While it’s hardly breaking news at this juncture, Warner Bros. has cast the villain for its upcoming sequel to “Batman Begins,” the successful 2005 relaunching of the Batman film franchise. Heath Ledger (“Brokeback Mountain”) was announced last week as Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker. This will be the second incarnation of the Joker in the past 20 years, after Jack Nicholson’s scene-stealing role in Tim Burton’s “Batman” (1989).
Clearly, Ledger will have to take the character in quite a different direction, as it’s safe to say he and Nicholson are nothing alike in acting styles. After the success director Christopher Nolan had with “Batman Begins,” it’s difficult to question his decisions, yet it would have been nice to see the franchise divert away from a very familiar villain such as the Joker – especially with a memorable performance of the role still somewhat fresh in the memories of fans.
Incidentally, the sequel is titled “The Dark Knight,” and is set to begin filming early next year with an anticipated release date in summer 2008.