Countdown Begins: “Dark Knight” Sequel Has A Release Date

It was widely assumed that director Christopher Nolan would begin making a new Batman movie (Call it Batman 2.3) some time after finishing “Inception,” due to be released this summer. But that was never a given. In fact, the movie still hasn’t been officially greenlit, which makes me nervous given all the recent proposed sequels (“Anchorman”) that have been stymied of late. And yet… we now have a date. Oh, yes we do. Put on your dorkiest Joker makeup and go camp outside the Regal Cinema now, because a sequel to “The Dark Knight” is coming in 2012. THE MAYANS FORETOLD IT. Variety has the details and, for once, no annoying pay wall:

Though it has yet to be greenlit, Warner Bros. has set the next Batpic for July 20, 2012.

Studio disclosed Friday the opening date for "Batman 3," the third Batman pic directed by Christopher Nolan…

David Goyer is working with Nolan's brother Jonathan Nolan on a script for the next Batman installment, based on an idea from Christopher Nolan.

Omigod! Omigod it’s sooo going to happen now. I don’t even know how I should feel. It’s over two years away. I’m excited! I’m sad Heath can’t be in it. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I’m impatient. I’m elated! I’M TALKING IN A COMICALLY DEEP VOICE WHILE WEARING A COWL. It’s a bit much for me to process right now.

You won’t get any story details from Nolan between now and that release date. There will only be two crucial blanks we’ll get to fill in over the next two years: 1) Who will the villain(s) be? and 2) Who will play him/her/them? This makes me nervous, because both the character of the Joker and Ledger’s portrayal are impossible to match. That kind of cosmic alchemy only comes around once a century or so, and it won’t be duplicated again.

There are plenty of directions to go in: Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze (oh dear God no). None of them are terribly attractive, but there are few directors out there who engender the kind of blind faith Chris Nolan does. Perhaps he’ll trot out a new villain, or an obscure one (as he did with his first Batman movie). He’s all but certain to attract a top-level name for the job. My only hope is that this third Nolan Batman keeps it to a single villain. Both Nolan Batman movies have had two main villains, and both (WARNING: blasphemy ahead) felt overstuffed to me. I’d like time to focus on just one totally awesome villain. I don’t need Two Face thrown in there for good measure. Gimme Johnny Depp as one of the villains and blow my skull in under 2 hours. I’ll be a happy man.

7/20/12. Put it in your Filofox, kids.

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