It would appear as if Warner Bros. has their man. They’ve announced today that Christopher Nolan will return to his Batman franchise and churn out a third film — currently under the working title Batman 3 — for release in July 2012. Right before the world is scheduled to end. At least the legions of geekdom will die happy.

The studio is in the early stages of developing the movie, they said today, as Nolan is currently in post-production on his latest film, Inception. It is likely, however, that more details will begin to emerge closer to the release date of Inception, which hits theaters on July 16. Batman 3 is due to hit theaters on July 20, 2012, solidifying that second to last weekend in July as Chris Nolan’s neighborhood. When The Dark Knight opened on July 18, 2008, it opened to the tune of $158 million dollars in its opening weekend, going on to earn over $1 billion dollars worldwide in its theatrical run. Inception — while not expected to be quite so high — should also play well in that spot.

This announcement only heightens the anticipation for Summer 2012, which will now see Marvel’s The Avengers (May 4), the sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (June 29) and the new Spider-Man reboot (July 3). It makes for perhaps the most exciting summer movie season in history — a sort of geek euphoria right before the end of the world. It makes sense, after all.

For Nolan, the pressure is now on. He and David Goyer will be working on the story they want to tell, and they will be tasked with delivering a sequel to perhaps one of the best sequels since The Godfather II.

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