Each bit of casting for Christopher Nolan‘s third and final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, has told us a little more about the ultra-guarded story. This latest casting tidbit doesn’t involve a huge name — it is Josh Pence, who played the other half of the Winlklevoss twins in The Social Network, opposite Armie Hammer — but the role is significant. Josh Pence will play a young version of a character we’ve seen previously in an earlier film. Possible spoilers mean that the info is after the break.

THR announces the casting, saying that he will be young Ra’s Al Ghul, the nemesis character who was featured in Batman Begins. Josh Pence will “appear in scenes that take place 30 years prior to the present story.”

There is no confirmation that Marion Cotillard will play Thalia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s and a presumed character in The Dark Knight Rises. Nor is there any indication that Liam Neeson will in some way reprise the role of Ra’s, which he played in Batman Begins. The character apparently died in that film, so the appearance of Liam Neeson would be something of a surprise. That would also seem to be outside the mode that Christopher Nolan has established for the films overall, but it remains a possibility.

So will this film incorporate some story elements from the graphic novel Birth of the Demon, which charts the early years of Ra’s al Ghul? The character has had a few different origin stories over the years, though that is probably the definitive one. But we don’t know how the flashbacks will be used; if the character’s daughter Thalia is a major character, as presumed, then the flashbacks will be a way to establish her lineage quickly. What are your thoughts?

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