‘The Dark Knight’: Harvey Dent Makes a Surprise Appearance at Comic-Con

Photo: ibelieveinharveydent.com

DC Comics president and publisher Paul Levitz dazzled the audience at New York Comic-Con on Saturday with a surprise advance screening of the new Dark Knight trailer, scheduled to go public in a few weeks. Levitz — flanked by a small army of Warner Bros. A.V. security patrolling the crowd — introduced the trailer, inspiring actual gasps among the packed house who had assembled for The Spirit panel. And the trailer? Well, it was awesome: chock-full of stylish effects shots and plot teasers, including a snippet of the Joker telling a group of mob bosses to "Kill the Batman." Most interestingly, the trailer is the first extensive introduction of Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent, the embattled Gotham district attorney who transforms into supervillain Two-Face. The trailer also gestures to a possible romance between Dent and Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) as well as a rivalry with Bruce Wayne. Heath Ledger's Joker does play a prominent role, but the most sinister moment of the trailer belongs to Dent, who intones, "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

Dent's character is not top secret; in fact, he's been the subject of an I Believe in Harvey Dent viral-marketing campaign for some time. Still, he was virtually absent from the first Dark Knight trailer. Featuring him this time around is a shrewd marketing tactic; in the wake of controversy about using Ledger's Joker in marketing efforts, spotlighting Harvey Dent suggests that The Dark Knight has depth beyond the Batman-vs.-Joker plotline. Based on the thunderous ovation the trailer received at Comic-Con, it seems that The Dark Knight's fans believe in Harvey Dent, too. —Tammy Oler