Many, including us, have been wondering out loud how Warner Bros. plans on addressing the unique (and thankfully so) marketing problem currently facing The Dark Knight: Namely, what to do about a campaign that took fiendish pleasure in showcasing Heath Ledger's singularly bleak and twisted take on iconic Batman villain the Joker. Slate now reports that the studio's plan, in place since the beginning but perhaps being ushered in more hastily since the actor's death, is to shift the focus over to the film's other featured villain:
Warner is likely to alter some of its marketing campaign, which featured Ledger's image in the early going. A source close to the project says the plan all along was to start with the Joker and then segue to the image of Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face. In the film, Two-Face is in a love triangle with Rachel Dawes, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Indeed, Two-Face's significance to the movie's plot was highlighted less than two weeks before Ledger's death, when director Christopher Nolan told the LAT, "Harvey Dent is a tragic figure, and his story is the backbone of this film. The Joker, he sort of cuts through the film — he's got no story arc, he's just a force of nature tearing through. Heath has given an amazing performance in the role, it's really extraordinary." With Knight capitalizing on not just the talents of Ledger and Eckhart, but also the chillingly effective Cillian Murphy back as the Scarecrow, this latest Batman installment promises to pit the Caped Crusader against the most formidable consortium of Gotham-based baddies since Uma Thurman slinked around in a leaf-covered catsuit and Gov. Schwarzenegger made a series of incomprehensible threats involving sub-zero temperatures.