Christopher Nolan is gearing up to shoot his third and final Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, which promises to bring the events of its predecessors full circle. It turns out the filmmaker will literally tread new ground with the conclusion to his comic book trilogy – by shooting it partially in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Shooting locations for Nolan’s first two Caped Crusader titles were primarily restricted to Chicago and overseas in England – with Iceland and Hong Kong providing the backdrop in smaller segments – but Dark Knight Rises will film for four to six weeks in Pennsylvania’s second largest city.

Nolan released the following statement on the matter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Pittsburgh is a beautiful city. We have been able to find everything we were looking for here, and I am excited to spend the summer in Pittsburgh with our final installment of Batman.”

Pittsburgh has served as a filming spot for numerous Hollywood productions over the years and offers the benefit of a tax-benefit program – in addition to all its unique architecture and landmarks. What’s intriguing about this decision on Nolan’s part, however, is that the city really does not resemble Chicago and it would be a stretch to say one could easily pass for the other. So that begs the question: Will a significant portion of Dark Knight Rises take place outside of Gotham?

Downtown Gotham (Chicago) in 'The Dark Knight'.

While Chicago “played” Gotham in Nolan’s previous Batman movies, the metropolitan landscape was shot quite differently in both those films – enough so that, at times, it almost looks as though Batman Begins takes place in an entirely different city than The Dark Knight does. It’s certainly feasible that Nolan and his director of photography, Wally Pfister, will create the illusion that the Pittburgh footage simply reflects a not-yet-explored region of Gotham, but one does have to wonder…

Part of the reason behind the curiosity is that The Dark Knight concluded with Batman heading into an exile of sorts, allowing himself to be denounced in public as a full-fledged murderer and fugitive from justice. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Bruce Wayne could be forced to lay low somewhere outside of Gotham for a period of time; maybe he’ll even encounter one of the film’s known antagonists – Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy) – while he’s out of town.

That’s pure speculation on my part, but seeing how we have nothing but rumors about the Dark Knight Rises‘ plot to work with right now, it’s as good a time as anyway to speculate, yes?

The Dark Knight Rises arrives in theaters on July 20th, 2012. How do you think the city of Pittsburgh will fit into the film?

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette