Last month we learned the happy/exciting news that Inception actor Tom Hardy had been cast in an unknown role in the upcoming sequel film Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. When news of Hardy‘s casting first hit, it was speculated that he would be playing a villain … but NOT The Riddler (as director Christopher Nolan has revealed outright that The Riddler will NOT be featured in the next Batman film). Today we are hearing a new rumor that Hardy will play a bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises but it ain’t any villain that casual Batman fans might even know about. It is being reported that Tom Hardy will play classic and recurring Batman villain Hugo Strange:
Last month we learned Bronson and Inception star Tom Hardy was starring in The Dark Knight Rises, the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. While most of us Bat fans were ecstatic to hear that Hardy had joined the cast, we were also left wondering (and speculating) about who the actor would play. Now Batman News is reporting a rumor (taken from a source who has proven to be reliable) that Hardy is actually playing the villain known as Hugo Strange. While fanboys know all about Strange, the average moviegoer may be wondering just who this character is … Hugo Strange has had a long and, well, strange history in the Batman comic books. He was one of Batman’s first recurring villains (as far back as 1940), preceding more famous bat-foes like Catwoman or The Joker. Strange has appeared, been killed off, and since reappeared many times in the subsequent decades of Batman comics; his backstory has also undergone several revisions … The version of Strange you’re most likely to see onscreen is the one where the character is a prominent (or celebrity) psychologist with mob ties. In the famous Batman storyline “Prey”, Hugo Strange is tapped by the Gotham P.D. to work up a profile on the Batman, in order to help the police catch the vigilante. Strange is said to have been raised in “Hell’s Crucible,” a tough Gotham neighborhood not far from “Crime Alley,” that infamous site where Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered. While brilliant, Strange is also violent and unstable – in one version of his origin he was suspended from his tenure at Gotham State University for conducting bizarre experiments that transformed people into mindless, destructive (and deformed) brutes. Strange becomes increasingly obsessed with discovering who Batman is, and eventually with actually becoming Batman himself (which he eventually does, doing some terrible things in Batman’s name). The twisted villain eventually deduces through his psyche examinations that Bruce Wayne is likely Batman, and uses that knowledge to turn the police against the vigilante and lure Batman to his doom … Hugo Strange is a time-tested Batman villain, and his various story archs have the added bonus of tying up a lot of the story that has been put forth by both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight – a goal we already know Nolan has firmly planted in mind. We … know that Chris and Jonathan Nolan, along with screenwriter David Goyer, have already established a trend of borrowing elements of famous Batman stories for their movies. I personally expect that trend to continue with The Dark Knight Rises, and as you can read above, a lot of the most fitting story archs for this third Batman film fall squarely under the Hugo Strange banner.
Without question, Batman‘s Gallery of Rogues is full of many bad guys that most people have never even heard of before. Much like Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, Hugo Strange is one of those villains that has a long history with Batman but isn’t as well-known as other villains (like The Joker, Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, etc.). For me, this casting rumor makes a lot of sense … it’s clear that Nolan loves working with classic Batman villains that cater to comic book fans rather than pop culture acquaintances. Pairing Hugo Strange with Scarecrow makes perfect sense … as does casting Tom Hardy as Hugo Strange:
I’m not gonna lie … my heart really belongs to the iconic Batman villains better known amongst pop culture watchers … BUT, I fully trust Christopher Nolan‘s vision and I fully support his decision to showcase villains that might not be as well known among casual fans. I’m just really excited that Tom Hardy will be featured in such a high profile film. For me, he was one of the best things about Inception … I can’t wait to see what he will bring to the Batman film franchise mythos.
Any Hugo Strange fans out there? What do y’all think of this casting rumor news?