The Riddler doesn't appear in "The Dark Knight Rises" ... but not because Warner Bros. didn't want him to.
The criminal mastermind was the first choice of WB studio execs for the main villain in the third installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman series -- and they wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to play him, according to SlashFilm.
David Goyer revealed this fun but not unsurprising bit of information in a recent interview with Empire, where the screenwriter describes a meeting with WB brass upon the success of "The Dark Knight" to discuss the third film -- and what bad guy should succeed the Joker and Two-Face.
"Obviously it's gonna be the Riddler, and we want it to be Leonardo DiCaprio," Goyer remembers them saying.
There's no riddle as to how this came about, as this meeting probably took place around the same time that Nolan was pitching "Inception" to the studio -- and not to mention the fact that DiCaprio had done well by WB before with the likes of "The Departed" and "Blood Diamond." Though we must say it's rather impressive that they didn't just default to Johnny Depp.
Edward Nygma, aka the Riddler, was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang and first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (1948). A criminal genius obsessed with riddles, puzzles and word games, he brings out the detective in Batman more than any other villain in the Gotham City Rogues Gallery.
The Riddler has been memorably portrayed by Frank Gorshin on the "Batman" live-action television series and by Jim Carrey in "Batman Forever" (1995). In animation, he has been voiced by Michael Bell ("Challenge of the Superfriends"), John Glover ("Batman: The Animated Series"), Robert Englund ("The Batman"), Dave Franco ("Young Justice") and John Michael Higgins ("Batman: The Brave and the Bold").
"The Dark Knight Rises," which features Bane (Tom Hardy) as the main baddie, opens on July 20. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio will indulge in his own villainous turn in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," opening Dec. 25.