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Heath Ledger may appear in The Dark Knight Rises (Updated)

By now everyone knows that Christopher Nolan has become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, but few suspected the true magnitude of that power. According to a report from a the New Zealand website stuff.co.nz, Nolan may bring back Heath Ledger from the dead for one final performance as the Joker, in the upcoming third installment of his Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises.

Apparently, a few scenes with Ledger as the Joker were shot for The Dark Knight, but they never made it into the film due to concerns of pacing.  The deleted scenes would offer a brief look at Ledger aas the Joker during the early moments of the film, and serve as a bridge between the two films.

“The idea is to use these fragments of cut scenes and use CGI to have The Joker appear one last time,” an unnamed source told the website. “Chris wants some continuity between movies and for the franchise to pay tribute to Heath and his portrayal of the Joker.”

Ledger passed away in 2008 following a prescription drug overdose. He was posthumously awarded the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as the Joker.

“It would only be a fleeting moment in the movie and would only be included with the full consent of Heath’s family,” the source claimed.

The Dark Knight Rises will star Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Tom Hardy.  Nolan is said to currently be talking to several actresses to fill two roles, one of which would be a villain, and the other a new love interest for Bruce Wayne.  The film is scheduled to be released in 2012.

So what do you think?  Is this a good move for the film, or should they stay away from the Joker altogether?

[Update:  Well, almost as soon as the rumor began to gain traction, Christopher Nolan has said that Heath Ledger will NOT appear in the upcoming Batman film. It is possible that he is simply trying to mislead fans, but that seems unlikely.]