Christopher and Jonathan Nolan are currently plugging away at the screenplay for The Dark Knight Rises, with the intention of delivering a solid draft by January of next year. Both fellows are known for their secretive ways, though that hasn’t prevented rumors about Tom Hardy’s possible role or a Batman TV show spinoff from spreading around the Web.

Franchise stars Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman are essentially set to return for The Dark Knight Rises, as will Michael Caine, making the threequel his fifth collaboration with Chris Nolan after the first two Batman films, The Prestige, and this summer’s existential heist flick, Inception.

Caine spoke to Empire about the planned production schedule for The Dark Knight Rises and revealed that Chris Nolan now expects to complete shooting over the course of six months, with a May 2011 start date in mind. That would also allow time for the development of a new camera system that will enable Nolan and his longtime director of photography, Wally Pfister, to possibly shoot Dark Knight Rises entirely in the IMAX format.

Zack Snyder’s The Man of Steel will arrive alongside Nolan’s third Batman venture in the summer of 2012 and Warner Bros. has plans for the Superman reboot to begin shooting halfway through 2011 as well – even now that the family of Supes co-creator Jerry Siegel’s Superman lawsuit is moving forward (Sidebar – Joel Schumacher should just be thankful that Batman creator Bob Kane never took similar legal action against him for putting nipples on the Caped Crusader’s outfit).

Casting rumors for both Batman and Superman’s next big screen venture will start to heat up even more as the creative forces behind each project look to fill major roles (including that of the female leads in Dark Knight Rises and the new Man of Steel) before their respective productions get underway.

Stay tuned for more news concerning The Dark Knight Rises.

Source: Empire