Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight has returned and no mistake. Christopher Nolan’s searing resurrection did indeed give the Bat his balls back, with Christian Bale the stormy, centre of a new franchise. So who’s back for more? Nolan, for one, is happy to wait a while. “I enjoyed making this film very much, so I’d be open to it,” he told Total Film. “But I wouldn’t want to jump into it straight away.” We’ll see what happens once Warners starts waving a huge cheque at him. And the cast? All signed. All but one. Looks like Gotham City will have to do without Katie Holmes’ Rachel Dawes. Although official sources refuse to confirm that it’s down to the Tom Cruise Media Circus™... And in any case, we’ll still have Batman.

“If people embrace this movie then it’s something I’m more than happy to come back for,” says Bale, with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman revealing that they’ve both signed for any follow-up. Begins hints heavily that The Joker will be the next villain and scripter David Goyer is already on record as saying he had an outline for a trilogy before he finished working on the first script. Current hot favourites for the role? Well, none other than Brit thesp Paul Bettany has emerged as a surprise contender to play the killer clown. His competition are Aussie actor Lachy Hulme and the wizard of Weird, Crispin Glover. Rumours surrounding ex-Jedi Mark Hamill, who voices Joker in the cartoon, are apparently tosh.

But get this: gossip-mag natter is that Christian Bale, pissed-up at the Begins première party, let slip that Sean Penn is in talks for the role. Now you can really get excited...

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