Christopher Nolan Says Goodbye to the ‘Dark Knight’ Franchise

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 10:00 pm,

While it may not have ousted The Avengers as the highest box office opening of the summer movie season, Christopher Nolan’s final Batman installment, The Dark Knight Rises, still culled plenty of moviegoers this past weekend. Bringing in over $160 million in box office ticket sales ($28 million at midnight alone), the film managed to top opening weekend totals for The Dark Knight (which started with $158 million) – landing the film at number three for biggest opening weekends (with The Avengers and Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in first and second place, respectively).

There’s no telling how much money a Nolan-helmed fourth film in the series would make – since, unfortunately, the fan-favorite director is done with Batman. While some moviegoers remain skeptical that the director has actually hung-up his batcape and mask, Nolan has been very clear about The Dark Knight Rises (read our review) serving as his final Batman film – a point he sums up succinctly in a foreword to The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy book.

It’s hard to imagine many movie fans who haven’t seen (or purchased) similar art books for their most-beloved films (my favorite: Mars Attacks: The Art of the Movie) but for anyone unfamiliar with the overall “art book” concept, here’s the official synopsis for The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy:

The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy tells the complete behind-the-scenes story of [Nolan's Batman] films. Based on in-depth interviews with Nolan and all of the films’ key cast and crew—including cowriters David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan, cinematographer Wally Pfister, and more—the book reveals the creative process behind the epic Dark Knight Trilogy, supported by lavish art and never-before-seen photography.

As mentioned, Nolan used the book’s release as an opportunity to reflect on the process of bringing Batman to the big screen three times – as well as what kept the director coming back again and again:

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.

The letter is a candid inside look into Nolan’s head, most notably why he kept longing to revisit the character – especially after the phenomenal success of his entirely original creation, Inception. Also interesting is the director’s reluctance toward sequels (and threequels) – no wonder he’s been so adamant about The Dark Knight Rises serving as a cap to the trilogy.

The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy 570x727 Christopher Nolan Says Goodbye to the Dark Knight Franchise

That said, maybe there’s hope that we’ll see Nolan at the helm of another Batman movie – considering he openly admits in the letter that he, and Bruce Wayne, were wrong: “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.” If Batman will always be needed, will Nolan truly be able to walk away from the character forever – or will he keep obsessing over the character (not to mention that rogue’s gallery of potential villains)?

Ultimately, time will tell but it’s safe to assume the director is done (for now). It’s certainly possible that, given the right idea, Nolan could return somewhere down the line but don’t expect it to be anytime in the near future. Additionally, considering DC’s plans for an Avengers-like Justice League shared universe, it’s extremely likely that the next time we see Batman, it’ll be with a different actor donning the cape – and a different director behind the lens.

Please Do Not discuss Dark Knight Rises SPOILERS here! For discussion of the film, head over to our Dark Knight Rises SPOILER DISCUSSION page.

You can order The Art and Making of The Dark Knight TrilogyHERE.

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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on The Dark Knight Rises as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Dark Knight Rises is now open in U.S. theaters (2D and IMAX).

Source: Super Hero Hype [via Coming Soon]

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TAGS: the dark knight, the dark knight rises

88 Comments

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  1. I was enjoying writing my little thank you so much that I forgot one very important point: While “The Avengers” accomplished something great by successfully putting together the basis for a Marvel cinematic universe (the other, individual films leading into it), The Dark Knight trilogy has now accomplished something just as wonderfully incredible. The DKT is the first CBM trilogy that beautifully and effectively takes the hero through a complete story arc, start to finish.

    Raimi’s “Spider-Man”, “X-Men”, “Blade”, “Fantastic Four”, “Iron Man”, Burton/Schumacher’s “Batman”, “Superman”, and “Hellboy”, whether just two movies or the full trilogy-three, all had problems and varying degrees of success. People found them to have one strong film (MAYBE two), always with a significant drop in quality, artistry, etc.

    Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy has been, for the most part recognized, as a brilliant all-around series (yes, I realize TDKR is just now out in theaters, but it does seem, with a fair amount of certainty, that its success will continue).

    I am curious to see if “The Avengers”, the “Spider-Man” reboot, “Man of Steel”, and the probable “JLA” trilogies will be able to do as well.

    We shall hope and see…

    • Archaeon
      Yea, im thoroughly hoping Superman has an equally impressive character arc in his next outing(s). In the long run I hope more studios will be inspired to put more care and effort in their comicbook films. If comicbooks can win prestigous literary awards, comicbook movies should be able to win (or atleast be considered for) prestigous cinematic awards.

      • Ignur Rant…

        Exactly…I still consider it amusing, perfect, and sad (simultaneously) that Neil Gaiman won the “World Fantasy Award” for his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” one-shot issue of his DC/Vertigo “Sandman” series. Of course, right after that victory, the idiots at the awards changed the rules to prevent any other comic books/graphic novels from winning…

    • I really hope del Toro makes a third Hellboy movie to conclude the story. I think it could go down as another good trilogy.

  2. Even though half of me is hugely disappointed with TDKR, I still want to thank Nolan. I grew up with these films. I feel like this is what people felt watching the original Star Wars trilogy back in the day. I want to see Nolan come back for a fourth one, but I’m also happy with him ending it on a high note.

    These 3 films will live on with me forever! He accomplished something incredible by creating three good to masterpiece level films. Something no other superhero trilogy/series has been able to do. Deliver on every installment.

    It almost made me tear up reading his letter, jaja. It JUST now hit me, it’s over. Goodbye Batman !!!

  3. It’s a shame the actions of a lone nut kept people from turning up on opening weekend but nevertheless, thank you Nolan and all who were involved in these masterpieces of cinema.

    • I know it kind of makes me feel the Movie theater wont be the same or maybe its just me overreacting …lol

  4. HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE…ITS IN SPANISH, SO TRANSLATE IT, READ IT AND PASS IT ALONG.
    http://www.manganzon.com/resenas-de-cine/2298-analisis-la-tragedia-de-the-dark-knight-rises-nolan-no-tiene-la-culpa.html

  5. I’ve seen all of Nolan’s films. His capability and imagination is unquestionable. I get that! But letting him take on the Justice League film might not be a wise decision. Unlike Joss Whedon, Nolan’s forte would be individual characters. Which is why I’m really looking forward to the Man of Steel film! The Justice League project should be given to, if I may quote Thomas Wayne, much better men… more interested men. And the only person that could pull it off would be Bruce Timm. He’s just as talented and brilliant as Nolan, if given the chance! He knows each Justice League member like the back of his hand and will be able to properly set the tone. I really can’t wait for DCU to Basara, Basara, Hei, Hei, Basara, Basara!

    • Bruce Timm is a life long animated director. To say he should helm a 200 million dollar movie like the Justice League is idiotic.

      • Agreed. I mean maybe he could be brought on as story supervisor or script contributor, but you need someone who has experience with working in live action films and with big cast to make it a sucess. However, if you want to get the Avengers magic you also need someone who is a story teller as much as a director.

        Joss Whedon was so perfect for The Avengers because he knows story as well as action and his television shows were basically perfect practice for him to be able to interweave six big personalities in one film. I think under anyone else it could have turned into “Iron man and Friends” instead of the Avengers but Joss made the film an ensemble where all characters and their superhero egos were serviced and complemented one another.

        Im honestly not sure who would make a good Justice League Director but I hope who ever it is can give us worthwhile a film as The Avengers.

  6. Great read. I love how passionate he is about it. But he could not have made himself more clear on not doing a fourth one. So it’s strange that people still persist. The worst thing he could do is do a fourth.

  7. he did a great job with Batman trilogy I`m looking forward for his next projects

  8. now its time for nolan to make a death note movie.

  9. I saw TDKR yesterday afternoon. AWESOME!! Thank you Mr. Nolan for a trilogy of films I will always treaure. LONG LIVE THE DARK KNIGHT!!!

  10. ya probably buying that, looks like the perfect coffee table book…also now that TDKR is out the countdown begins until the collector edition blu ray is released…i have not bought any of the movies yet waiting for the set.

  11. If you devotes yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely, A legend, Mr. Nolan, u already a legend.

  12. Great job Nolan, he laid down a great foundation for others but for them to not be copy cats and bring back better versions of The Riddler, Penguin, and other characters not done or done well yet. Moving on now, WARNER BROS. you need to bring on WONDER WOMAN next after MOS. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, DC’ BIG THREE.

  13. So, this british government-employee filmmaker with the fake fabricated American ancestry, history and biography, and the embarrassingly fake and fraudulent Wikipedia entry, is ending the insipidly sadistically stupid and heinously insulting mess that is the recent Batman movie series, the one with the ridiculously inflated Hollywood-accounting box-office figures. Is anyone supposed to be feeling sad about this? You can be safe to say America, at least, is saying “get lost” and “good riddance”.

    • Yikes…You really need to stop using all of those illegal drugs. They’re affecting you quite adversely…Frightening stuff, truly frightening.

      Oh, and don’t imagine, in the slightest, that you speak for America…or is that part of the drug-induced delusion?!?

      :O

      • He’s not using drugs, you illegal chinky troll shitwit. He’s telling it the way it is which is more than we’ll ever get from a holey little troll like you, “Archaeon”. Your lezbo old queen must get really upset at the truth about you and your chinky little island.

        Tell me, what is Archaeon? What does that mean? Does that mean pansy boylicker on gayboy island, troll? I thought it was something like that. Enjoy your dead queen games, chinky.

        • Ahhh, an intellectual, I see…

          Heh-heh…too funny..

          • It’s funny cuz that’s the same troll with a different nickname

        • Oh, and “Archaeon” is a combination of the word for an ancient type of rock and the name of a dinosaur-era feathered reptile known as archaeopteryx.

          Any other questions, Sherlock?

  14. Been reading a bunch of the comics lately and I don’t know what people are talking about, he definitely has some kind of protective armor on under his costume.

    But anyway in the a reboot I’d like to see a bigger Batman, and he doesn’t have be a ninja. He just needs to be bigger, more intimidating, tough as nails, and smarter than everyone.

  15. The Dark Knight Trilogy from Christopher Nolan is nothing less than monumental. Sample not just for this genre.

    As for the future: both Nolan and Snyder are holding cementhard on their opinion, that their trilogys will never be allowed by them to be brought in any kind of Juistice Leahue-film. And I agree with them on this 100%

    And a re-reboot of Batman would also be pointless. Nolan used everything with as much potential as it would have in the real world. It’s not a matter of doing different version of like that. It’s about creating the definiative incarnation of a human story.

    If Warner Brothers really(-very-so-badly-cannot-stand-the-opposite-must) hast to make the name activly profiting somehow in motion-picture-format, I see only 1 suitable possibility, that would not be offnsive towards the fans, and the makers of a DKT: a modern TV-series (unlike the one in the 60s). But even this if the name has to produce financial moneymountains, as I’m pretty sure the studio does want it to be.

  16. Well done Mr. Nolan

  17. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this topic here on your internet site.

  18. good riddens to chris nolan’s preferred vision of batman, i hope that snyder’s batman is a lot better than nolan’s batman. chris nolan actually didnt even want batman to have a cape and had to be convinced that he needed it.

  19. We need another part of batman. the climax of dark knight rises says it …….
    “BATMAN WITH ROBIN AND CATWOMEN”.
    please take our view into consideration Nolan……..

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