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The Dark Knight Rises Movie Guide

Christopher Nolan Bids Farewell to the Batman Franchise in Must-Read Letter

By: Sean OConnell on July 24, 2012 at 9:52AM Comments (125)
Christopher Nolan has been saying all along that The Dark Knight Rises will be his final dance (in the pale moonlight) with the Caped Crusader. Now that the film is in theaters, Nolan’s taking the opportunity to say goodbye to the franchise that likely will define his career … and reflect on the monumental accomplishment. 
 
In the foreword to The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy book, Nolan writes (via SuperheroHype): 
 
"Alfred. Gordon. Lucius. Bruce . . . Wayne. Names that have come to mean so much to me. Today, I’m three weeks from saying a final good-bye to these characters and their world. It’s my son’s ninth birthday. He was born as the Tumbler was being glued together in my garage from random parts of model kits. Much time, many changes. A shift from sets where some gunplay or a helicopter were extraordinary events to working days where crowds of extras, building demolitions, or mayhem thousands of feet in the air have become familiar.
 
People ask if we’d always planned a trilogy. This is like being asked whether you had planned on growing up, getting married, having kids. The answer is complicated. When David and I first started cracking open Bruce’s story, we flirted with what might come after, then backed away, not wanting to look too deep into the future. I didn’t want to know everything that Bruce couldn’t; I wanted to live it with him. I told David and Jonah to put everything they knew into each film as we made it. The entire cast and crew put all they had into the first film. Nothing held back. Nothing saved for next time. They built an entire city. Then Christian and Michael and Gary and Morgan and Liam and Cillian started living in it. Christian bit off a big chunk of Bruce Wayne’s life and made it utterly compelling. He took us into a pop icon’s mind and never let us notice for an instant the fanciful nature of Bruce’s methods.
 
I never thought we’d do a second -- how many good sequels are there? Why roll those dice? But once I knew where it would take Bruce, and when I started to see glimpses of the antagonist, it became essential. We re-assembled the team and went back to Gotham. It had changed in three years. Bigger. More real. More modern. And a new force of chaos was coming to the fore. The ultimate scary clown, as brought to terrifying life by Heath. We’d held nothing back, but there were things we hadn’t been able to do the first time out -- a Batsuit with a flexible neck, shooting on Imax. And things we’d chickened out on -- destroying the Batmobile, burning up the villain’s blood money to show a complete disregard for conventional motivation. We took the supposed security of a sequel as license to throw caution to the wind and headed for the darkest corners of Gotham.
 
I never thought we’d do a third -- are there any great second sequels? But I kept wondering about the end of Bruce’s journey, and once David and I discovered it, I had to see it for myself. We had come back to what we had barely dared whisper about in those first days in my garage. We had been making a trilogy. I called everyone back together for another tour of Gotham. Four years later, it was still there. It even seemed a little cleaner, a little more polished. Wayne Manor had been rebuilt. Familiar faces were back -- a little older, a little wiser . . . but not all was as it seemed.
 
Gotham was rotting away at its foundations. A new evil bubbling up from beneath. Bruce had thought Batman was not needed anymore, but Bruce was wrong, just as I had been wrong. The Batman had to come back. I suppose he always will.
 
Michael, Morgan, Gary, Cillian, Liam, Heath, Christian . . . Bale. Names that have come to mean so much to me. My time in Gotham, looking after one of the greatest and most enduring figures in pop culture, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a filmmaker could hope for. I will miss the Batman. I like to think that he’ll miss me, but he’s never been particularly sentimental."
 
A classy sendoff from an intelligent filmmaker. The letter does such an admirable job of explaining Nolan’s process while working on the trilogy. I certainly don’t envy the filmmaker who has to follow in Nolan’s footsteps when it comes to the Batman franchise. What do you think should happen next? A traditional sequel? An unconventional prequel? A spinoff movie for a supporting character? Or a complete franchise reboot?
 
The Batman’s future is uncertain. But I can assure you this: We’ll all be paying attention.
 

Follow along on Twitter @Sean_OConnell and @Fandango

Comments (125)Leave a Comment

  • Oct 12th 2012 1:35PM

     said...

    "...But I can assure you this: We’ll all be paying attention." And I can assure you this; candidly, pointedly, many of us will not!

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  • Jul 31st 2012 11:42AM

    Miki Blue  said...

    NO REBOOT PLEASE. I read into the potential sequel to this 3rd installment. I would like to see it continue from there. Maybe Nolan will have a change of heart next year and come back. Really hope to see the same cast and was looking forward for the Penguin to surface.

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  • Jul 31st 2012 9:34AM

    cjames626  said...

    (cont.) Batman that I'd been waiting for. No campy, loose, lack of any discernible plot line or faithfulness to the comic book lore, unnecessaily overly romantic, all about the damsel in distress, at times secondary & even wimpy "superhero" main character driven fare. At last the true hero we deserve. And this farewell letter only puts a heartfelt stamp on the trilogy and all that it's been about. So from one Christopher to another, thank you Mr. Nolan for your sincerity, commitment to your craft, and for taking the Batman in the direction that he's needed to go all along theatrically. Really sorry to see you go, but hopefully this will set the trend that subsequent movies will now follow. Cheers.

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  • Jul 31st 2012 8:56AM

    cjames626  said...

    I know they're just movies, but they were really good movies that I enjoyed very much. I appreciate the quality of an honest effort by someone who really cares about the subject matter, & this was clearly one of the best examples of that. Especially after the original offerings, I was really longing for a good solid Batman movie. When I heard about Christian and the new director I was cautiously optomistic. And when I finally saw 'Begins' I was not only pleasantly surprised but thrilled with the results. Finally somebody cared enough to get it right. A superior cast and what really seemed like an under the radar, sleeper hit rather than a blockbuster turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. At last the dark, gritty, no nonsense

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  • Jul 31st 2012 7:51AM

     said...

    cHRIS THANKS FOR THE GREAT RIDE ITS BEEN FUN A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE, gOD HAS BLESSED YOU WITH ALL THE GREAT TALENT IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY , THANKS AGAIN.FMHTY

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  • Jul 30th 2012 11:47AM

    aleman40  said...

    He actually made me want to see a movie about Robin. He managed the impossible. At the end of TDKR, I thought that was next. C'mon Mr. Nolan! Just one more for the fans. ;)

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  • Jul 30th 2012 10:27AM

     said...

    When do you think the next Batman movie might be? I say they'll wait at least 3-5 years and try another one.

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  • Jul 30th 2012 10:46AM

    fandad1960  said...

    They have to make it for justice league but afterwards won't be a prob because WB has to get through Man of steel next summer

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  • Jul 30th 2012 6:52AM

     said...

    Completely amazing trilogy loved it all. As disappointed that this is the end for him. I have no doubt it is not the end for batman. Who will receive a complete franchise reboot after a hiatus in all likely hood. However, I would like to see a more unconventional approach, Batman Beyond.

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  • Jul 29th 2012 11:02PM

    cmclaren7  said...

    We put Nolan in a deep pit that no one can escape from, until he gives us a fourth installment....Who's in?

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  • Jul 30th 2012 6:13AM

    fandad1960  said...

    I'm not when he says it's over for him it's over for him

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  • Jul 29th 2012 5:16PM

     said...

    Definitely a spinoff. I think we should only see Batman again in a Justice League movie, and perhaps it's time we see a Nightwing movie.... about a former sidekick coming into his own and making a new name in Gotham, stepping out of Batman's shadow. It could feature flashbacks of Batman & Robin's adventures together, and show if **** Grayson can stand up to Batman's rouge's gallery. I would have loved to see a Knightfall trilogy with the new, edgier Batman facing off against Bane and filling in for Bruce, but the fabricated ending of The Dark Knight Rises shatters and hope of that.

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  • Jul 29th 2012 6:32AM

    sychoken  said...

    Thank you Chris Nolan and the cast :'( Very sad for me that this is the last installment. (Hopefully not). Please no reboot and if someone is going to continue it they SHOULD have to consult Chris Nolan for the final approval. Perhaps the "Azreal" character could be introduced since he took over when Bruce Wayne got his back broken by Bane

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  • Jul 29th 2012 5:19AM

    balvarez26  said...

    It is the one of the greatest trilogies ever. Now his next project man of steel ,is going to be just as good if not better. Nolan is the man. Watch closely for Jonathan closely.

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  • Aug 22nd 2012 10:39PM

    fandad1960  said...

    I will

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  • Jul 28th 2012 6:17PM

    aznttboy  said...

    Overall, the triology was one of the best ever made. But, I felt that there were a lot of little details that were glossed over in The Dark Knight Rises, plus the last cafe scene that I felt was not necessary and diminished the emotion and sacrifice in the final heroic scene of the movie (or it could have been filmed in a way that left a little mystery as to the fate of Batman). However, I will still miss the Batman movies that Christopher Nolan have created. Hopefully his future film endeavors will be just as excellent.

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  • Aug 22nd 2012 10:36PM

    fandad1960  said...

    I disagree with that I think it was unofficially clear that it was happily ever after for Bruce although the kiss was a little embarrassing

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  • Jul 28th 2012 12:13PM

     said...

    I'd like to see a serious rendition of Batman Beyond; one taken seriously and handled appropriately. Unfortunately, a city like future Gotham doesn't yet exist, so I imagine the city would have to be all CGI, which would be lame. I'm no master of conventional effects, but maybe a small-scale replica of the city? Anyway, I'd like to see Batman Beyond realized as a movie (series).

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  • Jul 28th 2012 8:30AM

     said...

    I MIGHT BE YOUR OLDEST FAN - I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THE BATMAN TRILOGY AND HOPE YOU COME UP WITH MORE OF THE SAME YOUNGAT 78

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  • Jul 28th 2012 2:30AM

     said...

    I'm somewhat torn in opinion... But some things are very clear, I'm buying the set on bluray (I've never purchased a single movie), & I'm so happy I wasn't disappointed like with the last superman movie!! Batman has been the same batman I've known since I was a kid!! THANK YOU

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:43PM

    imagebuilders.1  said...

    The best and well said. Thanks for giviing us a bit of your thought process. I have been a batman fan since I was 5, now 52 and you did Bruce, Batman and Gotham city proud. Yes, there will probably always be a need for batman but who knows, he will probably never be presented the way that you did. Kudos, Mr. Nolan. "I raise my glass to you and the awesome cast." Bale, the best batman ever!! Love all of the characters and how they were cast. The Dark Knight really rose even in the midst of tragedy. It connected us and reminded us that evil NEVER prevails. Just like the Dark Knight, We always rise--higer and higer. I know you will continue to do greater things Mr. Nolan. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  • Jul 27th 2012 9:48PM

     said...

    The third movie was a great movie to end the trilogy. As sad as it is to see Nolan leave the franchise, I'm so happy that he was able to give superhero movies the justice they deserved. He combined fantasy with realism, and I'll always think of the second and third films as pinnacles for the genre -and for Hollywood, in general. Whoever takes on these very large shoes to fill, please consider doing a spin-off. :)

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  • Jul 27th 2012 9:20PM

     said...

    why screw up a good thing batman was great, Christopher Nolan did a wonderful job why make more. Its time for Superman now the true American hero to take us all soring through the sky .

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  • Jul 28th 2012 8:24AM

    fandad1960  said...

    That's right

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  • Jul 27th 2012 6:39PM

    reverhart1  said...

    Robin is coming.

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