Harvey Dent obviously won’t return in The Dark Knight Rises

… but in the interest of getting everything on the record (even though it already was), here we go. Again.

Batman on Film (via MTV) has actor Aaron Eckhart’s final words on the matter:

“Chris [Nolan] and I had a meeting, on the beach, just the two of us. I said, ‘Chris, a lot of people are asking me if I’m in the next BATMAN. And Chris said, ‘Yes?’ I said, ‘Am I?’ He looked at me and he said, ‘No.’ We found ourselves alone on the beach together on a stormy day and he delivered the news to me and I was heartbroken. I was heartbroken. But Chris has his reasons and my life must go on.”

I’m imagining this beach meeting as a scene from Inception. Starring Aaron Eckhart as Aaron Eckhart and Leonardo DiCaprio as Nolan. Waves raging against where their bare feet meet the sand in the surf, Hans Zimmer’s thunderous score shaking the pillars of heaven when Nolan says, “No.”

Like I said, we already knew this. And it’s the right way to play it. Though Batman’s taking responsibility for Harvey Dent’s crimes at the end of The Dark Knight will certainly drive the plot of Rises, the new movie doesn’t need to dwell on Harvey himself. The focus needs to be firmly on Bruce Wayne and Batman this time. Onward and upward. Forward, forward, forward.

While we’re at it, I’m beyond appalled that so many normally reputable news sites were running “Heath Ledger won’t be in The Dark Knight Rises” headlines last week. I know they felt they had to, but all they really did was give attention to the “rumor” that appeared on a website I won’t even name, on which entitled, barely literate twits who demand legitimacy and respect but don’t understand either (or grammar) are allowed to post whatever they like, regardless of accuracy, truth, or even taste. Seriously, the only way to bury those guys is to ignore them.

(Basically, there was a report that Heath Ledger would somehow appear in the new movie as a mix of unused footage and CGI. Disgusting. Nolan has said countless times that it would never happen, and it’s despicable that he’s still being forced to address it.)

Anyway, back to Aaron Eckhart, who should be hugely proud of his contribution to the Batman mythology in The Dark Knight. That entire movie believed in Harvey Dent, and Eckhart’s confident performance sold every second of it. He was the Han Solo of District Attorneys, and his dedication to the role made Harvey’s fall even more tragic.

(You know how people are always closing a dead person’s eyes in movies? I love how Batman turns Harvey’s face so that its unburned side is facing up. So symbolic. Such a beautiful, sad moment.)

Harvey Dent is dead. But The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012!