Liam Neeson NOT Returning in The Dark Knight Rises...But He Would Like To
03.09.11 by BJSprecher
One of the subjects that has been debated by die-hard comic book fans ever since the credits first rolled on director Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins was whether or not Liam Neeson's character in the movie, the villainous Ra's al Ghul, was really dead or whether he would return in later movies. For those unfamiliar with the character, there's no question that Ra's is gone for good because the train that he had rigged to blow up Gotham City explodes with him inside of it at the end of the movie, but comic book fans know that Ra's is between 400- and 700-years-old—depending upon which comic book you read—and that he can heal himself from any injury by bathing in his mystical Lazarus Pit.
It seemed pretty evident that we had seen the last of Neeson and Ra's by Nolan's second Batman movie, The Dark Knight, with the Joker (Heath Ledger), Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart), and even the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) taking turns harrying Batman, and no mention being made of Ra's ninjafied criminal organization, The League of Shadows. However, speculation that Ra's might return has been rampant in recent months because of comments made by Nolan and, more recently, by Gary Oldman that The Dark Knight Rises would wrap up Nolan's trilogy by taking the story back to Batman Begins. Unfortunately, Neeson recently told Empire (via MTV) that Ra's won't be back.
That rumour’s totally not true. In the comic books, Ra’s al Ghul goes into a life bath of some sort and immerses himself to become immortal. So that’s probably where that comes from.
However, with casting still underway for TDKR, Neeson isn't completely closing the book on Ra's al Ghul.
No-one’s approached me with an offer. I’d like to [reprise the role] if it happens.
What is known about the movie so far is that Nolan conceived the story and that his brother, Jonathan is writing the screenplay, with Christian Bale returning for his third go as Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Anne Hathaway has been confirmed to star as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, and Tom Hardy will play Bane, a tactical genius with a deadly physique who actually broke Batman's back in the comic books, requiring him to step down for a time and allow another hero to don the cape and cowl as Gotham's protector.
Rumors have it that Nolan is courting two more (Tom Hardy being the first) Inception stars to appear in TDKR—Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Some speculate that the League of Shadows will be back, with Cotillard in charge as Ra's al Ghul's daughter, Talia al Ghul, who is the mother of Batman's only child,
Damian, aka Robin #5, in the comic books. As for Gordon-Levitt, he's been rumored to be in talks to play anyone from the Joker (Lazarus Pit?) to the Riddler (please, no), to Alberto Falcone, son of mobster Carmine Falcone (played by Tom Wilkinson in Batman Begins).