Christopher Nolan brought his Batman trilogy to an epic conclusion this past summer with The Dark Knight Rises, but there was no way that Warner Bros. was going to leave the character alone for long. As we’ve been discussing here at Screen Rant, the company has been planning to build its own Marvel-style cinematic universe and Batman is going to play a vital role.

The question is, who will play Batman and what role will the character have alongside Superman, Wonder Woman, and other important heroes in an eventual Justice League movie?

We’ve already shared five ways that Batman can fit into the Justice League movie, but a new rumor suggests the character and actor might already exist. According to his sources, Drew McWeeny at HitFix is reporting that Joseph Gordon-Levitt “absolutely will be appearing in Justice League as the new Batman,” building off of his role in Nolan’s final film.

In addition to this piece of news, McWeeny also reports that Gordon-Levitt may even appear as the Caped Crusader in an earlier film, like Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel. Zack Snyder has already commented on Man of Steel‘s connection to Justice League, so it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. Then again, Justice League is already schedule for a 2015 release date – could a Batman sequel be produced before then, or would they push the production of the DC superhero team-up back?

There are quite a few reasons why the Gordon-Levitt rumor makes sense. As anyone who saw The Dark Knight Rises remembers, the film ended with Gordon-Levitt’s character John Blake discovering the bat cave and, presumably, taking over the role of Batman. Nolan and company even shoe-horned in a line about Blake’s real name being “Robin” to make the connection even clearer.

If Warner Bros. wanted to maintain a connection to Nolan’s enormously popular Batman films, short of getting Christian Bale back for the role, Gordon-Levitt is the most logical option. It also doesn’t hurt that Gordon-Levitt has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable young stars, appearing in a number of critically acclaimed and financially successful films (from Rian Johnson’s Looper to Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln).

However, there are some drawbacks to having Gordon-Levitt take over the character for Justice League. For one thing, he’s not Bruce Wayne. Will Batman fans be okay with a different character donning the cowl in a major movie? And would the Justice League team dynamic be as interesting with Superman, Wonder Woman, and … Batman’s replacement, John “Robin” Blake?

Generally, reaction to the end of The Dark Knight Rises was positive, so this may not be a big issue. Then again, Batman is such an iconic hero that he’s one of the easiest characters to reboot, so it’s not as if the audience needs Gordon-Levitt for continuity sake. If the Nolan movies weren’t specifically intended to build into a broader DC universe of films, would it be more disruptive to try and bring Gordon-Levitt back than to simply reboot the character?

Bringing back Gordon-Levitt would also raise some other interesting questions. How far will Warner Bros. go to bring in their existing characters for Justice League? Would they also consider bringing Ryan Reynolds back to play Green Lantern? There was talk of rebooting Green Lantern, but if they’re not planning to use solo films to introduce each character before Justice League, wouldn’t you want to work with as much existing content as possible?

We’ll keep an eye on this story as it progresses. In the meantime, please share your thoughts on what you think of Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Batman in Justice League (and potentially sooner).

Justice League is expected to hit theaters in 2015.

Source: Hit Fix