Liam Neeson returning as Ra’s al Ghul in ‘Dark Knight Rises’

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Warner Bros. revealed a BIG piece of news in a rather low-key manner, so the official nature of it makes it big Batman news and I feel obliged to mention it here.

Liam Neeson will return in his role as Ra’s al Ghul for The Dark Knight Rises.

This seemingly big news was revealed in the production notes for Wrath of the Titans, which opens nationwide this coming weekend. Here are the downloadable production notes that so casually mention Neeson’s appearance in the anxiously awaited and highly secretive final Batman film in the Christopher Nolan franchise.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know Ra’s al Ghul is the leader of the League of Shadows and the man who trained Batman in the first Nolan Batman movie Batman Begins. But you probably also recall Ra’s being aboard a train that derailed and exploded at the end of the film, seemingly killing him. So, how is he back in the new film? There are a few possible explanations.

First, it’s important to note that in the comic books, Ra’s al Ghul is immortal. When he dies, his body is placed into Lazarus Pits to revive him. In the film, no such immortality is shown, but he does make clever statements about the appearance of supernatural methods and immortality. Most fans of the films assume this was director Nolan’s way of creating a “realistic” version of immortality, based on myths and tricks.

However, it’s possible that the new film will have Ra’s reappear and state simply, “You escaped from that train, Bruce. Do you really think the ninja master who trained you couldn’t survive?” and not even bother offering a complete explanation. Or they could say he was thrown from the wide-open back end of the train car as it plummeted to the ground. Then again, they might actually create some kind of pseudo-realistic version of a Lazarus Pit, and say Ra’s was severely injured but this rare chemical bath saved his life.

On the other hand, Ra’s could be appearing in flashbacks. We already have some reasons to suspect there will be elements of this new story that are rooted in the past events of the film series, and we know that another actor was cast to portray Ra’s al Ghul at a younger age. It’s no stretch, then, to think we’ll just see some flashbacks showing Liam Neeson as Ra’s, too.

But if Ra’s really does “come back from the dead” in the new film, will he be the puppet master behind the big villainous scheme against Gotham? Or might he have lost control over The League of Shadows (to Bane and a still-secret additional villain, who I won’t name here since there’s been no official announcement yet) and be a captive? Or… might he have some role in helping Bruce Wayne overcome injuries and prepare for a final showdown against Bane? Seeing Ra’s come back to help Bruce train again, with a shared goal of revenge and stopping Bane, is probably highly unlikely but at the same time highly awesome to contemplate.

Via Forbes.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.