[Spoiler Alert: If you're one of the three people that haven't seen this movie yet, do not read any further. If you are, I'm sorry. And if I could suggest a small piece of advice, go see the movie!]
Contrary to his previous interviews and statements, Eckhart had a different answer to the Two-Face question. He said the following after quite a bit of laughing and a few "knowing" smiles.
“I think Harvey — if he’s not dead — is in a serious coma,” stated Eckhart, “and I’m not sure he’s coming out. They might pull the plug on him.”
Please note that although Eckhart does play the character in question, he is an actor and probably does not have any insight into development of the third film. And even if he had an idea, it's still a bit early to say this is anything more than wild speculation.
And although many fans will hope against it, it's quite clear in the script as it reads: "Dent lies at the bottom of the hole, his neck broken. DEAD." Exactly as it's printed here, "DEAD" is in all CAPS.
But now with this latest comment, I find myself wanting to be behind a semi truck--grumbling "Harvey, Harvey, Harvey Dent. Ohh, excuse me, I want to drive!" and hollow through this plume of smoke before it runs rampant.
Although it is ambiguous to many, Harvey Dent's demise is obvious at the end of The Dark Knight. His completed story arc is a rare occurrence in comic book movies, which is part of the reason why the story has transcended the genre. Dent's slip is both literal and figurative, as he's labeled throughout the movie as Gotham's White Knight but he eventually becomes the villain he alludes to at the dinner table with Rachel Dawes, Natascha, and Bruce Wayne.
From his first scene to his last, we witness his fall from grace. At the beginning, the newly elected District Attorney is fighting the good fight and going after the accused head of the Falcone crime family, Salvador Maroni. But this is one of the few great moments he has left. From unorthodox methods in attaining a suspect to using force and gun point to get the answers he wants, Harvey Two-Face finally emerges after losing his "blushing bride to be" in a massive explosion.
Egged on by The Joker, the Clown Prince gives him that little push to send him over the edge. He goes on to be judge, jury and (often) executioner to Detective Wuertz, Sal Maroni, his driver and Det. Anna Ramirez. He becomes the irrational villain and agent of chaos he once fought against. In his search for fairness, he leaves all of his decisions to a coin flip--50/50. The code of law he once believed in, is replaced by "unbiased, unprejudice, fair." The Joker and the events leading up to the final scene are the last moments of Harvey and Two-Face is all that remains.
During The Joker infamous speech while hanging, he says:
"I took Gotham's White Knight and brought him down to our level. It wasn't hard. Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!"
Fearing the worst, Batman rushes to find Two-Face threatening Commissioner Gordon's son. In a twist of Russian Roulette, Two-Face points the gun "at those responsible" for the death of Ms. Dawes. After flipping the coin, Batman isn't so lucky and is hit with a bullet from Two-Face's revolver. Two-Face isn't at fault, nor is Commission Gordon (or his son) as the coin lands heads for the both of them. Before Gordon's son is truly exempt, Batman pushes Two-Face and his captive off the edge. Two-Face lies without movement and his eyes are sightless, DEAD. Batman, after returning Gordon's son to his father, has also fallen. He is the enemy Gotham now faces, though not the villain Two-Face or The Joker were, he is the common antagonist the city can rally against.
Even with Eckhart's recent comments (or lack thereof), there is little room for Two-Face in the next installment of Batman. Although I once believed there was room for him as a puppet master of sorts, pulling the strings of a horde of villains, it is more fitting for him to have died here. The act of pushing his once ally and last hope at a normal life to his final resting place will undoubtedly be burned in his memories, haunting the masked vigilante. Batman will always stand between enemies and the citizens of Gotham, in his endless caped crusade.
Besides, wouldn't you prefer a new villain anyway? Isn't that what Nolan did after Batman Begins?
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