Is it just me, or does Jim Starlin's THE CULT graphic novel strike anybody else as ideal material for a follow-up to THE DARK KNIGHT?
The screenplay wouldn't have to be rigidly faithful to the source; just the rough framework. With Batman still on the run from the police, and the loss of Harvey Dent, Gotham's previous resurgence of hope has been dashed. Two years ago, people were dressing up as Batman imitators; now, after the Joker's appearance, there are Joker enthusiasts popping up everywhere - a not so subtle riff on the fickleness of the public. In light of the recent economic recession (eluded to but never directly referenced), unemployment has skyrocketed, prices are through the roof, and the streets are packed to the brim with the angry and disillusioned.
Enter Deacon Blackfire. Not dissimilar from Adolf Hitler, Blackfire is a powerful, charismatic man who arrives at a bad time and takes advantage of it. He organizes the ranks of the homeless into a bizarre holy army; an almost medieval battalion rising to overwhelm the modern edifice of Gotham. Blackfire channels the primal, inchoate rage of the "have-nots" against the "haves", destroying authority figures and criminals alike. Bruce Wayne, being one of the "haves", could also easily come under fire.
As in the graphic novel, Batman is eventually captured by Blackfire's forces and subjected to his brainwashing techniques, but it would be up to the writer and/or director if Blackfire succeeds in breaking Batman this time around.
Secondary characters: Introduce Harley Quinn as a sad, misled Joker wannabe who Batman attempts to bring back to the light. The Penguin could be one of the principal criminals whom Blackfire's army could target.
Daniel Day-Lewis would be an unearthly Deacon Blackfire, and one of the few actors who could believably sell a scene where the character would manage to break the Batman himself. But given how notoriously picky Day-Lewis can be with his roles (not to mention the odds of him sniffing at the offer: "A comic book movie? You do know I was in THE CRUCIBLE, right?") it's unlikely.
The Riddler appears to be the most obvious and popular choice for the next movie's villain, but I dunno; he's always come across to me as a downgraded version of the Joker. Deacon Blackfire, on the other hand, would conform perfectly with Christopher Nolan's aesthetics for the Batman universe; no goofy superpowers, no outrageous costume, just a man with creepy presence and frightening charm.
I realize this is all meaningless speculation, and I'm sure Mr. Nolan will come up with a plot that'll make mine look like the fanboy's over-enthusiastic pitch it is, but over-enthusiasm is just another sign there will be one more paying moviegoer on opening day, so really, why should the guys in charge be annoyed?
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