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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

  • Jul 27th 2012 6:07PM

     said...

    As I watched and listened I thought how much Bain sounded like Sean Connery? Anyone agree? Great cast!

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  • Jul 28th 2012 12:15PM

     said...

    Haha! Yes, I agree. Bane did have some Connery in parts. "I will break you, shonny!"

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  • Jul 27th 2012 5:40PM

     said...

    (Yawn...) Bye.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 5:06PM

    nlaneswan  said...

    I enjoyed the Trilogy--My favorite was Batman Begins because it showed how Batman developed. I did not like a substitute for Katie Holmes. I liked the ending of Batman Rises. Anne Hathaway did an excellent job as Catwoman. I anticipate the advent of Robin with Batman as a consultant. Maybe Nolan could do that. Nancy

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  • Jul 28th 2012 8:37AM

    fandad1960  said...

    I like BB and the TDKR equally and they top TDK. Mention of the Joker would have made the film better as well as cutting Scarecows cameo out. My IMAX experience made up for it. This was a semi great conclusion to the dark knight trilogy. I agree Anne Hathaway impressed us yet again and her last scene with Bruce (minor spoiler) is going to leave you espescially those who nominated TDK for best movie at the 2009 kids choice awards but list to High school musical 3 are going to end up with WTF impression

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  • Jul 27th 2012 5:00PM

     said...

    Christian Bale said he would do Batman as a character again,so it is "written". Justice League is coming,and the "dynamic duo" will be there,Bale & Gordon-Levitt I imagine. Remember who is producing The Man of Steel...

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  • Jul 27th 2012 4:41PM

    Vizman007  said...

    The third was the best Batman to date. They were smart to leave some openings for what may come in the future....Robin? or maybe Nightwing??!!

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  • Jul 27th 2012 4:02PM

     said...

    Just as Casablanca has never been remade (that I know of), I'd like to see the Batman universe left alone UNLESS one can be made as good as the last three. All the Batman movies that came before are forever trivialized by this great trilogy. That is all. (PS: I'd love to see Officer Blake pick up the mantle, though!)

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  • Jul 27th 2012 3:30PM

    monsterswin  said...

    I am not a fan of Nolan's version of Batman. I guess BB was the best of the three but I for one am glad to see him go so we can get someone in who better understands the character of Batman and the world he lives in. Time to center on that comic book sweet spot of Batman from around the early 70's. A little grim and dark, but still a comic book feel to it. Not ridiculous like Tim Burton either. Because of these "realistic" Nolan Batman films we still haven't seen a world where he exists with Superman. It's time to cut out the nonsense and go for it. Marvel did and the Avengers is BY FAR the best comic book movie in many years. Nolan's Batman? Nope. More like James Bond with a Bat guy in it. Or Die Hard......just NOT Batman.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 2:50PM

    johncap305  said...

    Thank you Mr.Nolan,for an amazing trilogy.Almost all sequels are bad,with further sequels even worse.However this doesn't apply to trilogies & series.The Lord of the Rings was awesome, original Star Wars was great,and the Harry Potter series was great.This is the best trilogy ever! I really loved that you didn't rely on CGI effects,and that you kept the story more real than it could have been. I'm sorry these movies have have been marred by some tragedies.Such as Heath's passing,and the shootings in Aurora,Colorado.Heath will always be remembered,and my prayers are with those in Colorado. Thank you for some amazing movies.I look forward to your next adventure.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 2:15PM

    jaypelkey  said...

    now isn't the time for fear doctor... That comes later :). They better keep going with this. I don't really care about the direction, but it's like picking up a really good book that you don't want to end.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 1:13PM

     said...

    This was a great movie and if they don't do another Batman movie then I think they should explore the possibility of a Robin movie with Joseph Gordon Levitt reprising his role as the police officer that apparently becomes Robin, or perhaps he could become the new Batman following the storyline of this movie. It seemed apparent to me that was what this character was being groomed for. Also showing what happens between Selina Kyle and the now apparently retired Batman would be of interest as in the comics the 2 of them came together on the old Earth 2 and had a daughter who followed in her dad's footsteps becoming the heroine called the Huntress.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 12:16PM

     said...

    The greatest Batman and Comic book movie trilogy ever. I absolutely love these movies. There is so much depth and life in the characters and the city that I have never seen before in a comic book movie. You can bet that whatever you do next Mr Nolan I will be waiting with eager anticipation. You are truly the greatest Director of our times.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:58AM

    VIVASEX  said...

    THANK GOD...AND GOOD BYE... NOW MAYBE WE CAN GET ACTION INSTEAD OF A OVER 3 HOUR STORY ON THIS LAST CHAPTER ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ BUT THE END WAS AMAZING.....

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:45AM

     said...

    I feel the movie left off on a good note, my only quirps with the entire ting was that catwoman was not catwoman, she had sharp razor like heels or somehting, but no claws or whip [come on, the whip and claws man thats catwoman]. The other little thing that bugged me was the character who's real name was Robin, um...yeah Unless it was **** Grayson [his version], that part makes no sense. The movie actually left off for a great pick up for a future Justice League Movie. One that could include Catwoman and Batman on the team. Green Latern got a movie and it's set up eprfectly as well for a JL movie pick up. Lets see how the new Superman movie does and if it leaves off for a good pick up. Also it's a shame Joker didn't return, he was alive

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:53AM

     said...

    Give it another watch... You seem like a smart dude... Once the hype wears off you'll start seeing the inconsistencies start piling up... Nolan's fault was trying to make too "REALISTIC" of a universe. He started to over explain things like why Batman in the comic just rocks.... He gave him Gadgets and equipment and rationalized everything to the point that when things can't be explained in a rational normal mundane world... they stick out like a sore thumb.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:45AM

     said...

    They're going to reboot. None of the same actors. It won't be in the same universe as the Nolanverse, and it will be soon to support the Justice League movie.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 1:03PM

    fandad1960  said...

    Can't wait for that

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:31AM

     said...

    I want more Batman...how can you not wanna do more of Batman....I don't understand....!!! Please continue on...we all love Batman...!

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:28AM

    hjrdaisy  said...

    Ok, so , I will try really hard to not spoil anything..... they way The Dark Knight Rises ended leaves it open for a spin off for a character that I was not expecting. I think it would be an interesting series for this particular character because in the Batman universe, they have never tried to do that with this person.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:21AM

    rdcuer00  said...

    Don't even consider a reboot. j_sambula has a great idea to have a Batman who's never seen without the cowl. Still plenty of Batman stories to be told/approaches to be used/villains to be faced. Bale may not want to return or new picture may be too far in the future for that to be practical. WB should handle it like the Bond pictures. Same or different M, Q, Moneypenny, Leiter as situation requires. So, same or different Alfred, Gordon, etc. Just don't backtrack. Keep moving forward, building on existing foundation.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:23AM

     said...

    I agree. We need to be done with redoing what has already been done, and move forward. Stop reinventing the whole thing and just replace whichever actors are necessary... But keep the universe mostly the same and quality high.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 12:30PM

    rdcuer00  said...

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, no matter how wrong it is. And it is hugely in the minority. The character's popularity is stronger than ever, enduring (in more than one medium) despite your protestations to the contrary. Besides, you misinterpreted my point. I didn't even suggest that I am a fan of the Bond pictures, although, generally, I am. My point is that just as those who are running the Bond franchise have found a way to make it work with different actors continuing existing characters, so Warner Bros could choose to do the same with the Batman films. Even Nolan disagrees with you. In the article above, he is quoted as writing: "The Batman had to come back. I suppose he always will.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 12:34PM

    rdcuer00  said...

    My reply of 12:30 is directed, of course, to Karnay. Don't know why it posted under Foreman's, with whom I obviously agree. Too bad this forum does not seem to offer a "delete" option for a writer's own comments. I would have removed the ill-posted remark and attempted (once more) to put it where it belongs.

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  • Jul 27th 2012 11:31AM

     said...

    We don't need Batman anymore like James Bond for Christ's sake.... Seriously... You people are on crack...

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