Nolan not returning for Batman 3?

Is Christopher Nolan clearing his stuff out of the Batcave?

Surely not… right? right!?

A trusted industry source tells Batman-On-Film.com that Nolan, helmer of “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”, might not be returning for the foreseeable third film in the bank-busting series. And considering Nolan has been taking his time in agreeing to a third film (though some say the “Interception” agreement enclosed a promise from the filmmaker that he’d also give them a third “Batman”), that’s probably easier to believe than we’d like it to be.

It’s understandable the guy probably feels he’ll never top “The Dark Knight” – because most of us feel the same way. It can’t… won’t… be topped. There has to be a reason, besides cabbage, for the guy to come back. Even Christian Bale feels the same way. He’s not a sure thing either. Obviously the talent, and the WB have different reasons for doing another – though I don’t doubt they’d like to make a good film, Benjamin’s are their first priority – and if I was a betting man, I’d say lay some chips down on the studio putting this into production before Nolan and Bale are ready to go.

But if Nolan doesn’t want to return, it’s fair enough. After all, he’s a director who likes to do original, fresh stuff, so two films set in Gotham City may be enough for him. It was for Tim Burton.

But according to the site, the main reason why Nolan is reluctant to sign on involves Heath Ledger… and the Joker.

Ledger’s death rocked Nolan so much that he reportedly decided then-and-there that “Dark Knight” would be his last Batman movie. And also, says the site, Warner wants to have The Joker back in the third film (as Moviehole told you last year) – and Nolan, understandably, isn’t keen on that. And who can fuckin’ blame him!?

It’s absolutely ridiculous to even consider recasting the role.

Scribe David Goyer told me a couple of years ago that the plan was – remember, Heath Ledger was still alive at the time – to have The Joker AND Harvey Dent appear in both ‘’The Dark Knight” AND the film that followed it. I think it goes without saying that the plans to carry the characters over to a second film were abandoned when Ledger passed away. And from what I’ve heard, with the passing of Ledger, he treatment for the third film has all but been tossed out.

Still…I don’t doubt Warner are considering bringing The Joker back – and trying to get someone liker a Depp or a Bettany – for the next film, if even to make a small appearance, but it’s the wrong way to go. They need to let the character rest now.

So, if this is true, and Nolan isn’t keen on doing another “Batman” movie, where-to?

Well, according to the site, it means the Batman franchise is “back to square one”. That means, anything’s possible – a “Batman Vs. Superman” film could happen, a “Batman : Year One” could be discussed, or – god forbid – Joel Schumacher may sequelize “The Dark Knight”, whacking some nips on new Batman, Colin Farrell. Fuck, maybe they’ll even do a prequel to the prequel… with a 14-year-old Bruce Wayne losing his cherry to that slut Poison Ivy.

But look, this is just scuttlebutt at the moment, and Nolan hasn’t officially ruled out directing the film.. but fuck, what a frightening hypothetical, hey!?