With Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, and Marion Cotillard all set to appear in Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, it seems like Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the few Inception stars who wasn’t invited to the party. As it turns out, however, the production nearly did cast DiCaprio, as one of the most famous Batman villains.

In a recent interview, screenwriter David Goyer revealed that once upon a time, Warner Bros. had pushed for The Riddler to be the big bad in Nolan’s film, with hopes that DiCaprio would agree to play him. More details after the jump.

Goyer offered up the bit of trivia in the latest issue of Empire (via What Culture), recalling meetings that took place with himself, Nolan, and Warner Bros. brass after the release of 2008′s The Dark Knight. According to Goyer, Warner Bros. execs were clear about who they wanted as the villain for the next installment. “Obviously it’s gonna be The Riddler, and we want it to be Leonardo DiCaprio,” Goyer remembers them saying.

Given the timing, it’s likely that the conversations happened right around the same time Nolan was pitching Inception to Warner Bros., which had DiCaprio as its lead. It’s not clear how far the Riddler talk got, but obviously it fell off at some point — as we know, the new film will have Batman (Christian Bale) facing off against two other baddies, Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Hardy).

The teasers have me looking forward to seeing what Hathaway and Hardy will do with Bane and Catwoman, so I can’t say I’m too sorry to hear that the DiCaprio / Riddler plan was scrapped. But it is an interesting insight into what could’ve been. What do you think — are you glad things worked out the way they did, or would you rather have seen DiCaprio pepper Bale with endless puzzles?

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