Christopher Nolan’s “Batman 3” gets a release date

By Sean O’Connell

We may not know who he’s fighting yet, but we just learned when Batman will next appear in theaters.

Nolan is still in post-production on “Inception,” a sci-fi summer blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio that hits theaters July 16. But he’ll move from that to the “Dark Knight” follow-up, hashing out story ideas with frequent collaborator David Goyer.

Warner Bros. confirmed today that Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film, as yet untitled, will arrive in theaters on July 20, 2012, according to the Heat Vision blog.

A Batman sequel was inevitable, what with Nolan’s “Dark Knight” raking in a staggering $1 billion in worldwide theatrical grosses. Christian Bale is expected to return as Bruce Wayne and his costumed alter ego, Batman. Other likely repeat offenders, we assume, will be Michael Caine as Alfred and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon.

But who will Batman face? That’s the million-dollar question. Will Nolan re-cast The Joker, replacing the late Heath Ledger, who won an Oscar for his demonic portrayal? Or will we move to another criminal from the DC Comics arsenal, such as Penguin, Riddler, or Catwoman?

As Heat Vision points out, 2012 is shaping up to be one hell of a season, with Marvel’s “The Avengers” (May 4), the next “Star Trek” (June 29), and Sony’s revamped “Spider-Man” (July 3) on the docket.

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