No more Bat blogs

I knew this day would come.

As you know, there’s no movie I’m looking forward to more than The Dark Knight. The Batman Begins sequel — from Begins director Christopher Nolan — arrives on July 18, 2008, and it’s going to be a big one. Christian Bale — who showed us the heart of Bruce Wayne without compromising the seriousness of Batman — returns in the title role. Gary Oldman is back as Lt. Gordon. Michael Caine returns as Batman’s butler and trusted ally, Alfred Pennyworth. Expect to see Morgan Freeman again as Batman’s gadget man, Lucius Fox, who was promoted at the end of Batman Begins to the CEO position in Wayne Enterprises, where he will no doubt steer the company back to the charitable work Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, had begun prior to the tragic murder that took Bruce’s parents and sent him on the path to Batman.

Aaron Eckhart (In the Company of Men, Thank You for Smoking) is going to kick 43 kinds of ass as Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent. Harvey becomes in the courtroom what Batman is on the streets — an unstoppable force of justice who’s not afraid of the evil machinations that have driven Gotham deeply into corruption. But when Harvey gets acid thrown in his face by one of the bad guys, the injury is so traumatic that a second personality — with its own sick, twisted idea of morality — is released. The result is Two Face, one of Batman’s most classic (and tragic) villains.

Maggie Gyllenhaal — my sweet, sweet Maggie Gyllenhaal — will also appear. Some reports say that she’s taking over the Rachel Dawes role originated by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins. I’m not so sure; I can’t see Christopher Nolan casting someone of Maggie’s caliber for the role that Katie departed. Nolan’s sneaky, and I wonder if Maggie’s not really playing someone else like Selina Kyle, who eventually becomes Catwoman.

And of course we’re getting the fearless Heath Ledger as The Joker, who will be the sinister, evil and terrifyingly intelligent monster here that he is in the comics. (Jack Nicholson’s Joker is brilliant, but it’s also Jack Nicholson being Jack Nicholson. Heath will be the real deal.)

So why no more Batman blogs? It’s because I’m saving myself for the movie. I read every rumor and every script review I could get my hands on for Batman Begins, and as a result I ruined some of the film’s biggest and best surprises for myself. When I see The Dark Knight, I want to know as little about it as possible. Nolan is a master craftsman and trickster — you need only see The Prestige to know what I’m talking about — and this time he’s getting script help from his brother, Jonathan, with whom he wrote The Prestige and his classic debut, Memento. (Nolan co-wrote Begins with David S. Goyer, who wrote Dark City and the Blade movies.)

Last week, “casting sides” were leaked online and found their way onto all of the big comic book message boards. These “sides” are bits of dialogue and character descriptions released to agencies for the purpose of auditions. As much as I want to read them, I can’t. But I did read some of the reactions, and the Batman fans are weeping with joy over how awesome the material is.

Which means that the time has come for me to stop reading about this movie. I’ll still report on official Warner Bros. press releases when the rest of the cast is revealed, but beyond that my Batman coverage ends right here.

It’ll make the movie much more enjoyable when we see it together next year. Cokes and nachos and hot dogs for all.