It's been close to six months since we last heard semi-legitimate rumors about a possible appearance from twisted sociopath/psychologist Dr. Hugo Strange in Christopher Nolan's third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
A little over a week ago, an unconfirmed Dark Knight Rises plot synopsis hit the Internet and we held-off reporting on it - given the amount of debunked Hugo Strange rumors. Now, one week later, we've yet to get an official word to the contrary - so will Hugo Strange, not just make an appearance in the next bat-installment, but be the leading villain in the film's already star-studded plot?
The recent murmurs are the result of an update to The Dark Knight Rises' listing on My Entertainment World - adding an alleged mini-synopsis for Nolan's film.
For anyone unfamiliar with MyEntertainmentWorld, the site is basically a job-board for industry professionals (casting directors, agents, set-workers, actors, etc) who are looking for film work. While an update to the site isn't remotely close to an official confirmation, it's also not quite as easily dismissed as user-maintained sites such as IMDB - especially since some of the details (such as shooting locations) do match prior confirmed reports.
That said, given the focus of the synopsis itself, the rumor is highly-suspect:
DARK KNIGHT RISES, THE (aka MAGNUS REX & FOX HILLS GREEN) - Mid June, 2011 - India & London, UK & New York, NY & Pittsburgh, PA. STORY: As Batman deals with his new status as a wanted vigilante, Dr. Hugo Strange, a villainous psychiatrist, concocts a plan to destroy him and become the new Batman. (Posted: June 17, 2010. Revised: April 14, 2011)
While it's certainly plausible that Dr. Hugo Strange could appear in The Dark Knight Rises, it's extremely hard to imagine that Nolan would feature him as the central villain - given that there's already two iconic baddies in the mix, Bane (Tom Hardy) and Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), not to mention the often rumored return of the league of shadows, and subsequently Talia al Ghul.
The heavy-focus on Strange almost points to the possibility that MyEntertainmentWorld mistakenly mixed up some of the details with a summary for the upcoming Batman: Arkham City video-game by mistake. That said, the Prey-like plot (as laid-out in the synopsis) is certainly the kind of dark and twisted crime drama that the Nolan brothers would revel in - peppered with some interesting commentary regarding what it means to be a hero.
We're filing this particular rumor in the "long-shot" category - but that doesn't mean the synopsis isn't intriguing. If Dr. Hugo Strange doesn't make it into The Dark Knight Rises, whoever takes the helm for the next inevitable Batman follow-up should definitely consider the destroy then replace Batman story-beat (which has always been one of the more entertaining Strange-centric plot-lines).
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick and let us know if you'd like to see Hugo Strange in the Dark Knight Rises.
The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th, 2012.