Tom Hardy Joins Batman 3

Director Christopher Nolan has tapped Tom Hardy, the breakout star of Inception, for lead role in the third Batman film, Deadline reports. Although the part remains a secret, it's a safe bet he'll play a villain.

That, naturally, leads us to wonder which of the Dark Knight's rogues he'll will tackle. (Weren't we just down this road with Spider-Man?) Inception co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt is often mentioned for the role of Riddler -- he would be perfect -- but is it possible that Hardy is set to be Edward Nigma? Or given the rumor tied, at least in part, to the planned filming of Batman 3 in New Orleans, could he be destined for Killer Croc? Okay, how about a more rugged Penguin?

The 33-year-old Hardy, who made his feature-film debut in 2001's Black Hawk Down, has appeared in Layer Cake, RocknRolla, Bronson and Band of Brothers. He's set to star in Mad Max 4: Fury Road and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

The third Batman film is expected to begin production in April for release on July 20, 2012.

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