Is it too soon to replace the late Heath Ledger as The Joker? It's a question that several fans and professionals have surely batted around since the Oscar-winning actor's accidental death in 2008, and according to a new rumor, it appears that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are closer to finding an answer.
Citing an anonymous inside source, Comic Book Movie reports that WB and DC are considering a possible live-action Batman television series to follow in the footsteps of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. The report states that Warner doesn't want to rush out another Batman movie once Nolan's trilogy is finished; instead, a move towards television is attractive to the company, particularly given the success of Smallville and even Sherlock Holmes on the BBC network.
An unnamed veteran has allegedly been tapped to oversee production, having served in a similar capacity on shows like The Mentalist, The West Wing, E.R. and Friends. This proposed "Head Executive in Charge" supposedly wants to keep the TV series faithful to the tone of Nolan's Batman films -- in other words, "a real world feel with young adult audiences in mind." Karl Urban has been mentioned as an ideal actor type for the role of Bruce Wayne.
Here's where it gets really interesting -- according to the report, this series is a possible way of returning The Joker to the public consciousness:
It has also been mentioned that this is a way to re-introduce The Joker as a completely new version and not step on Heath’s memory/version, as WB knows this is a sensitive subject. They believe that the Joker alone will garner ratings through the roof and are already planning on a closed set with extremely tight security to prevent any leaked footage.
At this point, it's simply too early to say whether such a series is actually in development -- my advice is to approach this rumor with extreme caution. But let's imagine that the live-action Batman series is real -- would you watch it? Does this seem like a fair way to bring The Joker back without stepping on Ledger's legendary performance?