If there is one thing that summer gave to fall in 2008, it was the gift of casting rumors. The late-July release of The Dark Knight and its subsequent historic box office run has paved the way to what can only be described as a avalanche of speculation that has rained down upon the internet, and has been greeted by thunderous outcries from fanboy and fangirl alike.

And while we’ve seen just about everything we thought we’d never see — from Cher as Catwoman to Milo Ventamiglia as Robin — the folks at Warner Bros. continue to remind us that Christopher Nolan hasn’t even decided to do another movie, let alone choose cast for one. But as always, that could change on a dime — especially if loose-lipped executives continue to chat with the equally loose-lipped Michael Caine. Caine told MTV News that he’s had conversations with higher-ups about the next film, and that they’ve already got some plans laid out:

“I was with [a Warner Bros.] executive and I said, ‘Are we going to make another one?’ They said yeah. I said, ‘How the hell are we going to top Heath? And he says ‘I’ll tell you how you top Heath — Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin.’ I said, ‘S–t, they’ve done it again!’” [Laughs]

Johnny DeppAs the article over at MTV points out, the rumors around Johnny Depp and Philip Seymour Hoffman have been hot topics around the next Batman film for some time, emerging not too long after The Dark Knight was released. So far, these are the only casting rumors that have endured to the point of having a principal cast member talk about them — as Caine just did.

That said, it wouldn’t be prudent for fans to get their hopes up too much, as no official word has come down the pipe that the movie is even happening. And no matter how illogical it would be for WB or Chris Nolan to pass on the opportunity to continue the series, we can’t rule that out as a possibility. Having said that, the prospect of adding talent like Depp and Hoffman to a franchise that is already at the top of its game would be a great move, no matter the direction they choose to take with the characters. In a franchise that has been built on putting great talent in places where we may not have expected to see them, these two seem to be very plausible moves — that is, if they turn out to be true.

What do you think about Michael Caine’s comments — is he just feeding the rumor machine, or is he giving us some valuable insight?

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