Jul 12, 2010 11:19 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Heath Ledger won't be replaced as Joker in Batman 3

Batman is returning, but he won't have the Joker to contend with next time.

Director Christopher Nolan says he will not bring back the Joker, the villain played so maniacally in "The Dark Knight" by the late Heath Ledger. The role earned him an Academy Award a year after his death.

In an interview, Nolan would not disclose what villain or villains might take on Batman in the next film, due out July 20, 2012. But the director says that Ledger for him was the definitive Joker and that it would not feel appropriate to bring back the character.

The next film will be the third in the current Warner Bros. incarnation of the Batman franchise, which stars Christian Bale as the vigilante superhero.



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