Christopher Nolan's third and last Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises is close to beginning production and while the story remains under tight security, rumors and speculation have covered seemingly every plot possibility, many of which involve the film tying back into Batman Begins.
While we're still unclear of whether or not Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be playing the widely speculated Alberto Falcone (I called it!)- reports say yay and nay on this - such casting would allow Nolan's franchise to go full circle, so to speak. Whether or not Levitt is Falcone, the latest Dark Knight Rises casting sure does confirm that idea.
Who the character Josh Pence is playing and how he's involved with the story of The Dark Knight Rises is a mild plot spoiler so be warned before proceeding...
According to The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision blog, Pence (The Social Network) has been cast the younger Ra's Al Ghul and will show up in flashback sequences in the film. This news would seemingly confirm rampant speculation and words from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight actor Gary Oldman who plays Commissioner Jim Gordan in the series, that the film ties up loose ands and brings the trilogy back around to where it all began. Oldman revealed in an interview two weeks ago that he knows how the film ends:
"The story's fabulous. He (Nolan) sort of brings it around. I can't say anymore."
Ra's Al Ghul was played previously by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins and if you look at the image above, you can certainly see the resemblance. Pence is a 28 year-old California native so he may find himself having to pull off Neeson's accent.
The news essential confirms Talia Al Ghul's involvement in the film and we can make the not-so-crazy prediction that Inception star Marion Cotillard will play her. It's just a guess.
Pence joins returning cast members Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine along with franchise newcomers Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Juno Temple.
Does this change your assumptions about the story of Batman 3?
The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20, 2012.