Largely inspired by 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' (see previous post), and this article on TotalFilm.com (http://www.totalfilm.com/features/why-christopher-nolan-must-recast-batman), I'm offering my thoughts on potential ideas for the film. Yes, I know, it was all done after the release of The Dark Knight, so I'm probably retreading ground that has been crushed under foot already, but hey, the internet can never have too many fanboys geeking out, can it?
I disagree with the article I linked to, but I'll take part in the game: who would be a good replacement for Christian Bale? I'd personally shoot for Matt Damon. The Bourne films have shown that he's got the action man credentials for the role, although I'm not sure how well he'd play the part of Bruce Wayne. He's been in the Ocean films, playing, if I recall correctly, a fairly similar kind of character, but I could well be wrong on that score. You could of course go the Superman Returns route, and get a total unknown, but I can't see that happening... Of course, this part of the debate is largely moot, I'm just playing devil's advocate.
My real basis for this blog is a potential villain. Obviously, they aren't going to recast the Joker anytime soon; it's too soon after Heath Ledger's death, and his take on the character still too fresh. They can't do Two-Face, because he's dead. If they follow comic continuity, they could bring Ra's al Ghul back, but Lazarus Pits probably wouldn't fit with the more realistic tone of the film.
So, assuming they go for a main villain, rather than one of the more obscure ones, who to have? They could bring Scarecrow back - his quick cameo in The Dark Knight suggests an affection for the character, and he is a potent villain, but is he enough to carry the film by himself? There certainly isn't the scope for massive action scenes with him. What about other villains from the comics?
The Penguin? He is essentially a mob boss with a bird fixation, but that's hardly a good fit for the tone of the films so far. Take away the birds, and you've just got a mob boss, and there are plenty of those in the films anyway.
The Riddler? Possible - he's been played as a private detective obsessed with Batman before, so that could work here. But the essential quirkiness of the character might place him too close to the Joker.
Catwoman seems obvious, but as a thief, is not really enough of a villain to carry the film on her own. She would be a good secondary villain though, as well as a replacement for Rachel as love interest.
Bane? He's probably done the most physical damge to Batman, breaking his back - but could they introduce him, have him cause chaos, then have Batman recover in time to beat him, in a decent running time? He is also, essentially, a super strong brawler. His original tactic was to destroy half of Arkham Asylum to let other supervillains free, but this would, again, be problematic in a film.
The Mad Hatter wouldn't fit with the tone of the film universe, unless they played up the paedophilic overtones that some writers have incorporated - but again, that's not really a Batman film villain. There isn't much of a threat with that, creepy and wrong though it is.
Clayface? Well, he can be lumped in with Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Mr Freeze and the Ventroloquist as not fitting the tone of the movies. They would never use him. Harley Quinn can also be thrown into this group, with the added disadvantage that she is rarely seen without the Joker.
Poison Ivy could be done, if they used the template from the animated series: an eco-terrorist who uses plants to make poisons, rather than a woman who is half plant. I actually think there's a lot of potential here, given her gift for making airborne toxins.
And that's all of the big names, although the central villain list on wikipedia gives several more entries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Batman_enemies) Many of them simply wouldn't fit the tone of the films though - one of the big problems with Christopher Nolan's films is that they try to make Batman as realistic as possible. It's worked so far, but we're talking about a character who dresses like a bat, and his villains reflect that.
However, I think there are a few possibilites. The first is Mr Zsasz, an exceptionally skilled, knife-wielding serial killer. While he might not be enough to prop up the film by himself, I think there's a lot of milage in such a character - he's certainly a psychopath, dangerous, and enough of a physical threat to supply good action scenes.
Black Mask is another possibility - another mob boss, but hideously burned, and much more sociopathic than the gangsters we've seen so far.
Firefly could work, although potentially under a different name. A pyromaniac, armed with a flamethrower, would be a good brawn to another criminals brain.
But my main choice from the second tier? Thomas Elliott, aka Hush. The man who came very close to breaking Batman, who beat the Joker to a pulp, and who cut out Catwoman's heart, before surgically altering himself to look like Bruce Wayne. He may be a little complex for one film to portray successfully, but I think they could pull it off well.
What do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I in fact insane?