When Robert Pattinson signed on to play the Dark Knight in the 2012 film adaptation of The Dark Knight Rises, many fans were excited to see the stunning British actor take on the infamous role. But since then, Pattinson has been relatively quiet about his involvement with the caped crusader, only appearing in promotional material and at Comic-Cons. Although he did recently attend a Q&A session for the film with its director, and he briefly attended tonight’s London premiere, perhaps the most exciting news to come out of his camp is that he has quit Batman. Here, we’ll run down the shocking developments and speculate on what may have led to Pattinson’s sudden departure from the role he had been so keen to play.

The Dark Knight Rises

Pattinson had been in talks to play the iconic role for a while, with the initial plans for the film calling for him to don the cowl in early 2012. But Batman was stillborn in a February 2011 press release, with director Christopher Nolan explaining that they had chosen an unknown actor to star in the role after trying out several popular names. The director also noted that the film’s plot wouldn’t suit everyone, adding, “Some people may find this movie difficult, because it’s not for everyone.”

When the film was finally released in 2012, it was received well by critics and fans alike, with many regarding Pattinson’s portrayal as one of the best adaptations of the character yet. But while he was busy promoting the film and its sequel, The Battle of the Thin Ice, he apparently decided that playing Batman was not for him. It’s not clear whether he decided against the role after the backlash that Heath Ledger received for his portrayal of The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, but it’s clear that some roles are just not for him. He once quipped, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play quite the part of a creepy little British man again,” and it seems that he had his sights set on more traditional leading man roles after that.

Rumors Of A Replacement

After the first The Dark Knight, everyone knew who the next Batman would be, and the search for his successor began in earnest. The rumor mill has been churning ever since, with several actors being considered for the role. One of the most popular candidates is Mad Max: Fury Road’s Tom Hardy, who would bring with him an intense screen presence and a menacing charm that audiences have long associated with the role. Even The Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan suggested that Hardy would be the perfect fit for the part. However, Hardy has other priorities at the moment, with the Mad Max sequel set for a May 2015 release. So for now, it looks like we’ll have to be content with knowing that Bruce Wayne will be embodied once again by a man of British extraction. What do you think? Is Thomas Hardy the perfect choice for the next Batman, or have you found another candidate that you think will do a bang up job? Let us know in the comments below!

The Outsider

With so much uncertainty surrounding his involvement with Batman, it’s no surprise that Pattinson’s camp would be tight-lipped about his upcoming projects. But given the actor’s affinity for cosplay and his love for comic books, it’s probably no secret that he’d like to try his hand at playing a superhero. In fact, it was reported earlier this year that he’s been training for a fight scene with a real-life person in a rubber suit. Could this be a step toward taking on superhero roles in the near future? Maybe, but for the moment, all we can do is speculate.

While we await official announcements regarding his next movie, it’s worth remembering that the world is a big place, and Bruce Wayne’s adventures won’t end with The Dark Knight Rises. With so many comic books out there, there’s bound to be a sequel that just might fit the bill. For now, though, it’s time to mourn the loss of one of pop culture’s greatest characters, and maybe it’s time for Hollywood to give a call to Alfred.