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Any Bat-movie news in 2006?
Author: Cary Ashby
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The biggest fanboy buzz for 2006 has easily been about "X-Men 3," "Superman Returns" and even how the first blond James Bond, Daniel Craig, will do in "Casino Royale." We here at BOF have been keeping track of rumors attached to something called the 2008 “Batman Begins” sequel.

At the beginning of the year it's natural to make predictions, so I am willing to go on the record with some sequel predictions:

• I'll start with an item I haven't heard anyone mention in conversation or on the Internet, but it seems the most obvious: The most exciting “Begins” sequel news would be director Chris Nolan and screenwriter David Goyer saying they plan to include The Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn, in the storyline.

It seems natural, given that Harley Quinn's immense popularity in "Batman: The Animated Series" eventually led to DC Comics making Harley part of the current comic book continuity. Before this thing called "Batman Begins" came to fruition, keep in mind Harley was rumored to be one of two villains in "Batman 5." We've already seen The Scarecrow in what became "Begins," why not the everly perky, yet dangerous Harley Quinn in the follow-up?

Even if Harley doesn't make the cut for the sequel, we could see her in the third film. Psychologist Harleen Quinzel could fall in love with or be seduced by The Joker after he's put behind bars by Batman, Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent.

Harley Quinn is a natural fit in the "Begins" universe. You heard it here first.

This begs the question of who should play Harley? Jenny McCarthy would be a natural fit, given her outrageous personality, but actresses with more "street credibility" such as Reese Witherspoon or Kirsten Dunst would work. Both actresses might be too mainstream for someone like Nolan, who prefers equally talented actors/actresses who remain "under the Hollywood radar." That's certainly the case with Witherspoon, who probably will walk away with the Oscar for Best Actress for the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line."

• Nolan might finally announce the sequel's title, along with what actor will play The Joker. Internet rumors have attached Crispin Glover, Johnny Depp, Christopher Eccleston, Adrian Brody, Tim Roth, Sam Rockwell, Lachy Hulme and Paul Bettany to the role.

• Although 2006 might be too early for Nolan or Goyer to reveal a title — much less who will play The Joker — (Warner Bros. kept the title “Batman Begins” under wraps for months), fans will at least hear when filming will start. Nolan, Christian Bale and Michael Caine will have plenty of time to brainstorm about the sequel while they film Nolan's "The Prestige" (also starring Hugh Jackman, David Bowie and possibly Scarlett Johanssen) in the winter and spring. Nolan has all but confirmed to the media he will work on the "Begins" sequel after the thriller about two competitive magicians (Bale and Jackman).

• We might even hear: The next two movies will be filmed back-to-back (similar to “The Matrix” and “Pirates of the Carribbean” follow-ups); who will play District Attorney Harvey Dent (fated to become Two-Face in the third film); and confirmation if The Penguin will have a small role in the second one. Bob Hoskins and Philip Seymour Hoffman have been the two names thrown around for the Oswald Cobblepot part.

2006 might be a slow news year for "Batman Begins" fans, but don't count on it

BOF contributor Cary Ashby writes a twice-monthly comic book column for the "Norwalk Reflector." He is the newspaper’s crime reporter. Cary has an extensive collection of Batman comics and has been an avid fan for nearly 30 years. He can be reached via e-mail at ashby@goreflector.com.

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