Ever since "The Dark Knight'" crushed box office records two years ago en route to a $533 million haul, fans and pundits have been obsessing over every closely guarded detail of the upcoming third "Batman" movie.
The biggest questions: what will the movie be called and who will be the villain?
Well, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, we now know the answers: the movie will be called "The Dark Knight Rises" and the villain will not be The Riddler.
Okay, so that's only an answer and a half. But still, it puts to bed all the speculation that David Tenant, Joseph Gordon-Levitt or the already-cast Tom Hardy will be playing The Riddler in the next film. And since director Christopher Nolan has already ruled out The Joker out of respect for the performance of the late Heath ledger, that leaves... well, it still leaves about a billion potential Batman villains for the third movie.
And as you can see, the new film will also not be titled "The Dark Knight Returns," which has been the leading rumor since the dark and cryptic ending of "The Dark Knight" set up the possibility that the third film in Nolan's trilogy could be based on the classic Frank Miller series from 1986.
So much for internet speculation, huh?
Of course, this new information opens the door for a round of entirely new internet speculation, which is why we'd love to hear your thoughts on the new title. Frankly, we think "The Dark Knight Rises" is a little bland, but we're more concerned with who the villain is going to be. If it isn't The Riddler or The Joker, will it actually be a more obscure villain like Killer Croc as some reports have suggested? Or will Nolan turn to a more familiar baddie like The Penguin or Catwoman instead?
We're probably going to have to wait a little longer to find out the answer; "the Dark Knight Rises" isn't scheduled to hit theaters until July 20, 2012.