Batman: The Dark Knight casting round-up

There is, surely, no film on the planet that we should be looking forward to more than the Batman Begins sequel. We find out what's what with The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger as The Joker. It might just work...

The sod is that we’ve still got a year to wait.

With release not due until July of next year, 2008’s most-eagerly awaited blockbuster (sorry, Indy) is shaping up already to be something to salivate over. Because who can beat The Dark Knight?

There are, of cvourse, several reasons for this. Firstly, Batman Begins was flat-out superb, and arguably the best comic book/superhero movie of all time. Secondly, director Christopher Nolan is back in the chair (having fitted in The Prestige inbetween), and Christian Bale is back in the Batsuit. So far, so fecking great.

The film will, as you probably know, pick up from the thread left at the end of Batman Begins, and focus on The Joker, now played by Heath Ledger. Early photos point to a more screwed-up take on the classic villain than Jack Nicholson memorably delivered in Tim Burton’s original Batman movie.

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On top of that, Aaron Eckhart is Harvey Dent, and by our money the third person to play him in the Batman movies (after Lando from Star Wars and Tommy Lee Jones). There are strong rumours, which have been all but confirmed, that he will turn into Harvey Two-Face by the end of the film. Whether this becomes an integral piece of The Dark Knight, or a set up for a further sequel (Batman Begins started the process of layering threads that can move through many movies) remains to be seen.

The rest of the cast? Well, Katie Holmes has moved on to have more sex with Tom Cruise or something, so Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces arguably the only weak link of Batman Begins as Rachel Dawes. Cillian Murphy is rumoured to reappear, while Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine have already signed on the dotted. Eric Roberts is in the casting mix too, and there are rumours that Oswald Cobblepot may make an appearance, as a setup for a future Batman movie based around The Penguin.

In all, there’s much to be excited about here. We. Can. Not. Wait.