After months of speculation, director Christopher Nolan announced he will be at the helm for the third Batman flick titled, The Dark Knight Rises.

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What do we know so far?

The Riddler will NOT be the featured villain but the core cast of Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Alfred (Michael Caine), and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) is confirmed.

Unlike every other movie this year trying to pimp the masses for a few extra bucks  ’The Dark Knight Rises’ will be shot in good old-fashioned 2-D and principal photography kicks off April 2011 in New Orleans.

So, the question remains—which Gotham super-baddie gets to tangle with our favorite caped crusader? While film insiders and the fan boy blogosphere scratch their collective heads, I’m putting my money on Catwoman. For one, the Dark Knight is in serious need of a love life. It still irks me that a plain Jane like Rachel Dawes could dis Batman not once, but twice! Second, the ‘The Bat and the Cat’ has been one of the best unrequited love stories in the DC universe; well, depending on which multiverse you look at. While Batman is all about discipline and self-control, Catwoman is his polar opposite—impulsive, a liar, a thief, and answers to no one but herself. The very qualities they find irresistible in one another, in a cruel twist of irony serve to keep them apart. Bruce Wayne—and Batman by extension, has been rather…boring. He needs someone like Catwoman to remove the proverbial stick up his butt.

If Nolan decides to go the Catwoman route, let’s pray he doesn’t make the okey-doke choice of Angelina Jolie. We submit to you five candidates who more than qualify to take up the whip, fill out that infamous cat suit and make the Dark Knight rise to the occasion.

Rosario Dawson

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—Dawson has come a long way from her groundbreaking debut in the 1995 indie hit ‘Kids.’ She’s gone on to enjoy commercial success (‘Men in Black 2’, ‘Seven Pounds’), as well as share screen time with some of Hollywood’s sexiest leading men (Will Smith, Denzel Washington). Dawson’s multi-ethnic look translates to a mainstream appeal that cuts across color lines. If memory fails you, please refer to her scandalous get-up as a gun-toting hooker in ‘Sin City.’ The very sight of Dawson in her barely there leather and chain outfit could cure male impotence worldwide.

Aishwarya Rai

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—is Bollywood’s bright and shining star. A former Miss World (1994), this global beauty has starred in over 44 films, has over 17,000 fan websites, and even had a Barbie doll commissioned in her likeness . Rai’s beauty and knock-out green eyes are almost supernatural; so much so, she made smart ass David Letterman nervous as a teenage virgin on prom night, when he interviewed her on his own show! Landing Catwoman would be the ideal role to introduce her to the apple pie American masses.

Paula Patton

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—With those killer legs, angel face and husky timbre, Patton evokes a classic Hollywood glamour comparable to Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, or Diahann Carroll. What is admirable about Patton is that she chooses not to coast on her looks, but dares to push the envelope in her choice of acting roles—the heartless gold-digger (‘Just Wright’) , the doomed lounge singer (‘Idlewild’), or channeling her inner Jane Bond opposite Tom Cruise in the upcoming ‘Mission Impossible 4.

Sanaa Lathan

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—Oh Sanaa, where art thou? Sorry, but she is way too talented and beautiful to do voice-over work for the wackness that is “The Cleveland Show.” Lest we forget, Sanaa made movie history by being the first African-American actress to lead a sci-fi flick (‘Aliens vs. Predator’). In addition, her delicious and devious turn as Michelle Landau on ‘Nip/Tuck’ had Christian McNamara ready to give up his man-whore ways. Sanaa knows how to dial up the sex appeal without crossing over to skanktown.

Kerry Washington

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Washington is Hollywood’s worst nightmare—a lethal combination of beauty and brains. If you’ve caught her on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ you know that she is far from the typical pop-tart, spouting politically correct sound bites. What makes Washington unique is that her sexiness stems from her intelligence. Take a peek at her role as power lesbian Fatima Goodrich in Spike Lee’s ‘She Hate Me.’ Watch how she has both her current (Dania Ramirez) and former (Anthony Mackie) lover jumping through hoops. That takes more than the power of the p*ssy.

Who do you think is the best choice for Catwoman? Or do you have any additional choices? Feel free to post your comments below.

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