'The Dark Knight Rises' Adds Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Marion Cotillard, But Who Are Their Characters?

Marion CotillardWell, it's finally official: Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have officially joined the cast of "The Dark Knight Rises," Christopher Nolan's third (and possibly final) Batman movie. And while today's casting announcement from Warner Bros. confirmed the pair's long-rumored attachment to the film, it also cast doubt on the roles each actor was reported to be playing over the last few months.

According to the studio's official statement, Cotillard (pictured) will play "Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member eager to help a still-grieving Bruce Wayne resume his father’s philanthropic endeavors for Gotham." Gordon-Levitt will take the role of John Blake, another character that doesn't appear to hail from the comics world, described as "a Gotham City beat cop assigned to special duty under the command of Commissioner Gordon."

So, were all the early casting rumors wrong — or just some of them?

Cotillard's name had originally been dropped in connection with a potential turn as Catwoman, but after Anne Hathaway was announced for the role, speculation quickly pegged her for Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Liam Neeson's "Batman Begins" villain Ra's Al Ghul. With Josh Pence recently cast as a young version of Ra's Al Ghul, it's certainly conceivable that Al Ghul's lethal League Of Shadows will factor into the film in some form.

Further complicating speculation is last year's report that of the two female leads for the film, one will be Bruce Wayne's love interest and one will be a villain. The casting of Selina "Catwoman" Kyle didn't make the picture any clearer (since she's been both lover and villain to Batman over the years), and even after today's casting announcement, many fans are wondering whether Miranda Tate could be Talia Al Ghul in disguise.

As for Gordon-Levitt's character, it was reported last month that the actor would play mobster Alberto Falcone in "The Dark Knight Rises," but the news was quickly debunked in a subsequent report. John Blake isn't a known character in Batman's comics universe, so there's quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding this character, too.

So, is this the final word on the two "Inception" actors' roles, are will be there be some surprises in store for audiences when "The Dark Knight Rises" hits theaters? Knowing Christopher Nolan and the Batman team, there's a good chance we'll have to wait until July 2012 to find out for sure...

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