With Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, close to beginning production, each bit of casting has told us a little more about the closely-guarded story. The latest casting tidbit doesn't involve a big marquee name—it is Josh Pence, who played the other Winklevoss twin in David Fincher's The Social Network, opposite Armie Hammer—but the role is significant.

SPOILER ALERT: Pence will play a young version of Ra's Al Ghul, Bat's arch-nemesis from Batman Begins originally played by Liam Neeson (Unknown). He will "appear in scenes that take place 30 years prior to the present story," The Hollywood Reporter reports.

This news seems to fit with Gary Oldman's (who plays Commissioner Jim Gordon in the series) words that the film ties up loose ends and brings the triology back around to "where it all began." And yet, still with no confirmation that Marion Cotillard or Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play Thalia Al Ghul or Alberto Falcone, respectively, the possibility that elements of the Birth of the Demon graphic novel will be used in The Dark Knight Rises is a delight. The true question is this: How will the flashbacks be used to tell the final tale of the World's Greatest Detective?

Pence joins returning cast members Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and the aforementioned Oldman along with franchise newcomers Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Juno Temple. Filming begins next month in Pittsburgh with a July 20, 2012 release date scheduled.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]