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Meet Batman’s new enemies

Photo Illustration by Ryan Book, Photo Courtesy of MCT

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No name is too big for Christopher Nolan.

Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that Anne Hathaway will be playing Selina Kyle in Nolan’s third Batman flick, “The Dark Knight Rises,” set for release July 20, 2012. Tom Hardy, who has long been confirmed to be in the film, will  play the villainous Bane.

Though the announcement answers a few key questions about the film, it raises others. Interestingly, the press release from Warner Bros. makes no mention of Catwoman, Selina Kyle’s alter ego. Will we even see Catwoman? If so, how much will we see? Catwoman straddled the line between friend and foe in the comics; what treatment will Nolan & Co. give her in this flick?

The casting of Hathaway might be a bit of a head-scratcher at first, but remember a few years back when some guy, also with little action experience, was cast to be Joker? I think Heath Ledger ended up doing pretty well with the gig.

Then there’s Bane, one of the lesser-known Batman villains. In the comics, Bane develops superhuman strength — a quality not really seen in Nolan’s Bat-universe yet — after a series of medical experiments conducted on him with the drug Venom. Bane sporadically worked with Batman to take town drug lords, though his claim to fame is severing Batman’s spinal cord, forcing him to retire. It’s hard to see the latter panning out in the film, though it would provide a shocking end to Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

It should come as no surprise for those following the development of this film that this casting announcement all but puts to bed rumors that The Riddler would be in the film. Why attempt to try and top what Ledger did as Joker in “The Dark Knight?” Ledger set the bar so high there’s no use attempting to try and reach it.

Regardless of what routes Nolan takes his characters, the man deserves three thumbs up for his casting. His last few films have been stacked, and this one, so far, is no different. Add Hathaway and the up-and-coming Hardy to a roster already consisting of Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine, and you end up with a bill the Yankees would be jealous of.

And we’re not done yet. There are still rumors circulating the Internet about other roles. Eva Green, Naomi Watts, Keira Knightley, Jessica Biel and Gemma Arterton are all rumored to be up for roles, possibly including that of Talia al Ghul, daughter of the fallen Ra’s al Ghul from “Batman Begins,” and love interest Vicki Vale.

Nolan is a secretive director, so we shouldn’t anticipate answers to some of these story questions any time soon, barring any sort of major leak. But what we do know is that Nolan is raking in A-listers, and factor in that he’s also a pretty decent filmmaker, it shouldn’t be too much to expect “The Dark Knight Rises” to be anything but a rousing final chapter in his incredibly successful Batman series.

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