Okay, so a few months back, I read an interesting article at Entertainment Weekly's website, one that speculated about who the villain for the third installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, namely The Dark Knight Rises. There were some really interesting possibilities (Superman? Could be fun).
But then the rumor mill started churning. Apparently the scuttlebutt was that the villain would be Dr. Hugo Strange and that the movie would be based on Prey. I've never read it, but from what I was was hearing, it would be a pretty awesome story: a rogue police psychiatrist goes to war with Batman, having figured out his true identity. It would fit perfectly with the way The Dark Knight ended, with Batman on the run after supposedly killed Harvey "Two Face" Dent.
But hang on a sec. This past Sunday, Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly pointed out that the speculation about Hugo Strange as the adversary of The Dark Knight Rises seemed to be really close to the apparent plot of up-coming video game Batman: Arkham City. Just check out my post from yesterday with the game trailer. Pointy-bearded Strange (who has cracked Batman's secret identity), the elite squad of police/soldiers hunting for the Dark Knight? Jensen wonders if maybe the rumor mill got their wires crossed. Or if we'll see two very different renditions of the same story.
Well, I was feeling a bit speculative myself and I decided to write a "treatment" of how I would plot out the final Nolan movie. I'm stealing from the original EW article a little and also borrowing from my brother-in-law Chris, who knows his comic books a whole lot better than me. SO here we go:
The Dark Knight Rises opens where the previous film left off, with the Batman on the run. Gotham City has turned against him, but in many ways, Batman doesn't mind. He is still lurking in the shadows, doing his best to take out criminals.
Only he's run into a small problem. Remember those counterfeit Batmen from The Dark Knight? The ones who were "inspired" by Batman but resorted to guns and such? Well, one of them tried to emulate his hero moreso than the others, eschewing firearms and sticking to his martial arts training. Well, this "best of the Batmen" feels betrayed by his hero's fall from grace. In an on-line video, he renounces his cape and cowl, adopting the new persona of "Nightwing." Several times, Nightwing and Batman cross paths, Nightwing making it clear that he's going to take Batman down.
But things only get worse, because the new mayor of Gotham City doesn't think that Commissioner Gordon is doing enough to bring in Batman. So he makes a private arrangement with a powerful mercenary, namely Bane. Bane approaches Nightwing to see if the young vigilante will team up with him so they can "break" Batman. Nightwing agrees, which turns out to be a mistake.
Bane, you see, is using his position as the mayor's muscle to unite Gotham's criminal element under his own ruthless leadership. He uses Nightwing to "discipline" those who oppose him. Eventually Nightwing sees the error of his ways (thanks, in part, to Batman) and they join forces to stop Bane before he can completely take control of Gotham from the underground up.
Of course, the problem is that Batman is still being hunted by the cops and he now faces Bane's army as well. But in the end, Batman and Nightwing take out Bane in a public way, proving to the public that Batman has always been on the side of good. Nightwing admits that he was wrong to judge Batman and leaves town, leaving the Dark Knight to keep his city safe.
Or, since Christian Bale has made this clear that this is his final movie, it could be an interesting twist if they went the Knightfall route and had Bane break Batman over his knee, forcing Bruce Wayne to retire and officially hand over the mantle of Dark Knight to Nightwing, allowing a new Knight to rise.
Now naturally, I'm just spinning this story as I see fit. I also wouldn't mind seeing Clayface replace Bane in my story (not the shapeshifting version, but as a veteran master-of-disguise), sewing tension by impersonating Batman and committing crimes. And, of course, if the movie turns out to have Dr. Hugo Strange, that'd be cool too. I just felt like sharing, that's all.