Chris Nolan Talks Superman; No Joker in Batman 3

Published 5 years ago by , Updated March 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am,

superman batman movie Chris Nolan Talks Superman; No Joker in Batman 3

Up until now, Chris Nolan has been somewhat enigmatic when it comes to discussing his upcoming projects. The acclaimed director has traditionally played it close to the vest while bringing his uniquely visioned films to fruition; and his latest, the upcoming metaphysical heist film, Inception is no exception.

However, ever since Nolan was appointed “Godfather” of the DC movie universe, he has been opening up and sharing his thoughts a bit more – more often than not about the titans of the DC Universe, Batman and Superman.

In 2012, Nolan – along with his brother Jonathan and long-time story collaborator David S. Goyer – will be giving us the “World’s Finest” of superhero movie events: Batman 3 will hit theaters in the summer, with the Nolan-produced Superman reboot The Man of Steel flying in for the holiday season. Needless to say, fanboys are pretty enthused.

But for those of you still unconvinced that Nolan is right man to tackle two of the biggest superheroes there are (in the same year, no less), maybe his words will sway your opinion a bit. The quotes are taken from the upcoming issue of Empire, in which Nolan discusses his career turn as a superhero movie maker. The quote specifically centers on how he and David Goyer were trying to update Superman for the modern age, and what Supes and Bats stand for as heroic icons:

It was the first time I’ve been able to conceive of how you’d address Superman in a modern context I thought it was a really exciting idea. What you have to remember about Batman and Superman is that what makes them the best superhero characters there are, the most beloved after all this time, is the essence of who they were when they were created, when they were first developed. You can’t move too far away from that.

empire inception cover 570x741 Chris Nolan Talks Superman; No Joker in Batman 3

THERE YOU HAVE IT. For those of you out there who didn’t like The Dark Knight and are worried that Nolan is going to “ruin” Superman by trying to “make him all dark and stuff,” you should now take solace in the fact that Nolan believes in keeping these characters connected to their roots.

To me, the quote above indicates that no matter what darkness Superman may face, the man himself will still stand for the heroic values and ideals we know and love him for – just as Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster intended back in the era of America’s Great Depression.


Back when The Dark Knight was still the superhero subject du jour on every fanboy’s mind, I wrote a piece asking whether or not The Joker and Two-Face should return for Batman 3. There were pros and cons to each character returning for the next installment – especially in the case of the Joker, who has been the subject of much controversy ever since the passing of Heath Ledger.

Well, speculation about this subject can now end, because Nolan told Empire quite clearly that no, The Joker will not be returning for Batman 3. No reason was given, other than Nolan’s own explanation that, “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it.

batman 3the joker why so serious Chris Nolan Talks Superman; No Joker in Batman 3

Obviously the death of Heath Ledger had a major impact on Nolan, and the question of whether or not to bring The Joker back must seem like a no-win situation in his eyes. My only question is will they still use the idea of having a “nod to the Joker” in Batman 3 (something I suggested way back). Go HERE if you want to read how that scenario would play out.

How do you feel about Nolan’s take on the character of Superman? How about the news that the Joker won’t be back for Batman 3? Would you still like to see some kind of Joker homage in the film?

Batman 3 will be in theaters on July 20, 2012.

The Man of Steel will fly into theaters during the holiday season of 2012.

Sources: Empire via Collider & Obsessed With Film

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  1. Interesting.. gotta trust the man.

    ps there’s no link in “HERE” yet

    • Heh, yeah [A] – I wanted to post the story quickly. It’s all linked up and pretty now.

      • ;) thanks

  2. Joker is not going to be back and that’s a good thing.. There shouldn’t even be a “nod” or a “wink” since TDK was the Joker’s ultimate plan come to fruition. It would only cheapen things to do that and I can’t see Nolan doing that to Heath’s memory.

    Keep this in writing

    You will NOT see a Joker anywhere in Batman 3

    • Are you serious? Actors are hired to play a role and not to take sole ownership of it, especially when its an established character like THE JOKER. I can understand not bringing the Joker back with another actor out of respect to Ledger but to deny it altogether and not even allow for some kind of nod is not only ridiculous but illogical.

      Just imagine how many great characters we’d loose if we had to follow this policy of never again if that actor can’t again play the role.

      Actors bring characters to life on the screen to entertain us; no matter how good a job they do it does not mean they gain exclusivity of that character.

      Good piece btw Kofi.

      • Exactly! *Any* actor can be replaced. It’s just some are more difficult than others. Hell, many didn’t even want Ledger for the role at first. Now, it’s back to saying “No one can play that character but him/her”, just like when Nicholson (who I consider to be the most over-rated Joker ever).

  3. *Please* no crossover. Superman and Nolan’s Batman wouldn’t work in a film together. Bringing in a character like Superman in the Nolan’s Batman would destroy all the realism Nolan has created for his films. Of course, this will be impossible for the “Justice League” film. I mean, you can’t exclude Batman from the team.

    I’m not surprised that The Joker won’t be in the film, but I’m not happy about it either. Oh well, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be in a fourth film (you know there will be).

    • yeah, but Nolan already said that he wont be directing a fourth Batman, which likely means Christian Bale wont return either.

  4. That kind of sucks that there won’t be a Joker in the next installment of the Batman franchise, but seeing as Nolan was greatly affected by Heath Ledger’s untimely death, I can’t be that surprised. I don’t think they should have any type of homage to the Joker in the next film mainly because he is a villain and that would seem weird in a way. I was hoping to see Jim Carrey get a chance to play the Joker, I still think he’d be perfect for it. He is perfect to deliver the role to us exactly how the Joker was portrayed in the animated series, which was awesome!

    As for Nolan’s involvement with Superman, he’s not the director, so his dark style / vision shouldn’t be a concern for this film until we ultimately know who the director will be. I am of course excited for this film. I hope to see Tom Welling play the part but the chances of that happening seem slim, but I can still hope until the casting is finalized.

  5. I don’t know, it really is a no win. Joker is a HUGE part of Batman. One way or another he will have to come back some day. I do agree it is way to soon, plus you don’t want to make another Dark Knight by using the same villains. I would go with having a sub plot of joker in arkham being treated by Quinn. I think it would be cool and creepy to see Joker slowly get into the head of Harley Quinn and at the end see her brake him out. I would also try to do this without showing Jokers face, for obvious reasons, just need a good voice actor to get the job done. Again this would not me the main plot of the movie, just a side thing to maybe set up for a 4th movie.

    • @Joe great idea. This way we’d get the chance to see cameos of other villains that Nolan will never bring to the forefront.

  6. Still think he shouldn’t be involved with Superman. I’m not a huge TDK fan but I like his other films massively. Especially The Prestige, a film featuring Christian Bale acting!

    Geoff Johns should be writing the new Superman. It just needs a really greater director to really bring Superman to the big screen again. I’m not one of the people who thinks Superman Returns failed because it didn’t have enough fights, I don’t care about fights, just stay true to the characters and what they stand for. Superman is the most important comic book character of all time, and should be treated as such.

    • It’s because WB and DC Entertainment trust Nolan, now that he has revived the Batman series.

      I agree with you on ‘Superman Returns’. I loved the film, and more action would have ruined it for me. I love mindless action flicks, but Superman isn’t about action. Superman has also been about character and SR did that perfectly (IMO).

    • Beckett,

      While I respect your opinion I find your views on Superman somewhat contradictory and here’s why:

      Bryan Singer may have tried to emulate Richard Donner’s Superman with his Superman Returns, but the character in that film is a FAR departure (IMHO) from any “traditional” depiction of Superman.

      Essentially in Singer’s film Superman is an absent father who abandoned Earth to explore space, and when He does return he doesn’t go a sweeping global hero campaign – he spies on Lois and tries to win her back. It was like seeing one of DC’s “Esleworld” one-shots turned into a film. I didn’t feel like they “stayed true to the character” that much. That’s the only issue I have with what you’re saying.

      • Actually he does on a global campaign, there are loads of news reports of Superman doing various saves. But I do agree with your point about Lois, his stalkerish behavior was hideously out of character. As for him being an absent father, Supermam didn’t know about Jason and if he had, maybe he wouldn’t have left in search of krypton.

        The only part of SR I really hate was Bosworths Lois, just awful.

        • “As for him being an absent father, Supermam didn’t know about Jason and if he had, maybe he wouldn’t have left in search of krypton.”

          I disagree with that..I mean in SR he’s floating in the atmosphere and he listening to everyone talking on the planet far below and you tell me he had no knowledge of his unborn son? AN unborn fetal heart begins beating around day 21 of development, Superman and Lois were extremely close by the end of Superman 2, I think he should have heard two heartbeats in Lois, I mean if he can hear everything else why not that? A big hole in the story if you ask me..

          • He didn’t “abandon” Earth he went to see if there was anyone left from his “home world” Kofi. I think abandon is harsh considering all he probably wanted was a chance to see for himself what happened to his home and maybe see if anything else survived the destruction..In the comics lots of kryptonians survived the ex

            I agree with the stalker part..Stalker-Man to the rescue!!

  7. As long as Superman isn’t a stalker with a skeleton fetish who actually gets to punch somebody, that will be a good start.

  8. Superman also didn’t fly when he was first created. I love what Nolan has done with Batman and I’m hurtin’ for another Supes flick…but I’m not too sure about this yet.

  9. I am glad that the joker won’t be back because i feel that Heath Ledger cannot be topped in that role, and its too soon to just replace him. The only way I’d wanna see a nod would be if they made Harley Quinn be the villain in this movie

    • @”i feel that Heath Ledger cannot be topped in that role”

      That’s what people said about Jack Nickolson’s as The Joker.

      • in my opinion i dont want another joker beacuse i felt that heath playd him perfectly. and i’d rather see differnt characters turn up in nolans batman.

  10. Personally I’d like to see Johnny Depp as Edward Nygma aka The Riddler as for a love interst for Bruce Wayne/Batman that’s easy..Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. I never did like the Rachel Dawes character ESPECIALLY in the Dark Knight.

    • I’d say that David Tennant would be *perfect* for The Riddler, that is if he is to include the character.

  11. join the inception spot:

  12. i bet superman/clark kent will make cameo in batman 3!

  13. To Blue Collar Critic

    you are right saying that just because an actor plays a character does not mean he/she gains exclusive rights to the character. However, in Nolan’s universe, Heath Ledger is the Joker. That’s not to say that when some other director comes along 30-40 years from now and decides (God forbid) to remake Batman that he can’t find someone else to play the Joker. But as long as it’s still Nolan directing you won’t see someone else replacing his Joker, even in an homage.

    • Katie Holmes was Rachael Dawes in Nolan’s Batman, but then was replaced with Maggie Gylennhaal for the sequel…just sayin. The Joker will be re-cast, but not as long as Nolan is in charge.

    • @ @BlueCollarCritic

      I nor anyone else is debating whether the Joker character will appear and be portrayed by another actor while Nolan is directing, but to take the stance that the entire TDK story should be ignmored, pretend it didn’t happen; well thats just going wayyyy over board.

      BTW – Cool screen name; but you probably already knew that

      • @BlueCollarCritic

        I think you’re jumping to conclusions: nowhere does it say The Joker “will be ignored.” We don’t need to see the Joker to see the effects of his handiwork in the next film.

        • @Kofi

          You misunderstood my post. I was posting in respone to a reponse to my respone to what BRSaint had orginally posted which was:

          “is not going to be back and that’s a good thing.. There shouldn’t even be a “nod” or a “wink” since TDK was the Joker’s ultimate plan come to fruition. It would only cheapen things to do that and I can’t see Nolan doing that to Heath’s memory.”

          I was not commenting on anything you had said, at least I don’t think so.

  14. If anyone wants an example of how crazy fanboys can be, head over to the Batman 3 IMDb board, where people are adamantly explaining why Christopher Nolan didn’t actually mean “No” when he said “No.”

  15. yea that’s all good stuff i think Ashton Kutcher could do the riddler some justice or maybe even………… THE JOKER!!!!!! In less than a few years the joker will have to come back embrace the fact that heath was to date the best to play the character start the film with an acknowledgment of Heath and move on in a respectfull way, buy allowing the character to live and evolve into possibly something even he would be proud of!!!!

  16. I actually wouldnt mind it if Superman went back to his original power levels for future films .

  17. I personally would like to see a film about Batman, where he is the main character, they’ve never quite managed that yet.

    • @DrSamBeckett

      I’m not saying your wrong but do you see BATMAN BEGAINS as not being Batman centric? There are other Characters but the movie really does focus on Bruce Wayne/Batman with the vilians as secondary characters.

      • Begins is certainly the most Batman centric but it’s mainly Bruce Wayne that has the screentime.

  18. Maybe they could take some unused footage of Heath Ledger originally filmed for The Dark Knight and edit it into a brief cameo/flashback?

  19. Nolan doesn’t actually say much of anything about Superman at all..but he does state you can’t move TOO far away from the essence of the characters but that doesn’t mean he won’t move away from the essence of the character.. Singer never moved too far from the essence of the character either but look how that turned out( I actually like SR)

  20. if they do bring the joker back, he should be like the arkham asylum video game joker. im not sure but didn’t the joker have his face deformed into looking like he was wearing makeup.

  21. I would not mind if The Joker got an honorable mention; I’m sure the late Harvey Dent and his Two-Face rampage/cover-up aftermath will be. But here’s how I call it:

    I would not be upset if Joker showed up and someone replaced Heath. Maggie replaced Katie. Even this year,in another comic book movie franchise, an actor replaced the actor from the previous one. Actors can be recast, for better or for worse.

    But my personal choice is NOT to have The Joker (in the film; a video game tie in or “Gotham Knight II” is another matter) not because I don’t like the character. It’s because we already had The Joker story.

    Let’s say Nolan wanted the main adversary Selina Kyle/Catwoman –heck, I’ll even throw in Rupert Thorne and a Scarecrow cameo. Or if Riddler came to the party. Talia Al Ghul…Hugo Strange…whoever. Where DOES The Joker fit in? Where would the Joker fit in? There’s no time to give him. If nothing else, Joker would be planning the early stages of his next crimewave and/or waiting for the right moment to execute it.

    But would you want the same chess match from The Dark Knight? No, of course not. And you all want The Riddler. Why not give that character (or another) that needed time?

    I’d rather see other characters.
    Y’know what…?
    I don’t want Catwoman either.

  22. “The Dark Knight” was probably the most boring Batman movie I’ve seen. It would have been much more acceptable if about half an hour had been left on the cutting room floor. Heath Ledger did an amazing job on the Joker, but regardless of what happened to him or the character, it’s time to move on and expand Batman’s universe. The same’s true for Superman. It’s time to explore new territory.

  23. Batman has a large rogues gallery,why keep repeating the same characters when theres plenty who have not been done yet,others that fit perfectly with Nolan’s style and others that simply will not make it in while Nolan is directing. I do not want to see Catwoman again,enough of her.Bringing Two Face by just showing him in Arkham being hospitalized would also work. 1)Talia’ Al Ghul: Is the perfect character to bring in at this point,basically a female character physically on par with Batman a love interest is’nt needed but it could be a complex story of her hate towards Batman but helping him in the end. 2)The Riddler: While the Riddler has already been portrayed by Jim Carey,Nolan’s version of The Riddler would be serious not comical and in no way mirror the Joker.I would’nt be surprised if Nolan was to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as The Riddler(which would be incredible,although i’d prefer Jude Law). 3)Bane: Has also made it to the big screen with a very bad portrayal of him.A calculated,intelligent Bane would be the perfect character to retire Nolan’s Batman. Batman being severly injured by Bane,Talia helps heal and recupperate and come back to defeat bane with his wits,would work. Batman may be thought to have perished while redeaming back his respect from the citizens of Gotham but that he chooses to let Gotham think he died while he’s off in Tibet devoting his life to being a monk or something spiritual.Meanwhile someone else takes up his mantle at the end maybe NIGHTWING. Other short cameos of other characters could be shown in Arkham Asylum and or have short throw away fight scenes like FireFly or Deadshot. Lastly the Penguin would definitley work as long as he’s not a direct villain just more of a background character pulling strings and controlling the mob while portraying a descent & clean business man/politician on the outside.

  24. I am a huge fan but if Johnny Depo or Asten Kutcher were Batman 3 I will not watch it.

    I really hope we don’t get more of the same. Seen riddler, catwoman and penguin a dozen times over no interest in seeing it again. We have seen Bain once and he was done completely wrong. I would like to see Bain and Black Mask make the film and possibly if they can fit her in correctly throw in Talia if you need a love interest though it would be nice to have a bat film with out one.

  25. If they do not mention The Joker and the massive effect he had on Gotham it will look and feel like his actions had no impact at all…
    It would realy be a comic book movie, just another chapter that ignores the vilians and disasters of the previous one.
    This was a flaw in TDK when they did not even mention that everyone in the narrows is friggan insane…

    Also, wouldn’t Batman be concerned about how Arkahm Asylum copes with the The Joker?
    He manipulated everyone he came in contact with in TDK and used them for his purpose…
    Make no sense at all if you don’t even mention him.

  26. Christopher Nolan is the cinema version of Neil Adams and Michael Turner was to the DC Comics. Without Nolan I don’t see how Warner Brothers would have ever revived Batman to such great cinema. Frank Miller did his share in the revival of the Batman character but I feel if they want to see Superman and Batman on the movie screen together they need to reference Adams and Turner.

  27. I say TDK ended with Bats on the run vring in Big Blue to bring him in !!

  28. I’m sure that the Green Lantern will have some kind of bearing on the next few DC films that have characters who have ties to JLA Would have to some how commingle as well as stand alone the only thing i see as difficult is how do you keep superman and loose the Brady bunch type of persona that has been the downfall of most efforts to turn him into the superhero everyone is going to want to see

  29. I’d like to see Batman go up against a villain who is physically able to go one on one with him. Unfortunately almost all his villains are physical wimps. Bane was about the only powerful villain he had but bane looked retarded with that wrestlers mask. So I don’t know. Maybe he needs a completely new villain.