THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Could Leonardo DiCaprio Have Starred as the Riddler?

by     Posted 2 years, 59 days ago


With The Dark Knight Rises officially less than two months away from its domestic debut, a Bat-heavy mega-issue of Empire magazine has hit the shelves.  Within the pages, you won’t only find a massive poster that features the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale) on one side and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) on the other, you’ll find a lot of interesting information on how The Dark Knight Rises came about; what has changed since its earliest imaginings by Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer and the original plans for a villain.  Apparently, by as early as the premiere for The Dark Knight, the Warner Bros. executives were all hopped up on Leonardo DiCaprio coming on board to play The Riddler for the final picture in the trilogy (we were half right on that guess).  Hit the jump to find out what else has changed and, more importantly, what has stayed the same.

Here are a few highlights from the Empire magazine issue featuring The Dark Knight Rises (via Batman-News):

  • Christopher the-dark-knight-rises-anne-hathaway-prisonNolan and co-writer Goyer reportedly knew the ending of The Dark Knight Rises as early as the fall of 2008.  They knew it would be their final movie with a fitting end; their only uncertainty was which villain would wreak havoc on Gotham.
  • “Goyer explained that the ending in The Dark Knight Rises is exactly what they talked about 4 years ago — it’s completely unchanged. When Goyer saw that final scene from The Dark Knight Rises, he got a lump in his throat.”
  • The film features more than an hour of IMAX footage
  • The Dark Knight Rises will be Wally Pfister’s last movie as Director of Photography, before he moves on to a directing career.
  • Nolan also confirmed that The Joker will not be addressed at all in the film.  As reported, he was also nervous about adding Catwoman.
  • “Goyer said that at the premiere of The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. executives were already talking about a villain for The Dark Knight Rises — ‘it’s gonna be The Riddler, and we want it to be Leonardo DiCaprio…’”
  • “Christopher Nolan confirmed that Anne Hathaway’s character, Selina Kyle, is never referred to as “Catwoman” in the script.”


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  • Al Beef

    Wally Pfister done shooting!? I hope he comes back behind the camera every now and then. That guy is one of the top DP’s out there.

  • your dark knight ends

    Leonardo as riddler?, dodged that bullet Nolan good on you.

  • O.R.

    I’m usually not one to complain here, but this article’s title is SO misleading! I came here expecting some sort of story that described Nolan’s version of The Riddler and how that would have worked out, and got instead a bunch of bullets of information that will not really matter until we see the film and know what the hell they’re talking about. And what did I learn about DiCaprio as The Riddler? Exactly what it says in the title.

    • Strong Enough

      stop whining

  • Tyler

    Whoa whoa, so Catwoman is never referred to as Catwoman in the script, therefore the movie? Thats really pushing it too far there, Nolan and company. You’ve messed with Batman and his universe to the point where it is barely recognizable as Batman, the least you could do would be to refer to her as Catwoman.

    • sccitylhh

      I think whatever he’s doing is sure as hell working. He’s finally given Batman the movie treatment the character deserves and I’ll take what he’s doing over what’s been done before any day of the week.

      • Chris138

        Word. I don’t care how ‘true to the comics’ the movies are or whatever it is fanboys get all up in arms about. All I know is that what Nolan is currently doing with the character is a hell of a lot more interesting than what Tim Burton or Joel Schumacher ever did.

        For the record I do like Batman Returns, though.

    • mujtaba

      two-face was only said once in the dark knight, and it was only used as a past reference. do we really care if catwoman is said or not? we all know who she is.

  • sccitylhh

    I heard from a storyboard guy that initially the idea was JGL as the Riddler, a seven-esque serial killer who leaves his riddles at the bodies, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin, who in Nolan’s world would be some kind of arms dealer.

    Sounded interesting…

    • Dr. Spaceman

      by storyboard guy you mean rumors on the internent ……

      • Storyboard Guy

        Hey man, look at my username. Believe your eyes.

    • Clay

      Ha. I work in Hollywood, it’s from a legit source.

  • RiDdlEr

    Well, I would love to see Riddler and Penguin in a 4th movie if ever they get round to it. Even a realistic take on Freeze.

    Though Dicaprio sounds like gamble casting. And another shame, So many actors out there with that Riddler “look” but Nolan seems to go in a different direction to the right look. ie a very short and British Tom Hardy as a supposed to be giant Mexican Bane. Liam Neeson as a supposed to be Asian Rhas.

    Crispin Glover, Michael Emerson, Tom hiddleson, all have the “look” of a Riddler.

    Just as Hugo Weaving has that Joker look.

    Its like Bob hoskins, Timothy Spall have that Penguin look, but Nolan would probably cast Michael fassbender just to be different.

    It works out well in the end, but i see soooo much missed opportunity in these Bat films. I mean, not even a mention of Joker in this? there goes any possible hope of a deleted Joker scene or voice over of him behind a padded cell door.

    • Blue Leader

      Bane isn’t supposed to be Mexican.

      • Stalhelme

        No, Bane is not Mexican but he is Hispanic (on his mother’s side) and Hispanic-speaking, even though he is not always portrayed as such. His father was English so the casting may actually be true to type.

        I am curious, when did 5’10″ become “very short”? (On an unrelated topic, although I could never see anyone other than Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, I was disappointed that they made no attempts to make him appear shorter than his 6’2″ height).

  • dana

    The thing that kills me about this is that I’m almost certain that those high up executives tried really hard to pull rank and force Leo and the riddler concept into Nolan’s vision.

    But he stayed stern and told them that when he was ready he’d tell them what his plan was.

    Then he came back. With his story. Went over their heads and went directly to the boss whom he seem to have an unusual relationship with and Asked the BOSS for 250 million.

    The boss tells his underlings. “give him the money and don’t ask any questions. No ifs ands or buts.”

    By this time i’m pretty sure these executives are feeling a little slighted and are doing everything and anything they can to make nolan’s life miserably(welcome to hollywood).

    Nolan sets up shoots all around the world which is very unusual mind you because of the cost. I bet this caused a couple executives to try anything they could to challenge him in any sneaky capacity they could.”Who does this guy think he is?” that sort of thing.

    Nolan ends up finishing the thing. Goes to the editing room. Cuts and dries this thing and puts it in a can and serves it to the brass in record time. This isn’t the first cut… This is THE CUT.

    The producers are sitting in the room with the BOSS ready to filet this fuck. And wouldn’t you know…

    All that whining about a weaker villain named riddler and that whining about him shooting around the world and who does this guy think he is is virtually silenced when they feast their eyes upon an epic war movie that made their meager ideas about a hunt for the villain of the week is eclipsed by an EPIC thriller pitting batman against the ultimate in “military power.”

    I bet you hard chedder the boss turned to his cronies and smiled. Because he is a fan of Nolan’s not because the guy brings in money. But because he doesn’t dick around, he does what he says he’ll do, he actually LOVES Nolan’s movies.

    That’s the secret.

    You can tell. The boss likes nolan’s brain. Nolan isn’t some snake oil salesmen. He’s a damn good story teller. Who makes THE GOOD STUFF

    He knows it. And WE know it.

    From what i hear he wanted to adopt Nolan.


    • J.

      Awesome. Cheers to you.



    • mercury

      Your picture of petty, clueless middle management types thinking they could push stunt casting on Nolan sounds absolutely right on target; these guys really do think like that and they really are that shallow.

      As for Nolan’s relationship with the “Boss”, Warner’s had a very similarl policy toward Stanley Kubrick for decades: let him do whatever he wants, the films will stand the test of time and we’ll reap returns forever. Not that Nolan’s necessarily Kubrick — but once in awhile the guys making the decisions actually LIKE movies and moviemakers, and this seems to be one of those times.

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  • ozzie

    for the guy who said “i hardly recognize nolan’s batman” he is the one with the pointy ears that looks like a bat.

    batman returns was the less awefull of the first series …

    clooney made a better bruce wayne than val or michael as midget batman … too bad about the rest the things surrounding clooney batman.

    • dana

      The guy who said that Nolan is ruining the batman name brand sounds equally as foolish as mitt Romney idiot brigade who suggest that the president is worse than his predecessor… You know the guy who ruined everything and squandered a fantastic name brand?….

      It sounds to me like rival studios who are trying to dismiss DKR with a negative campaign. It is so obvious to me that it is the case because Nolan is so obviously not ruining this material. He has elevated it above and beyond what it previously was. I mean seriously, None of the movies from previous directors going as far back as the 70′s were in the top 4 list of all time. The closest any of them got was top 20

  • tom

    i suppose i can’t really hate on the title of the article that much, but i was expecting some exclusive clip about how leo cameoed as edward nigma or something. i felt like the title made you believe he was actually secretly in the movie as the riddler, which could have been very cool. but as it stands i’m totally cool with him not being in it. probably a good thing anyway

  • Nina

    this is why i love Nolan. he makes great films not just a comicbook movie only to please retarded degenerate comic fanboys

  • J.

    The people behind this film made a wise choice on who they cast for the finale of this epic saga. It’s clear that Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t meant for this movie, nor were a few others that were mentioned early on. To be honest, I didn’t think Anne was fit for this role at first, but after viewing the 2nd and 3rd trailor that opinion changed. Balance is the key and this surely is close to perfection when it comes to any genre in a cinematic masterpiece.

  • Jeff

    It was obviouse they were interested in the riddler in 2008 because they had the charecter who was gona expose wayne as batman name mr.reese (mysteries) one of the riddlers alises. They should have just called him mr.nigma lol.

  • David

    Well Bale said he would be up for doing another movie after having time to think about the success of these films and what they mean to fans. We still could see DiCaprio as the riddler. I think it would be really interesting not only to go beyond the normal “trilogy” aspect but in the end you challenged every bit of batman from psycho, to chaos, to brute strength, and then the last would be his mind. Interesting concept

  • Debo

    I think it’s hilarious that these blood thirsty fanboys saying Nolan has ruined the franchise because the characters don’t parade around exclaiming their official names every time they have to be introduced to other characters. In the scope and realm of these stories, we know who the characters are. How boring it would be to digress back to melodramatic shtick. That style of comic book movie is tired, lackluster, and irrelevant to today’s standards of filmmaking.

    If it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. Yes? No need for description ad nauseum.

  • terry

    Ann was a bad choice for the corny, campy cratwoman. Who the hell needs that bi*** anyway.

  • Abracadabra

    Nolan is the next Kubrick, even if he doesn’t mystify unnecessarily. He stood up to those suits and made a story completely free of special interests. Unlike a certain politician whose name is irrelevant to this thread. And he’s not scared of drooling fans either. And we all know about their smear campaigns on the internet! And blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Hannibal Lecter.

    That everything?

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  • Jazzy Jace

    Robin Williams as Hugo Strange would have been excellent as a secondary villain; we’ll see if Bane is a gambit that pays off.

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  • J.

    The Dark Knight Rises tickets on sale June 11th! Check out for more information about show times, the midnight screening, and the Batman Marathon that will show all 3 Batmans movies!

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  • Jorge D

    No knock on Leonardo DiCaprio, but I’m more intrigued by Johnny Depp playing the riddler, he’s better at playing ecclectic bizzare characters.


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    I believe he would be a awesome riddler with chris nolan still around if there was another one, but i still luv the idea of johnny depp as the riddler as well, it would be something very different and hard to play for both of theses guys, it just depends on the story and how well the riddler’s written, just hoping he does not come off joker like, more jigsaw or like the killer in seven with chris nolans spin to it would be fun.


    if nolan was to do another one or behind the scenes then yeah the riddler could be awesome if leonardo dicaprio or johnny depp would play a much darker and alot less goofy version of the riddler, it would be something very different for the both of them, and johnny was in a movie called public enemies not to long ago with christian bale and johnny was not jack sparrow at all in that film and to get the point both of these guys can play dark and twisted if they wanted too, but have yet to see them as a true villian role

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  • Ege

    Reason nolan wanted bane is probably he had an idea to make bane better than the riddler (which he has)

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  • heyzo

    hmm the riddler is good but starring leonardo diCaprio as the actor sounds a bit challenging

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