Ever since the credits began to roll on The Dark Knight, fans have pondered which villains director Christopher Nolan would include in the inevitable follow-up. We have long known that Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) will play central roles in The Dark Knight Risesthe grand finale to Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but rumors continue to swirl regarding whether or not Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow would make a return appearance.

Murphy previously stated he was open to reprising the character he played in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Now, in an interview with IFC, Murphy remains mum on the possibility that his character would face Batman one last time.

Said Murphy:

“My thing is always like, it’s out very shortly. Let’s not be impatient. People are so impatient. Some things [spoilers are] great for, but other things… isn’t it so great to go and see a film that you haven’t seen a script for, that you haven’t seen on set videos, that you haven’t read spoilers for, that you just go in and you just are in it? That’s what it should be. That’s what it was in the old days, and in many ways Chris is a very sort of old fashioned filmmaker in the methods that he employs and his belief in cinema, and I think that’s a good thing.”

Notice that Murphy doesn’t explicitly confirm or deny that he’s involved in Nolan’s third Batman production. Rather, he chooses to comment on how Nolan’s efforts have affected how audiences and studios view the superhero genre:

“I think that that franchise has just been totally reinvigorated and he’s set the bar for all sorts of superhero franchises in terms of making something that’s hugely entertaining but also really intelligent and moving. They’re phenomenal films and I think that he’s just — not just in the Batman franchise, but with all superhero franchises — that’s the level they have to live up to.”

Murphy’s comments have arguably already been proven true, with the release of Marvel’s The Avengers. Both Nolan’s films and the establishment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have raised the bar for the genre, putting additional pressure on upcoming releases like The Amazing Spider-man and next year’s Man of Steel. Furthermore, Murphy thinks that the success of more high-minded superhero films indicates that audiences are looking for more than just another popcorn flick.

“The most important thing is, like a film like Inception, for example, which wasn’t a franchise, it was a standalone movie but it was very challenging and you had to really work. But millions and millions of people went to see it and I think that really changed things in that people wanted a clever movie, wanted a movie that challenged them, and I think it’s foolish always for studios — or any filmmakers — to underestimate how smart their audiences are.”

While he wouldn’t reveal his potential involvement in the new Batman film, Murphy did say that he would love to work with Nolan again; as it stands though, this writer remains skeptical that Nolan would call on Murphy for The Dark Knight Rises.

His chilling portrayal of Scarecrow brought great life into what many considered a tough character to translate into a realistic context, but his appearance in Dark Knight Rises might feel like overkill in a film with two principal villains and a lot of story to get through. In addition, Scarecrow’s story was wrapped up quite neatly early on in the previous film, making another cameo somewhat superfluous.

Still, it’s long been rumored that the storyline of The Dark Knight Rises will heavily involve The League of Shadows, the organization Scarecrow worked for in Batman Begins. Couple that with the involvement of a certain former cast member and reports that  the trilogy will come full circle, and suddenly, a possible cameo by Murphy could actually fit quite easily into the narrative of The Dark Knight Rises.

With this third film confirmed to be Nolan’s final entry in the Batman series, anything can happen. As far as fans are concerned, the film’s release can’t come soon enough.

As if you didn’t know, The Dark Knight Rises soars into theaters on July 20, 2012.

Source: IFC