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Is Two-Face Really Dead?

Baxter
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Posted January 13, 2009 - By Joseph Baxter

In a recent red carpet interview with MTV, actor Aaron Eckhart made some comments that were provocative enough to get the geek blogosphere riled up. What did he say? He implied a remote possibility that his character in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, may still be alive! Until now, Eckhart had been adamant in interviews that Two-Face was indeed dead...case closed. Well, in this interview, he makes the following remarks:

“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.”

While it may seem like conjecture that a message implying that Two-Face is coming back, as well as over-analyzing what at best, was a loose anecdote, it is a far cry from Eckhart's past comments that were clear and unambiguous in his insistence that Two-Face has bitten the dust. That is not to say that Aaron had some super-secret meeting with TDK director, Christopher Nolan where they hammered out an appearance in part three. However, I think it is reflective of a change in Eckhart's view of a possible return due to the film's enormous critical and financial success. When it comes to films, you should never say never.

(Warning: Spoiler Talk Ahead)

Let's look at this from a storyline perspective. The Dark Knight ended with Batman taking the blame for Two-Face's crimes  so that Gotham could enjoy the hope and optimism of having their crusading District Attorney Harvey Dent remain with them as a martyr. Batman became more of a hero to us since he sacrificed his own reputation and forced to place his own true heroics into hiding because the "myth" of Harvey Dent better served the greater good. (Coincidentally, what 19th century philosopher, Kierkegaard might have referred to as a "Knight of Faith.") The fact remains that going into the third film, Batman will be treated as a criminal by everyone and anyone (especially, due to his gal pal Rachel being gone and Gordon unable to be of much help.) How will he be cleared? Having Two-Face come back to fight another day would be the most ideal way for this to happen.

If you want to argue the logistics of his "death" with the fall he took...please. Eckhart himself could have made the case when he brought up the idea of a coma. Gordon may have kept him alive in secret...you get the idea. Another possibility is that in the Batman universe, no one has to be truly "dead."(Jason Todd, anyone?) Even Liam Neeson's character in Batman Begins, Ra's Al Ghul, is not beyond the possibility of a resurrection. Anyone familiar with the comics (or even the animated series from the 90's) knows that Ra's Al Ghul has access to the Lazarus Pits which not only prolong life, but heal the dying and even resurrect the dead. One loyal thug is all it takes to haul 'ole Ra's back home for a "clinic visit." What better way for Ra's to get back at Bruce than to destroy his plans of Harvey's martyrdom and bring the demented Two-Face back from the dead? (And let us just say he refused to let them heal his face.)

One brilliant touch in The Dark Knight was the cameo in which Cillian Murphy returned as the Scarecrow. Unlike past versions, these current Batman films do not give into the creative vanity of "wrapping things up neatly" by killing off the film's main villain at the end. This new method implies that in the films, there is a single "universe" in which Batman repeatedly battles his villains time after time. Batman easily foils Scarecrow's plot and moves along with things. It does not look like it was the first time it happened since the last film, and definitely will not be the last. That is the beauty of this idea. Moreover, it is the very essence of a comic book superhero that previous outings never quite understood. Even the Joker's "you complete me" speech at the end of the film implies a similar theme. So why should Two-Face be any different in that regard? Come on, Aaron Eckhart, at least do a cameo and give us back our "universe."

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