As EW reported earlier today, we now know for sure that Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have been cast in The Dark Knight Rises, next year’s cosmically anticipated Batman film. Warner Bros. reported that Cotillard was playing Miranda Tate, “a Wayne Industries board member,” while Levitt is onboard as John Blake, “a Gotham City beat cop.” But given director Christopher Nolan’s history of misdirection with the franchise — remember how he scrambled two separate villains together for the big twist in Batman Begins? — it’s worth asking just who, exactly, the two actors are really going to play in the film.

I might be wrong, but based on my memory (and a couple hours of digging through Batman lore), there don’t seem to be any original comic book characters specifically sharing a name with Cotillard’s or Gordon-Levitt’s characters. Still, Nolan has cherry-picked aspects of the Batman mythos before, and I’m particularly intrigued to see if the John Blake character will have a comparable role to the workaday beat cops of Gotham Central, the great mid-00’s series that read a bit like The Wire with insane supervillains. Gordon-Levitt has already been rumored to be playing practically every villain from Batman’s history (including Alberto Falcone), but Warner intriguingly teases that the character is apparently “assigned to special duty under Commissioner Gordon.” (There’s a madcap part of me that secretly wants to see Gordon-Levitt turn into a stealth version of Robin, but everything about Robin — bright colors, implied silliness — seems utterly foreign to the Nolan-verse.)

Cotillard’s Miranda Tate also comes with an interesting tease — she’s “eager to help a still-grieving Bruce Wayne resume his father’s philanthropic endeavors for Gotham.” It’s possible that Cotillard will be a new romantic interest for Wayne, which leads to the tantalizing possibility of a romantic triangle with Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. But it seems weird to cast Cotillard in a role that doesn’t have at least some kind of dark secret. Maybe Miranda Tate has a special interest in the pharmaceuticals corner of Wayne Enterprises, which is currently working on a new wonder drug. Tate is a little bit less than ethical, so she starts testing on unsuspecting humans…and maybe she has a pretty extensive garden to boot. My ridiculous bet: Could “Miranda Tate” turn out to be Poison Ivy?

It’s entirely possible that both of these characters are entirely brand-new; the first two films created plenty of original characters, like Rachel Dawes or pretty much everybody from the Hong Kong adventure in The Dark Knight. But that shouldn’t stop us from speculating. Readers, do you think Nolan is moving a fast one with either of these characters? Be honest: Did anyone quickly try to decode if the names were some sort of secret hint at the presence of the Riddler?

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The Dark Knight Rises
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