It's certainly been a mixed bag of reactions towards the recent rumor alleging that the late Heath Ledger's Joker would resurface in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises using cut footage. What could be seen as a powerful tribute to one, may be seen as another exploitation moment to another. Well, if we were to take the word of the latest report from MovieHole: "It's just not real." According to a contact identified as being a Warner insider, the rumor in question likely stems from nearly five year-old old plans that were legitimately in place to have the Joker appear in Nolan's third film. The scene allegedly would have had an incarcerated Joker reluctantly helping Batman with info in sort of a Silence of the Lambs-type context to stop Two-Face. However, Ledger's passing notwithstanding, Aaron Eckhart's Two-Face character took a nasty plunge at the end of The Dark Knight and is presumed dead. The rumor's legitimacy is therefore looking less likely. Of course, Batman rumors being as prevalent as they are, it seems that the debunking report also had some rumors of its own to contribute to the ever-churning mills. What, you ask? Well, what if I told you that after Nolan bows out of the Bat-franchise after this film, Warner has plans to take the Caped Crusader to Metropolis?
Yes, in shooting-down the Heath Ledger rumor, we simultaneously got the return of the ever-enduring rumor of the Batman/Superman live-action film. After The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan will be gone, as will, in all likelihood, Christian Bale (and the wad of sandpaper that he keeps in his trachea when he's Batman.) If Warner can finally make this legendary rivalry/team-up a big-screen reality, even with the loss of the Bat-trilogy team, it would be one of the most bankable films ever conceived. It certainly would be interesting to see if they would try to continue the style and canon of the Nolan films after his departure. Such a move certainly wouldn't be unprecedented with the transition from Burton to Schumacher in the last set of Bat-films. However, with Zack Snyder's franchise reboot Superman: Man of Steel (for which Christopher Nolan is serving as producer) set to hit theaters in December 2012, just five months after Rises, it's easy to imagine these franchises complementing each other to the point where they merge.
Can you imagine? Batman and Superman putting their differences aside, forced to work together to stop --- let's just say...Brainiac from turning Metropolis and Gotham into -- let's just say...giant plasma bombs -- or something like that. Regardless, if the script is even halfway decent, it's a guaranteed winner.
So, what's your take on the Ledger rumor's viability, now? Do you think a Batman/Superman film is something that will ever be a reality?
*Update: Nolan has now confirmed the BS-ness of the Ledger rumor.