After the announcement leaked out a day before the 2006 San Diego Comic Con, it was assumed Warner Bros Pictures would officially comment on the casting news at that huge event, which is the largest of its kind in the United States. When the four-day comic book convention came and went without any confirmation, the rumor mill kicked into full gear speculating on the delay. WB didn't address the leak or the reason for the delay in making Ledger's announcement official in their The Dark Knight press release.
Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan, one of main reasons the Batman film franchise is alive and breathing, will return as director on The Dark Knight with Christian Bale back as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Jonathan Nolan wrote The Dark Knight script based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan are set to produce the film.
In a press release issued by Warner Bros Pictures, President of Production Jeff Robinov said, "Chris unique vision is what made Batman Begins such an outstanding film and we could not imagine anyone else at the helm of The Dark Knight. We also cant wait to see two such formidable actors as Christian and Heath face off with each other as Batman and The Joker.
Director Nolan was quoted as saying, "I'm excited to continue the story we started with Batman Begins. Our challenge in casting The Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless. Watching Heath Ledger's interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bales Batman is going to be incredible.
Warner Bros is set to begin production on The Dark Knight in early 2007.
Source: Warner Bros Pictures