Christopher Nolan's next Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, is in the middle of casting Gotham's newest residents. Tom Hardy, the sly British forger from Inception has been cast"”most likely as a villain-- but we aren't sure exactly who he'll portray yet. The Riddler has already been counted out of Nolan's universe, so we're left with pure speculation over whom Hardy could bring to life on the silver screen. Here's my short list of potential villains:
Clayface- Basil Karlo is a B-movie actor in the Batman universe, but when he learns that his film, The Terror, is being remade, he dons the mask of the movie's villain and sets off on a murderous crime spree throughout Gotham. Personally, I grew up with the Matt Hagen, shape-shifting Clayface of the 1990s, but this supernatural ability would be out of place in Nolan's universe. Clayface has connections to Julie Madison, Bruce Wayne's fiancé-- her role in The Dark Knight Rises has reportedly been auditioned for by Vera Fariga and Kacie Thomas.
The Killer Croc- Again, unlikely in Nolan's universe, but we can't discount the persistent rumors about the character. Croc is really Waylon Jones, a hulk of a man with a rare form of atavism that gives his skin a reptilian appearance. Hardy would have to spend the entire film covered in makeup and prosthetics, but his magnetic personality could give life to this monstrous crime lord.
Hush- This one would be a real treat, but don't bet the farm on it just yet. Hush is one of Batman's newest antagonists, and also one of his oldest friends. Thomas Elliot is a maniacal psychopath who holds a childhood grudge against the Wayne family. Even though he was once Bruce's friend, he decides that Wayne is personally responsible for his imprisonment in a youth psych ward. Elliott uses his talents as a surgeon to cover up his identity by performing plastic surgery on himself. Hush has no superpowers, but his ability to anticipate his opponents' moves makes him extremely dangerous. Additionally, he has ties to both Clayface and Harvey Dent, so an appearance by either could hint at a possible role for Elliot in the film.
Zsaz- Wishful thinking on my part, Victor Zsaz is one of Batman's most gruesome enemies. A former business mogul and current serial murderer, Zsaz tracks his victims by engraving tally marks on his skin with a knife. His favorite prey is a young, defenseless woman"¦ which we all know is one of Wayne's weak spots. Technically, the character already appeared in a cameo in Batman Begins, but that shouldn't prevent Nolan from re-casting the brilliant murderer. Personally, I'd hold off and cast Jackie Earl Haley as Zsaz in a later film.
Deadshot- A charismatic assassin, Deadshot would be a perfect role for Hardy. Floyd Lawton is a trench coat wearing, gun toting, masked assassin with no regard for human life. He loves guns, making him the antithesis of everything that Batman stands for. Ultimately, this villain seems unlikely; he's not versatile or interesting enough to carry a movie. However, The Dark Knight Rises may include multiple villains, so let's not count him out.
Catwoman- Selina Kyle is a sexy cat burglar who develops a storied love/hate relationship with Batman. Obviously this wouldn't be a role for Hardy, but if Nolan were to cast the right female lead in this role, it could make for a fantastic film. Ultimately, the tone set by the finale of The Dark Knight would seem to indicate that Nolan would rather take things to a much darker place, but hey"¦ a guy can dream, right? To be fair, Catwoman has a very important role in the Hush storyline. It would be hard to have one without the other.