Liam Neeson Won't Return As Ra's Al Ghul In <i>Dark Knight Rises</i>

If you thought, for some reason, that Liam Neeson would reprise his role as Ra's al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises, you can forgot about it. That doesn't mean the actor wouldn't like to return to the part he played in 2005's Batman Begins, though.

“That rumor’s totally not true," Neeson tells Empire. "In the comic books, Ra’s al Ghul goes into a life bath of some sort and immerses himself to become immortal. So that’s probably where that comes from. But no one’s approached me with an offer. I’d like to if it happens.”

Neeson refers, of course, to the Lazarus Pit, a natural phenomenon in the DC Universe used primarily (and repeatedly) by Ra's to heal or resurrect himself. However, it seems out of step with the more grounded, and far less mystical, world director Christopher Nolan has created for his Batman films.

It's more likely that the rumor arose with a report last month that Inception co-star Marion Cotillard is in talks for a role suspected to be that of Ra's al Ghul's daughter Talia. That was followed just last week by the emergence of possible plot details involving Talia and the League of Shadows, the group led by Ra's in Batman Begins.

To be honest, the return of Ra's al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises never crossed my mind. The "surprise" resurrection of the character would be a too-predictable and, frankly, unsatisfying final chapter for Nolan's trilogy. Besides, I didn't think Neeson's Ra's made for a particularly appealing villain the first time around.

The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. It begins filming in April for release on July 20, 2012.

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