.

“When you collaborate with people as talented as Marion and Joe, it comes as no surprise that you would want to repeat the experience. I immediately thought of them for the roles of Miranda and Blake, and I am looking forward to working with both of them again.”

Already speculation is flooding the Intewebs about whether these two characters – who don’t seem to exist in the Batman comic book canon – are original characters created for Nolan’s film (see: Rachel Dawes) or rather clever bits of misdirection meant to cover identities Batman fans are much more familiar with.

When Cotillard was first rumored for The Dark Knight Rises, many fans speculated that the actress was being sought to play Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson in Batman Begins) who is both a foe and love interest of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Talia also has ties to the villain Bane (played by Tom Hardy), which has only furthered speculation that Talia would be a logical addition to TDKR.

Is "Miranda Tate" really Talia al Ghul?

So does this casting announcement kill the idea that Talia is in the film? Not in our book. Nolan is a master of misdirection, and Talia’s own father presented himself as a seeming benefactor of Bruce Wayne (remember “Henry Ducard?”), so it’s not inconceivable that daughter could follow suit…thereby throwing any over-anxious fans (like us) off the scent.

Many people wanted Gordon-Levitt to play Alberto Falcone, heir to the Falcone crime empire, and while his character “John Blake” is another seemingly new addition to the Batman universe, it would be somewhat surprising if that character was ultimately revealed to be a villain. If anything, Blake sounds like a tweaked version of Harvey Bullock, or even Sgt. Max Court, the head of a Batman police task force who goes through a drastic transformation in the “Batman: Prey” storyline.

Could John Blake be "Night Scourge?"

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard join returning cast members Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Nestor Carbonell and Michael Caine along with franchise newcomers Anne Hathaway,, Tom Hardy, Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata, Burn Gorman and Diego Klattenhoff.

Are Cotillard and Gordon-Levitt playing who you thought they would and are these characters really as they seem?

The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th, 2012.

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