Update your calendar now: The Batman movie you'll be lining up to buy tickets for in July 2012 is called [article id="1650928"]"The Dark Knight Rises."[/article]
Director Christopher Nolan's announcement of the title comes after more than two years of speculation about a movie we simply dubbed "Batman 3." The first rumors about a third installment in the franchise cropped up in fall 2008, just a few months after the record-breaking opening of "The Dark Knight." Only recently, though, has solid info about the new flick begun to trickle out.
From early rumors to drool-inducing reality, here's how it all went down:
December 16, 2008: Unnamed sources suggest a sort of pre-pre-production on "Batman 3" has begun -- with set builders, stuntmen and film crews currently being hired -- with an eye on shooting in February 2009.
October 7, 2008: "Dark Knight" scribe David Goyer tells MTV News those rumors are "B.S.," adding, "Chris and I haven't even talked about it. He quite understandably is taking a long, long vacation and wants to purge himself."
September 30, 2008: One in a long string of casting rumors pops up, suggesting Rachel Weisz will star as Catwoman. In the next few years, other rumors will claim, among other things, that Eddie Murphy will play the Riddler, Johnny Depp will play the Riddler, Philip Seymour Hoffman will play the Penguin and Cher will play Catwoman.
January 8, 2009: "Dark Knight" producer Chuck Roven tells us that Nolan and Goyer are "talking and thinking" about the next film.
February 11, 2009: News breaks that Nolan will delay production on "Batman 3" in favor of work on "Inception."
June 22, 2009: With Nolan's status uncertain, star Christian Bale tells us, "I truly don't know that we're ever going to see another Batman movie."
July 24, 2009: Co-star Gary Oldman tells us production will begin in 2010.
February 8, 2010: Goyer is reportedly writing "Batman 3" with Chris Nolan's brother Jonah.
March 10, 2010: Nolan announces that "Batman 3" will bring the series' story to a close. "I'm very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we've done with the characters," he said. "My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these things don't go on forever in film, and viewing it as a story with an end is useful."
April 30, 2010: Reports suggest "Batman 3" will hit theaters July 20, 2012.
June 4, 2010: Nolan confirms that the third film will not feature the Joker, a role played by Heath Ledger in "Dark Knight." "I just don't feel comfortable about it," he said.
June 28, 2010: Nolan confirms the July 2012 release date, but declines to speculate on reports that production will begin in March 2011.
July 20, 2010: "Dark Knight" cinematographer Wally Pfister tells us he wants to shoot "Batman 3" entirely in the large-scale IMAX film format.
September 29, 2010: Nolan officially signs on to direct the film.
October 6, 2010: Reports suggest the movie will begin shooting in April 2011 in New Orleans.
October 13, 2010: Tom Hardy signs on for an unspecified lead role in "Batman 3," giving rise to speculation that he'll play a villain opposite Bale.
October 27, 2010: Nolan announces the new movie will be called "The Dark Knight Rises." He also says the Riddler will not factor into the story.
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."