Nolan_boffo The Joker will not be appearing in Christopher Nolan's third "Batman" film, according to the 39 year-old director.

In a recent interview with Empire Magazine, Nolan said the idea of re-casting Ledger's role was something he didn't "feel comfortable with."

This can't come as much of a surprise, even if the Joker was originally part of the next chapter. Ledger's absence undoubtedly casts a shadow on the character and Nolan is too classy a fellow to find a replacement this soon.

Meanwhile, Nolan's brother, Jonathan, is currently finishing the next Batman script, which Nolan admits he is "very excited about. We particularly like where we are taking the characters and what the ending is."

Dc_boffo The "Dark Knight" director wouldn't elaborate on any further "Batman" details, including who the next villain(s) will be, but he did talk about another Warner Bros./DC Comics project, "Superman," which he's producing. David Goyer, Nolan's writing partner on "Batman Begins," is penning the script.

Superman_boffo "While David Goyer and myself were putting together the story for another Batman film a few years ago — you know, thrashing out where we might move on from 'The Dark Knight' — we got stuck," Nolan said of the project's origin. "We were just sitting there idly chatting and he said, 'By the way, I think I know how you approach Superman,' and he told me his take on it. I thought it was really tremendous. It was the first time I had been able to conceive of how you would address Superman in a modern context. I thought it was a very exciting idea."

Warner Bros. will release "Batman 3" on July 20, 2012. "Superman's" domestic release is still TBD.

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