Warner Bros. Apparently Wanted Leonardo DiCaprio As The Riddler In 'Dark Knight Rises' Early On

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by Edward Davis
June 3, 2012 1:14 PM
23 Comments
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It's interesting how the narrative changes. After the monumental success of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan clearly needed a break and a palette cleanser that became "Inception," as per his blockbuster rule (the director also shot "The Prestige" in between the first two Batman films). At the time, when asked about a third Batman film, Nolan said he and David S. Goyer would take a break and would only make a third picture if and when they came across a good story to tell. But recent interviews between Goyer, Nolan and co-screenwriter Jonah Nolan suggest that this trio always knew how Bruce Wayne's story would end.

And sure, maybe they still had to figure out the main narrative would function at the time of the second film's opening, but some elements had been mapped out as far as day one. “The final scene of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is exactly the scene we talked about [when Christopher Nolan and I started the trilogy with 'Batman Begins']," Goyer said in a recent interview. Christopher Nolan also recently spoke about his early concerns of including the Catwoman in "The Dark Knight Rises" story. "Catwoman is a very iconic figure in the Batman pantheon. I was nervous about how she would fit into our world," he said. Meaning: how do you include a potentially campy, unbelievable character in a grounded and very realistic film universe without suspending this series sacred disbelief.

Clearly, Nolan figured it out. But his concerns are possibly why one other iconic Batman villian, The Ridder, is absent in this final film despite months of confident speculation about the antagonist fitting into the series and absurd reports about what actor would play him (those hilarious Eddie Murphy rumors were our favorite). However, fans apparently weren't the only ones who believed that The Riddler would make some sort of appearance. Apparently in the newest edition of Empire, a special 'Dark Knight Rises' issue, no less, Warner Bros. executives were already talking about a villain for the trilogy's finale. "It’s gonna be The Riddler, and we want it to be Leonardo DiCaprio…,” Goyer evidently told the magazine. Well, maybe WB did get their wish on some level as DiCaprio did lead the studios' "Inception" to $825 million worldwide. Not too shabby for a film not based on a existing comic-book property.  

Would you have liked to have seen that iteration of "The Dark Knight Rises"? Surely Nolan could have made The Riddler some sort of realistic sociopath, no? "The Dark Knight Rises" concludes its epic Batman saga on July 20th. [Via Batman News].

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23 Comments

  • FrankBlack | June 11, 2012 9:11 AMReply

    just about all the 'comic book' characters in the films are not the halloween mask sort.. scarecrow didn't make himself 'scarecrow' , same w/ 2-face... joker did, but was very different and was more like a anarchist wearing a guy faux mask.... batman should have been less 'classic super-hero' and more unique... without batears... and just more called batman by the press, more bat for symbolism then dressing up in the bat mask + cape... a unique spin more like a dark, gothic, mutated ninja/punisher/crow... i thought he should have been able to be more subtle too, maybe wear a hooded coat to hide his kevlar suit and see him walking in allys and just looking like shadowy + blending in until he the action came... sort of like 'V' in 'v for vendetta' , not drive into town in a tank but still have the gadgets, maybe keep the tumbler hidden in a truck... i thought he should have used a sword like he used with ras al ghul too... but the studio, and maybe dc comics would balk at that...

  • DonCarlos | June 4, 2012 12:25 PMReply

    Michael C. Hall would have been a great choice for The Riddler... he could have played an awesome Clayface character, too, had they decided to incorporate him into the film/story.

  • GmailMall | June 4, 2012 6:29 AMReply

    Really,I want to see the movie

  • Dw Dunphy | June 3, 2012 8:48 PMReply

    The Riddler was the son of a brilliant but dangerous man who raised his five children as survivalists. Edward Nygma escaped the family compound at a relatively young age but was presumed dead, as the father had killed himself and his children in a murder/suicide and burned their compound down.

    Nygma (the last name devised by his father, but not truly his last name) moved through his life adopting and shedding persona, always relatively on the run, in fear that he would be found and possibly be implicated for the killing of his father and siblings. In what ultimately was a bad decision on his part, he fell in love, had a couple kids of his own and tried to stay off the radar. It didn't work.

    The Falcone Syndicate, struggling but persistent, found out Nygma's (or rather Janusson's at this point) secret. His wife was found murdered but he could not come out to identify her, partly to protect his children and partly to protect his secret. It hardly mattered. She was killed to connect with him and the Falcone mob does. They now know who he is, who his kids are and where they are. They will use his survivalist training and instincts as a top-notch hitman and everyone stays safe. If he doesn't accept, their lives are resigned to constant terror and imminent death. Janusson will be the puppet.

    But he will also leave messages behind, both at once toying with the law (and Batman) to find him as well as offering clues to the bigger picture, who is really behind these crimes, hopefully devising an endrun to get the puppet master before the Batman or the puppet master gets him (and his kids).

    Now, with all this in mind, DiCaprio was the only person who could have pulled off this Riddler because the Riddler was, in many respects, like the character he played in Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abignale. But all involved went in another direction much to my disappointment. You can't win them all.

  • Pat | June 3, 2012 5:31 PMReply

    I thought that there were rumours, some time back, about Johnny Depp playing the Riddler?

  • lolitahaze | June 3, 2012 5:04 PMReply

    Thus proving that Warner Brothers executives are totally high. They should have left Catwoman out too since Anne Hathaway's interpretation seems to be of an actress trying really really hard to be sexy and dangerous.

  • Quentin Eichenauer | June 3, 2012 4:18 PMReply

    The animated Ridder wasn't campy at all. Would have been a good pattern to go from. Michael Ansara's take on Mr. Freeze was excellent too, and would have been ok for Ahnold if, for a change, he didn't try to ham it up. His "Terminator" demeanor would have been spot on.

  • Glass | June 3, 2012 4:12 PMReply

    Dear God, could you imagine DiCaprio in Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby all in the same year? He'd get permanent hero status for that.

  • Travis | June 3, 2012 4:11 PMReply

    Do you mean Jonathan Nolan? There is no Jonah. Also, I liked the idea of a Riddler early on. I kind of saw a Joker-wannabe or apprentice taking over for a deceased Joker. However, I like Nolan's new interpretation better

  • Brad | June 3, 2012 4:45 PM

    Joker didn't die.

  • Jonahsometime | June 3, 2012 4:14 PM

    "(or Jonah, as he is called by his family and friends)" -- LA Times.

  • a | June 3, 2012 4:14 PM

    His nickname is Jonah, actually.

  • Eugene | June 3, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    I like who we got for a villain. I feel like The Riddler is too similar to The Joker, although I do wish there was a way to redeem Poison Ivy & Mr. Freeze characters, after that horrible film.

  • Connor | June 3, 2012 4:02 PMReply

    Riddler = Hugh laurie, loves games and puzzles = House. The only way to make it work is to make him a big brother like figure knows all and sees all but batman, throw the cell tracking device back into his hands to torment.

  • Daniel | June 3, 2012 3:36 PMReply

    Yeah, bullet dodged. Riddler has only ever been a second-rate Joker with a slightly different gimmick. I can't see Nolan, after achieving what he did with his & Heath Ledger's take on the Joker, wanting to go back to that same well.

  • Tyler | June 3, 2012 3:30 PMReply

    The closer and closer it gets to The Dark Knight Rises the more and more I cant wait to watch it.

  • SoulHonky | June 3, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    You might be the first person to refer to the 160 million budgeted "Inception" as "taking a break".

    I'd love to see a more standalone Batman movie with Tilda Swinton in the role of The Riddler.

  • hmm | June 3, 2012 2:46 PMReply

    Scuttlebutt is that Nolan and DiCaprio weren't getting along too well by the end of "Inception," so this was probably a very early wish from WB.

  • cirkusfolk | June 3, 2012 2:23 PMReply

    How about Jeremy Irons as the Riddler and Bruce Willis as Batman? Maybe Samuel L. Jackson could play Robin too?

  • Matt | June 3, 2012 1:34 PMReply

    Riddler would have been a terrible villain, too reminiscent of The Joker. Hugo Strange was my top choice for the villain, I could've of seen DiCaprio as Strange

  • JKahn | June 4, 2012 3:24 PM

    It's a question of interpretation. I agree with the person who chose Michael C. Hall for the Riddler. Hall unleashed could have created a mercurial, memorable Riddler. The man's transformation from the uptight, nerdy funeral director in Six Feet Under to the almost wolfish-feline predator in Dexter still boggles the mind.

  • Ted | June 3, 2012 1:32 PMReply

    My favorite Riddler rumors were the Michael Emerson ones. He would have been pretty badass, I think.

  • Oogle monster | June 3, 2012 1:27 PMReply

    DiCaprio dodged a bullet there. As did Nolan.

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