While the reception to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises was not on par with the other films in the trilogy, Tom Hardy's performance as the villainous Bane has become beloved over the years due to this threatening presence in the film.
What makes it more impressive is that Hardy has to follow Heath Ledger's already-iconic turn as The Joker in the previous film and yet he was able to stand on his own and become an equal match against the Caped Crusader.
However, as it turns out, Hardy wasn't necessarily the first choice to play the villain in the film as the studio was eyeing a certain A-list actor to serve as the antagonist instead.
Leonardo DiCaprio Was Warner Bros.' First Choice to Play the Villain in The Dark Knight Rises
In a recent interview on Josh Horowitz's Happy Sad Confused podcast (via CBR), The Dark Knight Rises co-writer David S. Goyer revealed that Warner Bros. wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to play The Riddler in the film.
However, he and Nolan didn't entertain the idea since choosing a villain first was not part of their process in conceiving a story for the third movie.
"After The Dark Knight, the head of Warner Bros. at the premiere said, 'You got to do the Riddler. Leo as the Riddler. You got to tell Chris, Leo as the Riddler.' And that's not the way we work," Goyer explained.
As we all know, Bane became the villain for the third film with Hardy playing him. DiCaprio also still ended up working with Nolan as he was cast as the lead in Inception.
On paper, it would have been great to see DiCaprio play The Riddler in a Batman movie, especially under Nolan's direction which would guarantee that he will turn a great performance as the character.
However, the Oscar-winning actor has also been avoiding starring in a comic book film in his career so far and it would have been surprising if it ended up happening although you can also argue that he would have agreed to do it since Nolan is involved.
This is one of the "what ifs" that DC fans won't stop thinking about for years to come since it could have changed the trajectory of the film and DiCaprio's career would have also been different if he signed on to it.