Sure there's been plenty of speculation, including a list of names that Nolan was rumored to be meeting with over the two female leads, one of which is said to be a villain. But with a May start date fast approaching, things are likely to firm up sooner rather than later, particularly with Variety writer David S. Cohen tweeting over the weekend that "Chris Nolan told me his The Dark Knight Rises script is due Monday or he's in big trouble."
Cohen jokes "Big trouble? What can they do? Fire him?," but while this is obviously unlikely, some severe lateness clauses are built into Nolan's contract. If the director doesn't deliver a first draft today, Warners have the right to move the currently-under-construction ten-meter-tall platinum statue of Nolan so that it faces east, rather than west, to force him to attend a test screening of "Green Lantern," to unleash the Animaniacs in his office, to cancel his upcoming guest appearance on "The Big Bang Theory," and to revoke his Emma Thomas privileges.
So really, the stakes are pretty high, and we're sure Nolan is just wrapping up a cigarette & whiskey-fueled all-night writing session to finish it up as we speak. Us too, Chris. Us too. While we wait for further news, reports did come in over the weekend of a possible plotline, as Ain't It Cool reported that a source had told them that Nolan is using the "Prey" storyline from the comic books as the basis for the script.
That plotline, published in the early 1990s, served as a sequel to Frank Miller's seminal "Batman: Year One," and features a Batman on the run from the police, battling evil psychiatrist Dr. Hugo Strange, while encountering Catwoman for the first time. It certainly makes sense, with two villains, one of whom is a woman, being rumored. We didn't include Strange as one of our candidates to be the villain, partly because his mind control abilities seemed a little incongruous with Nolan's realistic universe, and partly because of his great big mutton-chop-sideburns (Also? He's called Dr. Hugo. STRANGE), but we suppose it seems plausible enough.
However, Nolan's yet to adapt a comic book storyline directly, and he's unlikely to start here -- if there are similarities with "Prey," expect it to deviate from the source material heavily. Even then, it seems a little thin -- even Ain't It Cool don't seem entirely behind the report, and this isn't the first time in recent memory that the rumor's done the rounds. As relatively leak-proof as Nolan's camp is, we imagine that with the script beginning to do the rounds, something more concrete will come out in the next few weeks, particularly if there's more movement on casting. "The Dark Knight Rises" hits theaters on July 20, 2012.