The Dark Knight Rises
is the title of the next Batman film by Christopher Nolan, co-writer and director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, based on the classic DC Comics superhero. The news broke this morning in the Los Angeles Times' Heat Vision blog, where the auteur also confirmed that Edward Nygma a.k.a. The Riddler will not appear in the film, contrary to popular speculation. Perhaps most auspiciously, Nolan, whose credibility on the issue is unimpeachable in the wake of the gorgeous Inception, happily announced that Warner Bros. has agreed to shoot The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX and other photographically superior formats rather than with visually compromising yet increasingly popular stereoscopic (or 3D) technology."We'll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we'll be introducing some new ones," Nolan told Hero Complex's Geoff Boucher, who wondered if Nolan would defy conventional wisdom and introduce an original villain to the franchise, rather than pulling one from DC Comics' enormous Batman canon. The filmmaker was characteristically evasive, but it's been confirmed that Inception's Tom Hardy has been cast in an unannounced part, and that Nolan is auditioning female performers for an unspecified role in The Dark Knight Rises. Naturally, most people suspect the film's female lead to be Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman.

In any case, it's safe to assume that Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman will return to their supporting roles from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It seems reasonable that Cillian Murphy will also return as The Scarecrow, given his status as something of a Nolan company player, having appeared in both of the director's Batman films as well as Inception.

Released in 2008, The Dark Knight was one of the decade's best reviewed films and became the second-highest-grossing movie ever, behind Titanic. Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for his performance as The Joker.

The Dark Knight Rises is scheduled to open July 20, 2012.

[Via Heat Vision]