We can now confirm that Professor Hugo Strange will indeed be the villain in Batman’s next big on-screen adventure. We can tell you that the fiend will learn The Dark Knight’s secret identity and use it against him. And we can also report that the caped crusader will have to fight soldiers charged with bringing him to justice, because after all, it is kind illegal to put on a mask and beat people up, even if they’re breaking the law. Now here’s the big twist: By “on-screen,” we mean your TV screen, as the entertainment we’re describing isn’t a certain eagerly-anticipated movie, but rather Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the Batman: Arkham Asylum blockbuster videogame. Last night during the Spike Video Game Awards, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Rocksteady teased the new project (due in stores next year) with a new teaser trailer that nearly stole the show from the winners, not to mention the telecast’s other big tease, a promo for Mass Effect 3. (You can see the Strange-enhanced Batman: Arkham City trailer here.)
What’s really provocative about the game’s teaser is that all of its distinguishing elements–Hugo Strange; the secret identity plot; soliders hunting Batman–have also been key elements in the well-traveled, widely-believed, and totally unconfirmed gossip that’s been making the rounds about the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, due in theaters in 2012. According to the rumors, director Christopher Nolan’s third and final Bat-flick starring Christian Bale will have actor Tom Hardy playing Hugo Strange, in a story loosely based on a storyline from the Batman comics known as “Prey,” in which the hero’s police ally Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is forced to assemble a task force that must hunt down the vigilante. Sounds like it could work for a Bat-sequel. After all, the last Batman movie left us with The Dark Knight on the run from the cops, who believe him responsible for murders committed by district attorney-gone-loco Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart, who recently disclosed that he definitely won’t be back in the third film). But again: Nolan has steadfastly refused to comment on creative details about The Dark Knight Rises, other than to confirm the title and clarify that The Riddler won’t be the villain.
I’m tickled by the idea that perhaps the Batman rumormongers have been horribly mistaken. Could it be the that project they’ve been hearing about isn’t Nolan’s film, but WBIE’s videogame? Regardless, at least we now know that we’ll be seeing Batman battling Hugo Strange in at least one elaborately produced media product in the near future–and possibly two. How do you feel about the prospect? Are you game for overlapping if not necessarily competing Strange-centric Bat-tainments? Or are you now kinda hoping that Nolan’s movie will have nothing in common with Batman: Arkham City? (Me, I’m still holding out hope that we’ll be getting shape-shifting Clayface chaos in Batman 3.) Sound off below!