SECRET IDENTITY: Five Characters Tom Hardy Could Play In ‘Batman 3′

As if speculation on the next “Batman” villain wasn’t heated enough, in comes Tom Hardy to stir the pot. The “Inception” actor has joined the cast of Christopher Nolan’s third “Batman” tale in an unspecified lead role, though many — myself included — are assuming that he’s set to play one of the Caped Crusader’s notorious rogues.

But which Bat-villain is Hardy up for? There’s certainly no shortage of compelling criminals on Batman’s naughty list, and the versatile Hardy could dig into a wide range of characters.

We took our best guesses at the villains Hardy might play in “Batman 3,” so read on to find out who we came up with!

Black Mask
Upper class citizen Roman Sionis is a natural fit in Nolan’s “Batman” universe. A crime lord by way of business, Sionis has a competitive bone to pick with rival businessman Bruce Wayne. Hardy and Christian Bale would have a ball chewing up board room scenery, and their encounters on the battlefield would be equally electric.

Marksman-for-hire Floyd Lawton is an excellent pick for the current string of “Batman” films, bringing with him a lethal danger that sits quite comfortably on the shelf alongside Ra’s Al Ghul and the Joker. In many ways, Deadshot is a villainous version of Hardy’s “Inception” character, Eames — cool, confident and capable, he’s equally deadly with his words as he is with a gun.

Hugo Strange
After the events of “The Dark Knight,” the Gotham City police department could call upon Hugo’s services as a psychologist to help lure Batman out of hiding. But rather than assisting the police, Strange goes after Bruce with his own agenda. It’s a meaty role for Hardy to sink his teeth into, and the fact that Strange is a villain in the upcoming “Batman: Arkham City” video game doesn’t hurt his chances.

Thomas Elliot delivers many of the same notes that Black Mask does, but instead of an obvious competitive rivalry between the hero and villain, Bruce and Tom have a childhood friendship to draw upon. That angle twists the knife even deeper into Batman’s back, bringing an emotional core to the story of this friendship gone horribly wrong.

The Riddler
Rumors of the Riddler’s involvement in “Batman 3″ date back all the way to before “The Dark Knight.” There’s no reason that Hardy couldn’t handle the part; it’s an iconic villain, but one that needs an overhaul to make him terrifying enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Joker. If you’ve seen “Bronson,” you know that Hardy has that menacing quality to take the camp right out of Edward Nigma.

Tell us who you think Hardy will play in the comment section and on Twitter!