There are two pieces of Batman movie news/rumor to cover today: The first item is Christian Bale stating openly that Chris Nolan's third (and presumably last) Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, will be the end of the line for Bale as well.
In a related rumor, we're hearing that like its predecessors, The Dark Knight Rises could in fact be based on an existing Batman graphic novel - and it's one that fans (us here at Screen Rant included) have been speculating about for awhile now.
In a recent interview with Total Film, Christian Bale stated in no uncertain terms that unless director Chris Nolan opts to do a fourth film in the Batman series (which is highly unlikely at this point), then he (Bale) too will likely walk away after Dark Knight Rises.
Check out the quote from Bale:
'I believe, unless Chris (Nolan) says different, this will be the last time I'm playing Batman.'
By now we should all know how this goes: some people will be happy to hear that Bale's tenure is almost done, others will be clamoring for the actor to do one more Batman film, and those in the middle will be curious, wondering who could possibly take over the role from Bale in 3-5 years time.
For my part, I think Bale has been the best live-action Batman there is; certainly the only actor to approach the role by crafting two very distinct personas for Bruce Wayne and Batman. I know some people like to crack jokes about the "gruff voice" Bale spoke with in The Dark Knight - but by now you should know that the voice was a decision of the filmmakers, and not just the actor (read: LET IT GO).
Bale also spoke more about the Batman movie universe, including the possibility of Chris Nolan staying on for a fourth movie, and where they are in the pre-production process for The Dark Knight Rises. Read about all that by hopping over to Total Film.
The Dark Knight Rises = Batman: Prey?
A week ago I wrote a long post about the character of Hugo Strange, just one of the villains being rumored for The Dark Knight Rises, and the role that actor Tom Hardy has been rumored as playing in the film.
In that same post, I broke down some of the more famous Hugo Strange stories that would fit perfectly into the Batman universe Nolan has created. Of course, I'm not the only one currently piecing together this particular puzzle; everyone around the blogosphere has pretty much agreed that the graphic novel Batman: Prey (a collected volume of the comic book Legends of the Dark Knight issues 11-15) is prime material for the The Dark Knight Rises' script.
Now Scriptflags is claiming they are hearing from "sources" (read: UNSUBSTANTIATED RUMOR) that Prey will indeed be the basis for the film.
Prey takes place in the same continuity as Frank Miller's Batman: Year One and its semi-sequel The Long Halloween - two graphic novels that (not so) coincidentally served as the foundations for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, respectively.
In Prey, Commissioner Gordon has been ordered to create a special police task force to take down Batman, who is viewed as a dangerous vigilante. Aiding the police is renowned psychoanalyst Dr. Hugo Strange, who begins to probe the psychology and behavior of the Dark Knight in order to predict who is under the mask. As Strange delves deeper into Batman's psyche, he becomes obsessed with not only discovering the vigilante's identity, but also with killing him and taking the mantle of Batman for himself. To accomplish this, Strange brainwashes the head of the Task Force, sergeant Max Cort, into becoming a lethal vigilante called "Night Scourge" who tries to take Batman down. Strange also begins to discover Batman's secret identity, leading Batman to face danger on all fronts.
Clearly this Dark Knight Rises/Batman: Prey connection is a RUMOR at this point, but one could see why it is a fitting and believable rumor. There are a lot of plot threads from Prey that Nolan could borrow or reconfigure to fit the shape of The Dark Knight Rises - the police task force, a secondary vigilante, a psyche-probing villain essentially asking "Who is Batman?" all being obvious gems. There are also several characters - Hugo Strange, Max Cort or Dect. Harvey Bullock (a rival for Gordon) - who would be prime roles for an actor of Tom Hardy's skill.
However, these rumors about Prey make it hard to reconcile other recent rumors that Talia al Ghul could also be a villain in the film. (Although, Prey does feature female characters - notably Catwoman in a more supporting role.) Could Nolan actually mix elements of Prey with other famous Batman stories and therefore involve Talia? It's certainly a possibility...
It was recently revealed that The Dark Knight Rises script will be turned in after the new year and that the film will start shooting in May for its July 2012 release date. Ergo, we should have all questions of plot and characters nailed down soon. Stay tuned.