Christopher Nolan and company dove headfirst into principal photography on The Dark Knight Rises about three weeks ago – and since then, we’ve been treated to a handful of Batman-related goodies, including another casting update and a first look at Tom Hardy as Bane.

The biggest bit of Dark Knight Rises news right now is that a teaser trailer may premiere with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 next month – however there’s an interesting semi-rumor that concerns a historical piece of European architecture that will apparently “play” Wayne Manor in the conclusion of Nolan’s Caped Crusader trilogy.

Batman on Film has gotten wind of the news that Wollaton Hall – a 16th-century mansion-turned natural history museum in Nottingham, England – will apparently serve as the new Wayne Manor in Dark Knight Rises. This speculation was set off by an announcement on the official Nottingham city site saying that Wollaton Hall will be closed for a two-week period at the end of this month, “in order to enable a film to have exclusive access to the site.”

However, it seems that Osterley Park in West London, not Wollaton Hall, will actually be used for the interior shots of Wayne Manor. That is perhaps all the more fitting, given that the interiors of the latter no longer readily resemble the inside of a live-in mansion – even though, from the outside, Wollaton Hall is an almost perfect match for Mentmore Towers, which “played” the original Wayne Manor in Batman Begins.

Wollaton Hall

When considered within the context of the Dark Knight Rises plot, the decision to use Wollaton Hall as Wayne Manor is actually an interesting one. That Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) would seek to recreate the image of his parents’ original mansion as much as possible is no shock; he basically announced that as his intention at the conclusion of Batman Begins. However, the move could also be read as a symbolic gesture on his part – a move to (here, literally) try and partially return things to the way they were before the “birth” of Batman and the Joker’s reign of terror against Gotham City in The Dark Knight.

Bruce’s personal conflict – his desire to undo the chaos brought on by his Batman persona without also ruining the progress he has inspired – would also account for his renewed desire to continue on with the “philanthropic endeavors for Gotham” that his father set in motion, with the assistance of a potential new love interest in the form of Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). Of course, if it turns out that Tate isn’t all that she appears to be, then Bruce would again have to face that cold truth which the Joker flat out told him in The Dark Knight (“You’ve changed things – forever.”).

Obviously, this last bit is all just speculation – but given how little concrete information has been revealed about The Dark Knight Rises, and how it will properly conclude Nolan’s trilogy about the coming of Batman, all guesses are fair game at this point.

The Dark Knight Rises in theaters on July 20th, 2012.

Source: Batman on Film, Nottingham Home Page