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. I have no doubt that goyer and Nolan intended for the joker to be in 3, (cite “we’re destined to do this forever”), but now that’s not an option as Nolan sees it.

    Hmm, Jude Law as riddler, that’s a very cool idea.

  2. So Nolan is definitely right for the Batman series although I-m not sure whether he is right for a Superman re-boot at the same time. But I am glad he has said no Joker for part 3, it just wouldn’t feel right even if it was just a nod to the character.

  3. People don’t seem to understand the term producer. Nolan is the producer of superman not the director. Rest assured superman will not look like a Nolan film because he is not directing.

    • His brother is directing for the first time, how’s that not gonna b Nolan style?

      • Indeed; Jonathan Nolan has no directing experience, and if he’s going to make his directorial debut on a massive blockbuster franchise like Superman, he’s going to need all the guidance from his brother he can get. Christopher Nolan will essentially be directing by proxy.

  4. Bummer indeed. I always thought Nolan would have someone like Joseph Gordon Levitt step in to play one of the most iconic villains in pop-culture history. We know Levitt’s capable of a stellar performance. And I don’t see why it would be disrespectful to Heath Ledger. If anything, it would be an honor and a nod of respect showing how the character that Heath embodied is carried forward into a sequel, even with a new actor, who comes in to play the role AS Heath would have played it. That’s awesomeness right there.

    Leaving The Joker out doesn’t sound good for one major reason: His chaos changed the landscape of Gotham and influenced everything about life in Gotham on a major scale. Leaving him out would make TDK look somewhat pointless. I always wanted to see Batman “seek The Joker’s help” in Arkham (like a Hannibal thing), knowing that only a psychotic madman like The Joker could think in ways like The Riddler (or any other psycho villain). The chemistry in that scene plus the all-famous “I’m only in here because I want to be” line from The Joker would be explosive. Anyway, sad news. I would have loved to see The Joker return…what a shame since we’ll never really see the TRUE vision of the Batman trilogy, the one that would have happened if tragedy had not struck.

    • I completely agree with you, you just can’t get a better hero/villain combination than batman/joker in any medium, and it is a real shame that the one person(nolan)who could have done even more justice to this combination in the next movie is not willing to do so. We probably won’t be seeing this combination for the next probably ten years and even then we don’t know if we will get a director/writer as good as nolan. I hope he changes his mind, but if he doesn’t I will still understand his reasons and at the same time be slightly less excited about the next film because there is a good chance that the film won’t be as good as it could have been with joker in it

  5. Mentioning the Joker would be okay…maybe just a headline in the paper, but life, even in the movies, moves on. Further pursuit of the character would be redundant at this time, just as continuing to dwell on Lex Luther would be pointless.

  6. I think a glimpse of a new actor playing Joker would be great…maybe the epilogue. I don’t think there is any sense in Batman 3 centering around the Joker or 2face, but it would be cool to show he’s (The Joker) still around.

  7. There is no need to see the joker he need only be mentioned. Thank god Nolan knows that

    • I totally agree with Daniel F.

      • I agree with Daniel F too. Screen time is to precious bother with the Joker again. Too many other characters that NEED screen time.

  8. After Dark Knight; I have complete faith in Nolan. I don’t think he will mess up Superman (i.e. make a worse film than Superman Returns) …..i hope someone credible can face Supes, not just a normal human that wants to make land so he gets more money.

    I also hope Batman 3 isn’t just a “Batman vs Villain D & E” as we’ve gotten that twice now. I also hope he doesn’t go down the route that was touched on in the second film with “I wanna hang it up”. Since it’s a trilogy and there’d be a lot of time between the next film (Batman 4 or a reboot); it would be amazing if they killed Batman. Sure he won’t be making any more Batman films. It would be fascinating if Gotham people (the public) killed Batman, actually. Maybe that’s too morbid. But it could be amazing.

    It would’ve been nice to see Batman go to Arkham (or jail) and talk to Joker for a scene (maybe over the new villain); but that’s out the window. No biggie; but a little disappointed.

    I just don’t want to see Robin. I honestly believe he can’t be done right. Sure Batman can hardly handle himself, let alone some punk kid whining at him. Or Freeze. Or Penguin.

    I would however love to see Riddler, or Killer Croc (although how could u take him seriously…)…..i’m still holding out for Scarecrow to be in the third, to send Bats on a drug trip like in last year’s excellent Arkham Asylum game. That should’ve been in Begins……but still….

  9. Although id HATE to wait that long, maybe in 10+years Nolan would feel comfortable again of recasting the Joker role if Nolan & Co still decided to comeback to the franchise starting with The Dark Knight Returns as brought up. I care how good Nolan may be, id hate to wait that long for the Batman franchise to continue, Thing i have to say is etheir leave it to another director’s hands or end it after the 3rd film. Im still not convinced about Nolan’s involvement with Superman reboot. Id like to hear more about what they have planned. To me Superman Returns was good, but could of been better but id rather have them just ignore Superman Returns and still have their ideas for their film take place after Superman 2. Thats just me cause i loved the the original first two films, and yes i did enjoy even Superman 3 & 4 little bit. But like i said, Id rather have Nolan & CO do what Singer did and just ignore his film and make the film excist in the same continuation after Superman 2. They already used Lex and will use him again of-course, aswell as General Zod, so might aswell add brainiac in that same universe. But if reboot with Lex again, MAKE Lex into a corrupt Businessman-like villain as seen on Smallville tv series.

  10. I meant to say (I dont care how good Nolan may be) in last statement above.

  11. man of steel and dark knight returns, GREAT TITLES for both films! what`s going to be some suggestions regarding the scenario around these films, huh? never go for “too many villains” because it will ruin the films? when you say it will ruin the film you mean it`ll ruin the story/script because, it depends mainly the way it`s written, doesn`t it? you will have to know of the fact that, you haven`t seen enough! it`d take longer to write the film or the film will have to be 2 1/2 hours, is that correct! keep debating, how much it will ruin the films with anymore than 1, 2, 3, 4, … villains. i wanna kno!

  12. Id like to see Bane or The riddler as the villians in the next Batman movie.
    But iam against someone so old like Johnny Depp playing the riddler. Poison ivy or catwoman might even be nice to throw into the next batman movie…might i suggest rosario dawson or zoe saldana as a homage to the original Catwoman Eartha Kitt. Both are sexy, exotic and both can kick Batmans ass lol.

  13. Id like to see Bane, treated properly this time of-course but not Riddler again. Id like to see another villains we havnt seen on film yet before. Such as Black Mask & Bane would make a good team to get rid of the Bat while at the sametime the Police is hunting Batman too. Villains not seen yet would be Talia as a love interest who could be used for bruce to fall for while gettin over Rachel only to find out later Talia is only getting close to him to get revenge for the death of her father Ra’s AL Ghoul. Other choices would be Deadshot or Firefly since they made a toy TDK figure verson of him. But anyways i kinda hope they end it after this film, cause id hate to wait 10 years for it to continue and im sure most of you dont want another directot to take over so might aswell end it since he used up Batmans best villain, not that there can always be someone who can top Heath Ledger’s Joker one day, You never know. But i see not point of Nolan draggin the franchise out if he thinks he cant have villains like penguin or Mr. Freeze who are popular villains in the franchise down the road. I feel that when you use a real world version like Nolan’s, it has it limits. Anyways on a final note, in my opinion i wouldnt go as far to say Nolan is the Godfather of the DC movie universe when he’s only directed 2 films which one was only considered a big hit while his first film Batman Begins didnt surpass Burton’s original’s box office draw.

  14. Ver interesting, but never really gave much information away in the article. Just wish the article was a bit longer, with more info, as Nolan (for me) is the best thing to hit film since man invented the wheel.

  15. I’m so glad that The Joker will not be recast. While some may disagree, I feel Heath Ledger is irreplaceable in that role. Ledger as The Joker is tied for my favorite performance by an actor of all time (with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. I have soft spot for psychopaths!).

  16. When it comes to movie makin, to me Nolan is behind James Cameron little bit.

    • IMO, Cameron is miles ahead of Nolan. I have yet to see a film by Cameron that I didn’t love (Yes, including Titanic and Pirahna 2), and the only films I’ve enjoyed from Nolan were his Batman films.

  17. To me Nolan is better than Cameron but to be fair I’ve never been a Cameron fan especially Two horrible films Titanic and Avatar. Only thing I ever enjoyed was T2

  18. I agree with Matt, Cameron’s success to me makes Nolan look like rookie still. TDK was Nolan’s one big hit and people think he’s god. Not even Batman Begins topped Burton’s original Batman film’s gross. I rather enjoyed Titanic along with Aliens, Terminators 1&2, True Lies, Avatar of-course. I wouldnt say Titantic or Avatar were horrible films if both films outgrossed TDK but everyone has their opinions.

  19. I think Nolan and Cameron is both very good.. i mean its not about gross here. avatar grossed out everyone but was it because it was a very good movie? maybe maybe not, i know people who went to see it 3-4 times cause of the effects and i know i’ll be going seeing it again when my cinema gets 3D, just cause i havent experienced it and it would be cool to check it out, especially wiht avatar. the two batman movies Nolans made has been extremely good. even if Begins didnt gross out burtons batman, it was still better. they’ve both made many loveable and good movies and peopel all have they’re differnt opinions so i dont think you should argue about whos better. they’re both extremely talented and have produced a lot of good movies.

  20. Magnus has a point. Dont get me wrong, I liked Nolan’s Batman films just asmuch as Tim Burton’s and thats the fact. I noticed mixed facts about one of my favorite heroes in both of these film franchises that i came to the conclusion that i wouldnt say Burton/Shumacher was best or Nolans version was better because to me both versions of the franchises are great and i wouldnt say one is better than the other. I liked Burton’s mostly for its more darker setting, even Gotham City itself in the first two films looked dark to prefection for a batman flick. Another reason was despite Bruce Wayne’s parents murder by Jack Napier instead of Joe Chill was intended to make the film more interesting since the film opended with Bruce already as Batman etc. Another reason was Burton stayed closer to Joker’s origin except for the Red Hood part from the comics, but other than that he fell into a vat of chemicals and got his grin, skin bleached etc. And till this day while some people blame Joel Schucher for the end of the previous Batman franchise, I blame Warner Bros. more for wanting the franchise to be more family friendly in the first place. That’s why Michael Keaton didnt want to reprise the role in Batman Forever because of the direction WB was wanting to take the franchise, feeling Burton’s Last film was too dark etc. In Batman Begins, i liked the fact that Nolan covered Bruce’s training to become Batman etc. except for who he got his training from and i was hoping id actually see him witness his parents get murdered, especially by Joe Chill, but not in flashbacks. In TDK, Heath Ledger was good but i wouldnt say he was better or could never be topped. There will always be someone better. I Liked his Joker just asmuch as Jack Nicolson’s and i would’nt say Nicolson’s was over the to because his joker was still like the comics, The joker was the kind of villain that would almost always smile, like you never knew what he was gonna do. Near Burton’s original film’s ending, not only was he killing people in the streets, but makin sure they died with a smile which is the worst thing he would do to someone. Ledger’s joker looked like a imposter wearing make-up, and i know, Nolan’s Real world thing, but when people say Nicolson’s Joker was over the top, It was as over the top as Ledger’s Joker dressed up like a nurse in a hospital. Im glad Nolan did a better job with Two-face and wished he didnt kill him off. I kind wished Nolan added in the script Harvey Dent having a dual-personalty problem before he got scarred. Thats all i have to say for now.

    • I disagree about Burton’s Batman and Joker – and I am of the school that does NOT hold Killing Joke as a Joker origin story (which Burton latched onto). In Killing Joke, Joker says that he prefers to remember thing in ‘multiple choice’ or something to that effect, ie. his story he’s telling of his past may or may not be accurate but it’s how he remembers it at that time. Burton latched onto that as Joker’s origin becuase Burton is completely unable to leave anything to the imagination of the viewer (look at any one of Burton’s movies, nothing is left to imterpret from Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Alice, and so on). Nolan actually got it right with the Joker’s stories about his scars changing every time he tells it.

      Both Nolan’s and Burton’s Jokers were based largely on the Killing Joke storyline, but Nolan used it more for the actual story but replacing Gordon with Dent, while Burton just used the Joker’s story of his past to tell the origin.

  21. Wally please don’t use box office as proof that a movie was good. All box office numbers prove is that alot of people watched the movie.

    Nolan has made more than TDK he has many great films. BB was great TDK, Memento, and The Prestiege were all amazing. BB had awesome DVD sales and great legs in the theater it suffered from rebounding from the last horrible franchise. I simply don’t like Camerons films I wouldn’t call most of them horrible they just were not for. However I would call True Lies bad Titanic wad bad and only did so well because of 13 year old girls and Avatar was Awful great sfx but that was all it had going for it. Let’s not use BO numbers because alot of truly bad movies bring in lots of money while alot of classics had a very small earning. U like Cameron I think he’s overrated life goes on.

    • While box office might not be a proof, it certainly is important. yes box office numbers prove that a lot of people watched the movie, but sometihng must have made those people watch it. if it got horrible reviews, people wouldnt watch it. so you see they mean something. the movies must’ve had some elements that made a lot of people watch the movie.

  22. Burton turned down the lighting in batman 89 that wad the only thing dark about his movie. I’ve read the comics for over 20 years and nothing about Jacks performance reminded me of the comic joker. I think Nolans films are lightyears better than Burtons. Burtons movies were basically cartoons.

  23. Actually magnus the reviews for Avatar were not all that good it got very Average reviews at best some very negative ones even. I could also point to the two Transformers films which got hit pretty hard by reviews especially number two and still made alot of money. Alice and wonder land was pretty average but great. Spiderman three and x3 did great for x3 was the best gross of the franchise and the worst film of the franchise. Those are just off the top of my head but ultimately good advertising or a built in fan base brings lots of profit. Take Avatar for example there are alot of hardcore Cameron fans that will flock to any film he makes no matter the content. Add in the action packed trailers and the massive Internet hype machine and sfx hype for sure hit no matter how good the film is and bad reviews couldn’t hold it back. It’s doubtful anyone would ever put Avatar or Titanic in their all time top ten films and yet BO would have u believe they are the two greatest films of all time.

    • well yeah but bad reviews does count. but you also have to take marketing into consideration. if these movies had gotten good reviews i think they’d get bigger numbers. i can use Gamer as an example, action packed trailer, looks really cool right, it got bad reviews and didnt make much money. you can blame reviews or marketing. but yeah i get your point:)

  24. Sorry but i just dont have the imagination like so many here that might think Nolan is WB’s Godfather of the DC movie Universe when he’s only had two films out, One considered a huge hit based on one’s performance Namely Joker whether they deny it or not. Oh Batman 3 is on the way, but not hin said about about Chris directing Superman reboot but seems to me he’s getting more credit than his brother already for that. Id be impressed if Batman can top TDK, best of luck on that one though, Must be a 2nd sequel curse or somthing, or people are too picky about films.

  25. Sorry, I meant to say Chris’s involvement in Superman reboot.

  26. Why do I see Brandon Roth as superman at the beggining of this article,opposite batman?

  27. I thought grosses made no differance. Theres hardcore fans who flock to whatever Nolan makes obviously. Everyone i i talked to, both in person and on the net agreed to some intent that the TDK’s success was little exaggerated, mostly due to one character in the movie, namely Joker, then the passing of Heath Ledger etc. I had people say the ending was lousy despite mostly being good. I never said Titanic or Avatar were the greatest films of all time, only stated how i enjoyed them along with other films.