While Chris Nolan is still on break and hasn't begun considering a third "Batman" flick, Warner Bros. Pictures execs may have already got the next film's villains and who they want to play them in mind it would seem.
Talking with MTV News, Michael Caine revealed that he not only heard the rumors of the various villain casting choices for the next film floating throughout the media, but that he brought up the topic with a Warner executive who seems to have confirmed that some of them were right.
Caine says "When Christopher [Nolan] said we were going to do ‘The Dark Knight’ next, I didn’t what that meant in Batman terms. I said, ‘What’s the story?’ and he said The Joker. I said, ‘Oh, s–t! How are you going to top Jack [Nicholson]?’ He said, ‘Well, I’ve cast Heath Ledger. And I went ‘Ha! I couldn’t top Jack, but if anyone could, maybe Heath could.’ And he did."
He then added "I was with [a Warner Bros.] executive and I said, ‘Are we going to make another one?’ They said yeah. I said, ‘How the hell are we going to top Heath? And he says ‘I’ll tell you how you top Heath — Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin.’ I said, ‘S–t, they’ve done it again!."
Hoffman's name as a British or Russian arms dealer version of 'The Penguin' first floated around in 2006, right after "Batman Begins" but before the villains of "The Dark Knight" were set. Depp's link to 'The Riddler' is more recent but the most talked about of the rumors and Depp himself recently said he'd be open to considering the opportunity.
Of course all of this remains up in the air and depends upon the whim of Christopher Nolan who'll decide whether he wants to do the project and which villains and actors will be involved.