Rumors about casting on Batman 3 have been circling the internet since before the release of The Dark Knight - everything from Eddie Murphy as The Riddler to Cher as Catwoman have been mentioned so far.
The latest (and from my perspective, the dumbest) is that Christian Bale has been dumped as Batman / Bruce Wayne and his replacement will be none other than his Terminator Salvation co-star Sam Worthington.
According to Australia's Herald Sun:
"Industry gossip now suggests the rising Australian star could score the part of Batman in the third instalment of the successful prequel franchise."
"That could mean replacing Bale, his 'Terminator' co-star and 'The Dark Knight' lead, whose profile was damaged after his infamous 'me, me, me' meltdown on the 'Terminator' set, which recently hit the internet."
Okay, now lets look at this rationally: Both the Terminator and Batman franchises are run by Warner Bros studios and I can't imagine the studio ditching Bale from one franchise and keeping him in the other. Bale's so called "melt down" would not be an issue for the studio, who have probably put up with worse behavior from stars who haven't just given the studio their biggest hit - ever!
This sort of spin is just out there to sell papers and drum up publicity. It's not doing Worthington's profile any harm and I'm sure that Australians want him to succeed so billing him as a potential Batman is as good as it gets. I can only imagine that in 5 or 6 years he'll also be mentioned as a potential James Bond candidate
Even though we've established that Batman is replaceable (with four actors in six films over 20 years) it's only sensible for Warners to want some continuity in the franchise. After all, if it's not broken - don't fix it.
Also, I'd imagine that Bale and Worthington struck up some kind of friendship on the set of Terminator. That is of course unless they are "done professionally." So I can't imagine the Australian taking over Bale's role if the studio decided to let him go. They do have to star in two further Terminator films if Terminator Salvation does well - so if they want to avoid irking Bale then this would be a bad move.
Now it could be that Christian Bale's camp is negotiating his deal for Batman 3 at the moment and in Marvel style the studio could be playing hardball in order to lower his fee. Remember back before Spider-Man 2 Sony had Jake Gyllenhaal waiting in the wings to replace Toby Maguire when he became difficult negotiating?
I fully expect to see a Christian Bale starring Christopher Nolan directed Batman film in 2011 or 2012 at the latest and I don't think that a minor bust up over lighting will stop that.
Sources: Herald Sun via Moviehole