If Christopher Nolan knows what’s good for him he won’t come back for Batman 3 in any capacity other than producer. The confluence of elements that shot The Dark Knight to the all-time #2 box office spot simply cannot be recreated – even killing Christian Bale won’t help, as he’s just not that popular. Whatever Nolan does on Batman 3 the film simply will not be able to measure up – artistically or economically – with The Dark Knight. I mean, imagine if Francis Ford Coppola had gone beyond the perfection of The Godfather Part II and made a third film.

Yeah, you see what I’m getting at here.

And Nolan is probably very aware of all of this. While he’s gearing up for his next film, Inception (which apparently will cost 200 million dollars), rumors are flying that he’s backing away from Bats 3. Batman-on-Film has a source that says Nolan is definitely shying away from a third go round, and one of the big factors is Heath Ledger’s death; this source says that The Joker was intended to come back in the third film.

But! But! There are three possibilities, as I see it:

1) Nolan is smart, and knows he can never top himself, and will just serve as a producer on the next film.

2) Nolan is notoriously hard to get to commit on a project like this; with a big huge movie in his sights the last thing he wants to do is start thinking about another big huge movie.

3) Nolan knows it’s fait accompli that he’ll be back so he’s doing some contract negotiations in the press. Enough of us on the internet cover this story it gets picked up in the mainstream media, and Warner Bros suits start sweating and trying to figure out how much money they can throw at this director. God knows this wouldn’t be the first time such a tactic has been used.