Warning: Potentially major spoilers about The Dark Knight Rises can be found below.
Fans have been searching feverishly for more than a year for the tiniest clues as to what secretive director Christopher Nolan might have planned for The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion of his Batman trilogy. Those bread crumbs have led us, at various times, to such wildly different — and apparently incorrect — villains as Killer Croc, The Riddler, Alberto Falcone and even a resurrected Joker, and a potential storyline involving Talia al Ghul as the leader of the League of Shadows. The jury’s still out on that last one.
All we know for certain is what Nolan and Warner Bros. have told us, and that’s the official casting announcements: Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy as Bane, Marion Cotillard as Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as beat cop John Blake. The latter two aren’t entirely convincing — some have speculated they’re covers for juicier roles — but that’s pretty much it. Oh, and that Christian Bale and Josh Pence, who’s believed to be playing a young Ra’s al Ghul, filmed scenes in Jodhpur, India, where something was constructed that looks suspiciously like a Lazarus Pit.
But now word has surfaced of a surprise cameo that will either cement what you suspected of the plot to The Dark Knight Rises or send you running back to the drawing board. This is your final warning: Potential major spoilers follow!
According to HitFix, Liam Neeson, who of course portrayed Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, was spotted shooting a scene Monday in London. Y’know, the same Liam Neeson who, in March denied rumors that he would reprise his role as Bruce Wayne’s mentor turned nemesis in the upcoming film.
Neeson’s appearance, which may be brief considering that he was in New York City last night, could be in a flashback, perhaps lending even more credence to persistent rumors that Talia al Ghul plays a central role in The Dark Knight Rises. Or, as HitFix’s Drew McWeeny suggests, it could mean that Nolan is taking a surprising plunge into the supernatural by Ra’s emerge, in the present, from the Lazarus Pit. But where would that leave Pence, pegged as the young Demon’s Head?
Of course, there’s at least one other option: that Neeson is a red herring to throw everyone off the scent.
The Dark Knight Rises, which also stars Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, opens on July 20, 2012.