• 

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 11:21AM

     said...

    DEFINITELY NOT A REBOOT. I can say that much. I am open to just about anything else, as long as it's done well. Nothing will ever be as good as these, I suspect, but hopefully never as bad as the Joel Schumacher ones.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:50AM

     said...

    Maybe they should do what we did and make a Batman Beyond film.. [BLOCKED WEBSITE]

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 11:30AM

     said...

    Batman Beyond "Return of the Joker" unedited destroys anything Nolan has ever done. Including Heath Ledger's Joker performance. Nolan stole the limp from Batman Beyond. In essence he made a really poor remake of Rocky Balboa in a cowl. Worse though is his Batman has no heart. No soul...I must be watching a different movie from everyone who thought this was a great "Comic book/graphic novel film". I fear for the well being of our country.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:49AM

     said...

    Nobody will ever be able to beat this franchise, anyone who tries to make another Batman who isn't Christian Bale, another Joker who isn't Heath Ledger, another Gordon who isn't Gary Oldman, etc. isn't going to make it. It just won't work. I'm not really looking forward to the next Batman movies, but we will see what they do.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 11:26AM

     said...

    Oh it'll work....

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:48AM

     said...

    Chris Nolan has created the Batman stories I yearned to see on the screen from the moment I read the original comics. They are wonderful classics. That said, the Dark Knight should return. But let's not retell the tales of his origin. There is a wealth of stories and characters to bring in. Keep the design, keep the feel of Gotham. Now just tell some great tales. Joseph Gorden Levitt can be a great spinoff too. Tell the past and the future. Tell stories of Selina Kyle before the events of DKR.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:39AM

    TheRealThaddeus  said...

    A true letter to the fans.. respectful and insightful. I have thoroughly enjoyed the trilogy and while I want for more, I understand sometimes we should be fearful of what we ask, for it might not be as we expect. Not since Micheal Keaton has a true Batman been brought to life. Now we have Christian Bale. ...And not since Tim Burton has the darkness of Batman's world been fleshed out in such a wonderful way. Now we have Christopher Nolan. I will cherish the work and meticulous details put into the excellent trilogy, and I mirror the sentiments that the next undertaking of any Batman movie has a hell of a lot to measure up to.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 1:01PM

    fandad1960  said...

    Agree despite the dark knight in 2008 did not live up to how pretty good this one was

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:34AM

    BrownBagSamurai  said...

    *With 'The Dark Knight Rises' now complete, Christopher Nolan and crew have collectively cemented their legacy, in producing the greatest comic-book or graphic novel franchise ever made! At long last,...like the 'The Dark Knight' arisen himself, the cast and crew gave themselves over to an intelligent, gritty, and poignant realization of Gotham and all it's various characters. The films collectively explore the underpinnings of Gotham and it's denizens, through elaborate plots and interconnected subplots. I knew when 'Batman Begins' came out, that I was witnessing a new benchmark in the comic-book/graphic novel movie genre. No one before had captured the "Detective Comics" side of Batman. Thanks to the cast & crew for the wonderful journey!

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:42AM

     said...

    Intelligent? A couple hundred cops walking with guns at their side and night sticks toward and army of mercs with assault rifles? Were those Stormtroopers manning the rocket launchers on the "Bat Tanks"? See comment above about how 00Bats manages to get back from Syria with no money and no contacts and only 15 hours before the bomb explodes. How about the concept that Nolan's Batman has the "Alex Ross" style scars all over his body but can't shrug off a pocket knife sized wound from a 120 lb. girl even in his "Bat-Tactical" armor. How about character motivation? Where's the Joker? Why would Batman be so quick to sleep with Talia if he's so broken up over Dobbs? Why after Catwoman shoots Bane (anti-thesis of Batman) does he run off with her?

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 2:18PM

     said...

    My god, all you've been doing is trolling, just shut up.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:21AM

     said...

    Nolan did a wonderful job and we should leave his series and his universe untouched. Completely separate from Nolan and commit to a new direction. I feel like they need to make a graphic novel/comic type Batman now where Batman is more of a detective. I just read The Long Halloween and that would be an awesome film adaptation. If they went all out and had Batman narrate, bring back a dark, fictitious city of Gotham, bring in some dark crime lords, twisted villains, make it comic-y again. Ppl may argue that it's not "real" or "deeply emotional" but make what you can with it. It can go lot's of ways. Like a mix of Batman Animated and the comics but in a live action, "Sin City-esque" form (w/ less violence obviously). Think about it.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:35AM

     said...

    I agree with you about making Batman a detective... Nolan did nothing to encourage that aspect of the character. He basically created James Bond in a mask. Nothing Batman does in any of the films is of his own merit. Again so many holes in the plots to these movies: If the city was on lock down how did Bane manage to get Batman to some prison in the middle east? With only 15 hours left on the bomb timer how did a penny less Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham from the Middle East in under 11 hours with time to spare? No Alfred, No Gotham contacts to help, No Stealth Bomber to extract him...? Look at the films and see that Nolan's Batman has never successfully stopped any major crimes from taking place. A girl with pocket knife stops him. FAIL!

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 10:10AM

     said...

    can't wait to see the movie, havent been able to since i had neck surgery and it's difficult to look up for long periods of time or the almost 3 hr movie, but it will be seen! love all the movies and am glad and das they are through. but they rocked the 3 they made and walk away proud of what they had accomplished! thanks to all in these 3 amazing movies, we loved them all!

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 9:43AM

     said...

    *Aerial shot of Gotham as John Blake narrates* Bruce Wayne has left Gotham, and I have become its protector *Montage of Lucius, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, and Barbara Gordon* But I am not alone in its defense *The Riddler walks through a prison as the doors of cells open* Though I am the front line of the fight against those who would destroy Gotham *A woman in a lab coat walks down the hallway of a mental institution. As she approaches the camera, a perceptive viewer will notice the nametag "Dr. Quinzel"* But I must be careful, as Nietzsche said, "if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." *A woman's manic giggle is heard as the title cards show* NIGHTWING A FILM BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN SUMMER 2016

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 9:27AM

     said...

    I can't believe so many people are so blinded by the hype surrounding this trilogy... The Dark Knight Rise was a mediocre film at best as were all the films of this series. None of which were good comic book films/adaptions. Everyone was completely blinded by the admirable performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker (although not the most accurate portrayal by comic standards: That belongs to Mark Hamill). If you actually look at the story and situations in these films there are more holes than a pair of fishnet stockings. The biggest is Bane is killed (anti-climatically) by a gun shot: the anti-thesis of Batman and Bruce's character. Yet Bruce is fine with Cat Woman shooting him and runs off with her to live the life he deserves? Very weak.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 9:25AM

    budkin  said...

    Is it dusty in here? My eyes are watering.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 9:11AM

     said...

    The trilogy was fabulous! I hope that they hold off on rebooting for many years... if they must do something, bring Nolan back to tackle Nightwing... the set up is perfect!

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 8:53AM

     said...

    That was, indeed, a classy sendoff, and I'm glad it was Chris Nolan who did this trilogy. The first trilogy was good, but it was a comic book, and I'm uncertain anyone will ever, again, be able to make a story from a comic book that turned out to be so real as this trilogy did. This wasn't a man who started out with super-gadgets, he had to learn how to fight, how to be tough, how to make them; this wasn't a man who began as a super-hero, but someone who came from a privileged life and was able to see, and do something about, the underbelly of the real-world, apart from his own wealth and privilege. Chris Nolan brought that to life, and I am extremely happy that I was able to participate in the world he built.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 8:53AM

     said...

    I say reboot it. Leave Nolan's trilogy be. He would appreciate someone else's creative take on the Caped Crusader mor than someone just trying to build off his success. Schumaker tried to build off of Burton's Batman and look how that turned out.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 27th 2012 6:51AM

     said...

    spinoff:Nightwing!

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 26th 2012 1:00PM

     said...

    Destroy every other batman movie made before Nolan except for the 1st one which was made by Burton and never touch this movie franchise again.

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 26th 2012 3:54PM

    fandad1960  said...

    I resent that

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 26th 2012 9:22AM

    Lisbeth S  said...

    What a magnificent ride! Thank you Christopher Nolan for an awe-inspiring trilogy like no other. Something that will never be duplicated! The bar has been set people!

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment
  • Jul 26th 2012 12:21PM

    fandad1960  said...

    Yeah this one is good as Batman Begins better than The Dark Knight

    Reply

    Characters Remaining: 750
    • E-mail me when someone replies to my comment

Tweets about movies