So now that we know Tom Hardy has been cast as a villain in Nolan’s third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, the speculation can begin as to who he is playing. The first shot across the rumor bow is that Hardy will be playing Hugo Strange.
According to Wikipedia, Strange has actually been around since 1940 and was one of Batman’s first recurring villains. He’s a villain in the mad-scientist mold and possesses genius-level IQ and is a master of psychology. In the comics mythology, Strange learned Batman’s secret identity but kept it to himself. He eventually becomes obsessed with Batman, even going to the point where he starts dressing up like the Caped Crusader.
Given Nolan’s approach to the franchise so far, this doesn’t seem like an outlandish rumor.