The late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight” will be the last time Batman lovers see his arch nemesis for some time to come. Director Christopher Nolan has nixed bringing back the character out of respect for Ledger.
Ledger earned an Academy Award for the role a year after his death from an apparent accidental prescription drug overdose in January 2008.
His is the second performer ever to earn an Oscar posthumously. The only other actor is Peter Finch, who earned a posthumous Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the 1976 film “Network.”
Nolan declined to say what villain or villains Batman will face in the sequel to Dark Knight. The film is scheduled to debut July 20, 2012.
The Dark Knight” broke the box office with its record-breaking $158.4 million take over the same weekend in 2008. In all it grossed more than $1 billion.
“For me, Heath was the definitive Joker,” Nolan said in an interview. “It wouldn’t feel appropriate to readdress that character.”
Christian Bale is slated to return as Bruce Wayne, who becomes the superhero after his wealthy parents are killed by a mugger.
Nolan is currently promoting “Inception,” a sci-fi thriller opening Friday that stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page.
Check out Ledger’s Oscar-winning role: