Liam Neeson is Resurrected For 'The Dark Knight Rises'

[caption id="attachment_32390" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Getty Images"]Liam Neeson[/caption]

The Lazarus Pit works!

The villain of "Batman Begins," who was supposedly killed in the film's climactic train crash, has returned from the grave to once again do battle with the Caped Crusader as Liam Neeson has joined the cast of "The Dark Knight Rises," according to Variety.

Neeson played Ra's al Ghul, the notorious leader of the League of Shadows, in director Christopher Nolan's first Bat-film. Giving him such a fiery death had many fans speculating whether such spectacular imagery was foreshadowing the eventual appearance of the Lazarus Pit, the churning chemical pool that Ra's uses to restore his powers and stay forever young in the DC Comics series.

The casting of Josh Pence as a younger version of Ra's al Ghul had fans wondering whether we were going to be treated to just a flashback to the villain's past... or if the regenerative Lazarus Pit was actually going to be featured in the third Bat-film.

Several set photos have emerged that seem to feature several green-screen Lazarus Pits, and now with the casting of Neeson as Ra's, who was assumed dead until now... well, the pieces seem to be falling into place for quite the treat for Bat-fans.

Warner Bros. has declined comment (and Nolan is probably seething about the leak), but until we hear otherwise, consider this pretty much official.

Now, do you think there's still any doubt that Marion Cotillard's character will eventually be revealed as al Ghul's beautiful and manipulative daughter, Talia?

Ra's al Ghul, Talia al Ghul and the back-breaking Bane... it's going to be a dark night indeed for the Dark Knight!

(And we're still holding out for the possibility that Joseph Gordon-Levitt might actually be playing the Riddler, but we're also kind of crazy when it comes to this movie, so don't hold us to it.)

"The Dark Knight Rises" (and, apparently, so does Ra's al Ghul) on July 20, 2012.