I’m actually quite surprised by the fact that we made it through the release of Inception without the expected deluge of rumors about where director Christopher Nolan will next steer the Batman franchise. The chatter was moderate, to say the least. But Comic-Con 2010 is another story. As the world of geekdom converges on San Diego for a weekend of comics and debauchery, we get our first big rumor about the inevitable sequel to The Dark Knight. Sadly, it’s one we’ve heard before.

First Showing is reporting that one of their inside sources has already seen a casting grid for the film that includes the expected villain and several “interested” parties. The villain: The Riddler. The most notable interested party: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of the stars of Nolan’s recently released Inception.

I would urge all of you to keep two things in mind: one being that the script is not done yet, and the other being that this could very well be someone trying to position Gordon-Levitt as a candidate. It’s also important to key in on the word “interested.” What actor wouldn’t be interested in playing the villain in Nolan’s next Batman? People have won Oscars for similar roles in this franchise. Nolan and team are simply that good at assembling a script and crafting a film around its cast that the performer is free to give the character everything they’ve got. It’s a no-brainer.

I doubt that we’ll here much more about Batman 3 for a few months, seeing as Nolan is probably taking a post-Inception vacation. But once he gets back into the swing of it, I’m sure we’ll be winding up that old rumor mill at breakneck speeds once again.

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