Batman 3: 18 Possible Plots

Batman 3 needs a villain. Here's eighteen...

Batman 3: The Scarred Knight

Villain : Victor Zsasz.

Why? Because stab-happy serial killer Zsasz had a pop-up cameo early on in Begins , and was revealed to be on the loose after escaping Arkham during the promo push for Dark Knight . Makes sense, in other words.

Showdown Scene: Since Zsasz likes to carve his murder tally on his own body, we'd like to see him get his ironic comeuppance for a mass slaughter by essentially being shredded alive by the Joker in a massive final act twist.

One notch per victim, multiplied by several hundred, resulting in Zsasz looking like a plate of pulled pork in the eeire glow of the Bat-Signal. Nice.

Batman 3: Bat-Hunt Begins

Villain : Gotham City Police Department.

Why? Because Dark Knight saw Gordon reluctantly agree to let Batman take the heat for Harvey Dent/Two-Face's killings, in order to minimise the evident impact of The Joker's actions on the soul of Gotham.

Gordon must now mount a city-wide Bat-hunt for appearance's sake, but something tells us it may develop into something real along the way...

Showdown Scene: Gordon finds himself trapped, before a crowd of onlookers, between Batman and a genuine villain. He must make a decision - get saved and expose his anti-Bat campaign as fake, or allow himself to be abducted by the bad guy..

Batman 3: The Dark Fight

Villain : Killer Croc.

Why? Well, it'd be faintly amusing, and there's definitely something to be said for mutated villains in general. Especially ones that used to be wrestlers.

Mind you, it's really hard to imagine such a necessarily CGI-tastic baddie popping in Nolan's grittily real-world Gotham without looking like a rubber chicken thrown onstage during a production of Waiting For Godot .

Showdown Scene: Oh God, we've just realised how Steve Irwin this could all end up looking. Because it would have to involve wrestling, wouldn't it? Which, frankly, just isn't distant enough from this for comfort.

Batman 3: The Black Knight

Villain: The Black Mask.

Why? Because he's a stone-cold awesome vilain (his mask was originally made from a slab of his mum's ebony coffin lid), and his story arc has reached a fascinating point.

We don't actually know the identity of the current Black Mask, but all indications suggest it's about to be revealed as someone close to Batman.

Showdown Scene: This incarnation of Black Mask is increasingly interested in the potential for drugs - recreational or enforced - as a way to exert control over allies and foes alike. Therefore, we imagine something of a meth lab manhunt climax: a plot strand more or less ripped from GTA: San Andreas , then.

Batman 3: The Lazarus Pit

Villain: Talia Al Ghul.

Why? Well, obviously there's the opportunity to shoehorn in some easy eye candy, but we'd never lower the tone enough to point this out. Cough.

She's in a perfect position to emerge seeking vengeance for her father's apparent train-smash demise in Begins , though, and there's some nice conflict potential offered by the number of times the DC universe has seen Batman saving/being saved by/ nearly boning her.

Showdown Scene: We'd like to imagine a scenario involving all three of the above, although that's gonna be tough to script at best. Any ideas? (Note: no '70s Bond buffoonery, ta.)

Batman 3: The Hat Trick

Villain: The Mad Hatter.

Why? Mostly because we've been thinking a lot about Tim Burton's new one, to be honest. Also, he appears in Dark Knight inspiration graphic classic Arkham Asylum.

He's actually a great character for the Nolan world, though: play down his cartoonish side, and you're left with a delusional schizophrenic who may or may not be a paedophile. Gritty enough?

Showdown Scene: Since the DC universe once introduced an imposter Mad Hatter while the real thing was locked up in Arkham, we'd like to see a classic 'which one do I kill?!' climax, with Batman forced to choose between destroying the actual villain or a misguided but ultimately innocent lookalike.

Batman 3: The Dark Deacon

Villain: Deacon Blackfire.

Why? Also a plausible Nolan baddie: an ageing cult leader, plucking an army of brainwashed homeless from the Gotham gutters. Dark, grimy and definitely doable - particularly if the plot was thickened with some creepy Heaven's Gate -type wackiness.

Showdown Scene: How about Blackfire orchestrating a mass suicide among his followers as a lure for Batman and his do-goodery? Should make for an intense, against-the-doomsday-clock finale...

Batman 3: Terror Forever

Villain: Anarky.

Why? The overtly socio-political and philosophical aspect of the character makes him a potentially very meaty one for the Nolan world.

Anarky is essentially a misguided maverick who believes that violence is a justifiable means of weakening the state. When a state is as corrupt as Gotham, where does Batman stand?

Showdown Scene: It'd be cool to see the Caped Crusader hamstrung by his own moral convictions here, even initially siding with Anarky, realising only too late that the latter's plans were far more destructive than previously suggested.

Perhaps some kind of United 93 -type climax...?

Batman 3: Strange Days

Villiain: Dr Hugo Strange.

Why? His monstrous creations could work if portrayed as the genuinely wretched results of a gene-splicing God wannabe, rather than as drooling supersized rage machines.

Plus, Strange has known Batman longer than both Catwoman and The Joker, so he's well placed to cause some serious grief.

Showdown Scene: A cat-and-mouse chase amid the arcane machinery and bubbling toxins of Strange's nauseating genetics lab.

The demented doctor's twisted drones initially thwart our hero's progress, but ultimately turn on their creator after seeing themselves by the light of the Bat-Signal.

Batman 3: The Dark Knight 2

Villain: Two-Face.

Why? We've already seen a fair amount of old multi-mug since the Nolan reboot, and he was perfectly positioned to develop as an A-grade antagonist at the end of Dark Knight .

Well, except for the whole dying thing - we'll need a way out of that conceptual cul-de-sac. Police cover-up, anyone?

Showdown Scene: A scenario that tugs hard on what remains of Harvey Dent's heartstrings - we like the idea of Two-Face finally accepting The Joker's responsibility for Rachel Dawes dying.

Seeking revenge on the incarcerated prankster, he goes after Harley Quinn: Batman must decide which outcome represents the lesser of two evils.