Of all the actors who got a boost off “Inception” this summer (which is pretty much all of them, to some degree or other), Tom Hardy was perhaps the breakout star. Those of who’d seen the likes of “Bronson” or his TV work like “Stuart: A Life Backwards” had been fans for a while, but his role as the playful, flamboyant forger Eames brought the joys of the actor to a wider audience. He’s already set for a small role in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” and the lead alongside Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon in McG’s action-comedy “This Means War,” but suffered a blow over the weekend as “Fury Road,” in which Hardy was set to take over Mel Gibson’s role as Mad Max, was delayed for over a year.

This is no big problem for Hardy, as Deadline is reporting that he’s landed another of the most sought-after roles around — he’s joining the cast of Christopher Nolan’s still-untitled third “Batman” film, the follow-up to the critical and commercial smash “The Dark Knight.” Many had tipped “Inception” co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a role in the film, and while that could still theoretically be in play, Hardy looks to be locked in.

There’s no word on what character Hardy will play — Warner Bros. won’t even confirm if the role is villainous in nature. But unless he’s playing Robin (who Nolan has promised won’t make an appearance), it seems safe to assume that he’ll be a bad guy. But who could it be? The Lizard? Venom? Sorry, wrong superhero franchise…

The Riddler is the one that’s been batted about most by fans, as the character seems to fit the realistic nature of Nolan’s films the best. If that is Hardy’s role, it can be guaranteed that, like Heath Ledger’s Joker, it’ll be a wildly different version of the character than ever seen before. This is still breaking, so we’ll update if and when more information become available. The third Batman begins filming next spring for a release in the summer of 2012.