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]

TAGS: the dark knight, the dark knight rises

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  1. Wow!!! You can feel how emotional he is and how it is bittersweet for him. But One got to move on and let`s hope in 10 yrs he decides to come back in the Universe. I cannot wait for his next project. Thank You Mr Nolan for a Beautiful Triology. The pressure was huge but you faced it and faced it well. You cannot please everybody. That is the beauty and curse of an Artist in the Art World. But Personally Your work on the Bat Triology was 9.5/10 :)

  2. Some people will probably think is really weird, but as I walked out of the theater from TDKR I though to myself “I want to write Christopher Nolan a thank you letter”. I have been a Batman fan since I was a little kid and seeing this trilogy come to life over the majority of my (then) teenage years was spectacular and moving. I don’t think a director can top what Nolan has done here for a very long time and I truly hope no one tries. I would like to see him do something in the Gotham universe again some day. For now, I will be content with the truly epic and emotional trilogy that he and the cast and crew have put together for us. Super hero films will never be the same after this. Avengers be damned, that film was like watching a math equation of what some exec thought a selling film should be. The Dark Knight trilogy was just something else entirely. Thank you Christopher Nolan. I cannot wait to see what you do next (hopefully it will be something small-scale like Following).

    • Taylor: I never said thank you!
      Nolan: …and you will never have to.

      • :D

      • I tip my cowl to you , Sir.

        +1

    • same man, batman begins came out in 5th grade for me, ive literally grown up with this trilogy. its like my star wars lol but yeah i remember the day when (i hate admitting this) i chose batman and robin over batman begins cus i was a childish moron… chris nolans trilogy is just pure genius i couldnt understand back then haha

    • you stole my thoughts

    • I’m with you on that.

  3. thank you mr. nolan for this trilogy. one of the best trilogies ever

  4. Now that he’s done with Batman the most important question IMO is what’s next for Mr. Nolan?
    I really hope we don’t end up waiting 5yrs for his next picture but so far we’ve haven’t heard anything.
    My hopes are that he does the next Bond film after Skyfall. Some say that he may be waiting for Daniel Craig to step away but I would love to see him play Bond again directed by Nolan.
    As far him coming back to tell another Bruce Wayne story 10-15yrs from now I don’t think so. Batman will already have been re-booted so going back to his version of Gotham won’t fit. And I highly doubt he’d make a Batman within another directors vision. Unless it’s his brothers but I doubt that would even happen.

    • Bane and XXXXX reminded me of Classic monster James Bond villian. Nolan would make a kick ass classic Bond film but i am more excited for his next original project.

      • I feel the same way. If it were Bond or something original I’d take something original without a second of thought.
        It’s just that other than the Howard Huges project which has been shelved a Bond film is the only thing we’ve heard mentioned.
        Whatever happens next I just hope the wait isn’t to long. I’m hoping for an announcement within the next few months. Some may say I’m being greedy and the guy deserves a break but oh well. ;) In my perfect world we’d get a new Christopher Nolan and David Fincher film every 2 years…

      • I read, sometime last year, that a Bond movie is on Nolan’s bucket list.

        • I hope not. I hope Danjaq doesn’t let Nolan anywhere near James Bond.

  5. Notice that no one said anything about Jonathan Nolan not writing another script. It was left strangely open in the end for the next chapter.

    • Yeah, but was anyone really pressing the issue? Jonathan is obviously crucial to the series, but Christopher has always been at the forefront.

  6. the TDKR trilogy stands amongst the most iconic of comicbook movies and as one of the best character studies in film history. An excellent depiction of a character’s beggining, fall and end. I only hope it goes to show more studios that comicbook movies can be so much more than simple minded action-comedies.

  7. I hope when TDKR is released on DVD/Blu Ray, there is a version with Bane’s original voice from the prologue.

    • YEAH! The tone was ruined. So much of Bane’s appeal came from his measured, confident delivery, and the cynical way he commented on people’s lack of interest in him until his mask. Fits entirely with what we now understand of his character, but in the ‘improved’ recording he sounds as if he’s celebrating the notoriety. The menace in his “with no survivors”, completely unsympathetic, now rendered camp by comparison. It was as if he was impatient with the CIA as they slowly realised the deadly trap they’d set themselves. Now he hams it up like there’s a pantomime audience in the plane with him.

      The new stuff took me right out of the movie as soon as it had begun. His opening line was such a good patronising joke at the CIA’s expense, and suddenly it’s as if he’s about to ask the audience if they get it, nudge nudge etc.

      I doubt they’ll change it back, so it’ll have to sit with the other deleted, alternate takes of all time. Things like Wolverine losing it in the kitchen for X2, or the Total Recall joke from Knocked Up. Strange that so much of what makes people want to see a film in the first place gets removed altogether!!

      • It felt like a foreign dub. His voice was especially loud in the prologue scene, which i took as a giant F*** Y** to all the people who complained they couldnt hear/understand him.

  8. avengers was in 3d and batman was in 2d..
    TDKR would have become the highest grosser if it were released in 3d since 3d ticket prices are high..

    • What does that have to do with this article?

    • “its not about the money, its about sending a message”.

      • This :)

        Don’t know how many times I’ve told myself the same thing when it comes to comparing $$$ with this movie.

  9. iHope they leave the trilogy as it is. No Catwoman prequels. No John Blake sequels. The Nolan-verse cannot be continued without Nolan. Wait 6-8 years and reboot the Batman franchise.

  10. I personally think he’s doing the right thing. Not that I wouldn’t be happy to see him do a fourth batman,Cause I would, I’m glad he’s admitting he can’t make a fourth and leaving on a high note,Unlike what happened with the last franchise,Granted It sucks that now we may or may not see another batman of this caliber, but at least we can say there was three..good films in a row,unlike the last ones where it was two good ones and 2 bad ones LOL, The only thing I hope they DON’T DO is REBOOT REBOOT it again that would just be retarded. But if they continue making the batman franchise I personally would like to see an adaptation of Either Batman Beyond or The Dark knight Returns.

    • They should keep making Batman forever. I mean they should kep making Batman movies foever, not making Batman Forever over and over again. That would be ridiculous. Actually though, now that you mention it( I know, you didn’t really mention it, by that I mean, now that I mention it), a serious re-do of Batman Forever would be awesome if you took out the neon circus look, and the corny campiness of it. A Riddler flick, done right would be awesome. They should keep doing Batman Forever.

      ;)

  11. Do you think he’s coming back?
    I hope so

  12. More than anything I am a Batman fan, first and foremost. Always have and always will be. Having said that, I am now a Nolan fan (not fanboy) because he did justice to one of my most beloved characters in any form of media. At times I found the movies (and his vision of Gotham) to be a little too depressing but at the end of it all, I do indeed love his trilogy.

    I’m glad he is done, and hope that this truly is the end for this version of Bats (although I will always miss Bale, but I also said the same of Keaton) if only to allow it to remain in its own trilogy world.

    I look forward to whatever new version/vision comes along. I want to see another great take on the Caped Crusader.

  13. I think Nolan accomplished what he set out to do and brought us an amazing trilogy. I’m sad to see Nolans version of the Batman mythology end imo it was an incredible journey from start to end. Thank you Mr. Nolan for an epic trilogy that will soon be part of my Blu-ray library. I’m looking forward to his next project and hope to see him return someday to the Batman world he created, one can only hope. I’m hoping for an awesome collectors edition trilogy Blu-ray set.

  14. Ther greatest trilogy by the greatest filmmaker IMO ever

  15. When they reboot, I’d like to see Batman go more the detective comics route, more mysteries, more suspense, more Bats using his smarts, and he really needs to go brain vs. brain with the Riddler.

    However, I think he’ll be in Justice League before he gets a solo reboot film.

    • I’d also like to see Batman use more martial arts and not wear body armor next time round, but other than that, I pretty much completely agree with you.

      • Batman wears body armor under his costume in the comics or his coatume is the body armor.

        • There are different costumes in the comics… I’m sure you know that. I don’t know every single version, but I’m certain that the majority of them aren’t made out of some kevlar-esque, heavy duty body suit like in all the movies thus far.
          I want the next Batman’s costume to be made out of material (similar to the new Superman costume) so that he can move and act more fluidly and so that the fighting wouldn’t look so stiff and robotic.

          Not looking to start an argument with you… again ;) – I’m just stating what I would prefer next time round…

          • it still would be Body armor and that type of material doesnt fit Batman’s fighting style. What you are describing is something Nightwing would use, who has a more improvised acrobatic fighting style.

            • http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QMs7FuW-3PQ/TWVxSdFzcnI/AAAAAAAACoo/BiIaX-kY-BI/s1600/Turners_Batman_Commission.jpg
              That doesn’t look like body armor to me…
              Also don’t really understand what you mean when you say flexible material doesn’t fit Batman’s fighting style… Batman is agile, stealthy and extremely fast (not as fast or agile as Nightwing or Robin, but still…) – lightweight material complements those traits much better than heavy kevlar-armor IMO.

              • Pre-Crisis: In Batman #1, itis revealed that there is a ballistic vest sewn into the costume
                Post-Crisis: the bodysuit is not constructed from simple fabric, but from fictional advanced materials that give it resistance to tearing, bullets, electricity and is slighlty fire resistant.

                In other words, Batman wears body armor.

                “Batman is agile, stealthy and extremely fast”
                Yes, Batman is all those things but his personal fighting style is more like a tank. He wants to create a terrifying image of an unstoppable brutal force of nature. Flipping, rolling and diving are not associated with his fighting style. That is more like Nightwing, who is an experienced acrobatic and improve styled fighter.

                • I just did a quick google search and I stand corrected: his costume is made out of special materials (I never knew that seeing as his costume gets torn a lot in the Batman comic books I read).
                  But it’s still fabric is it not?
                  In the movies he wears HEAVY, BULKY armor… not fabric – it’s meant to be like kevlar.
                  In the comics his suit is made out of advanced fictional materials that have special properties, but it still maintains the same characteristics of flexible fabric. Unfortunately, those type of materials don’t exist in the real world (just like Vibranium or Adamantium doesn’t exist either) so in the future Batman movies, they could just explain what the fabric is made out of… like in the other comic book movies.
                  In this case it’s all about how it looks visually, and IMO, the bulky, heavy armored look just doesn’t work well in most scenarios.

      • Good point about less armor, it’d be nice to see Batman move a little smoother, faster, quieter. More like a ninja I suppose, sure dem batarangs are just bat-shaped shuriken! lol

  16. I’m so disappointed that there won’t be a part 4. Everybody obviously loves this Batman trilogy, and I’m pretty sure everyone would go and see a part 4. The movie would make an insane amount of money just like the last two films did.

    I would like to see Robin’s character expanded on (Yes, some may argue that he becomes the new Batman, but from the very moment I saw him on screen, I knew/know that he IS Robin dammit!).

    Bring on the Riddler!

  17. I don’t care what anyone says. If, for some reason, Mr. Nolan lets his mind wander to an idea for a forth film and if the story is right, and he’s allowed to do it, I don’t think he’ll be able to tell himself no.

  18. That was extremely touching. If the Batman doesn’t miss you Mr. Nolan, you can damn well be rest assured your fans sure as hell will. Thank for bringing back Batman from the dead; you’ve changed things, forever.

  19. That was extremely touching. If the Batman doesn’t miss you Mr. Nolan, you can damn well be rest assured your fans sure as hell will. Thank you. You’ve changed things, forever.

  20. Mr. Nolan is VERY careful to say that this is his final “*Batman*” movie, but I don’t think it’s the last of Gotham we will see from him. There are other Heros of Gotham and the final shot from TDKR sets one of them up perfectly! He has left a door open that needs to be explored. If he intended not to come back to Gotham at all, he wouldn’t have ended the film the way he did. You’ll just have to see the ending to know what I’m talking about.

  21. I really hope Nolan is done with these films, I think he told the story he wanted to and I fear that if he makes more under the pressure of WB they will just be a cash grab and ruin the universe he created.

  22. Christopher has great talent and great interests along with it
    and he has to follow his instincts and trust where they lead him.

    You know you’ve done something right when you leave the audience asking for more
    and when you leave the audience asking for more it is the right time to leave the stage.

  23. This is my favorite CBM series and, actually, my favorite film trilogy…and, yes, I am including “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” episodes 4-6 (both of which I absolutely loved and respected as excellent works of visual storytelling). I am not a “Nolanite” (STILL a stupid name for nothing), BUT I do appreciate Nolan’s filmmaking brilliance and his caring pusuit of quality. Batman has always been my favorite comic book character, and Christopher Nolan, et al, delivered a wonderful interpretation of what has always struck me as an amazing, nuanced, intriguing force for justice and his world.

    I know some do not agree, but I actually found that the three films got better as each came to theaters; thus, TDKR is damn-near a perfect film (NOT just CBM) for me and blows aways ANY other Batman OR comic book film. I don’t even like the character of Bane (though I do enjoy reading about him a bit more in the “Suicide Squad” incarnation of the last couple of years), but TDKR’s version (more importantly, Tom Hardy’s portrayal of him) actually fascinated me…I’ll put a more detailed reason than just the actor into my commentary in the Spoiler thread later tonight. Catwoman was pitch-perfect. Bale’s Batman is what’s kept me coming back…along with all of the supporting cast and the provacative storylines.

    Of course, I pity the person who has to provide the next live-action interpretation of the Joker…but I look forward to seeing them do so.

    I easily give this trilogy a 9.999 out of 10. I am both sorry AND happy it’s done, but I will certainly miss my building anticipation of the last few years as the films released…sigh.

    Thank you, Mr. Nolan…now, on to your next project.

    :D

    • Each film built on the foundations of the predecessor, while chronicling the beginning, fall and end/rise of both Barman and Bruce Wayne. All the novies are great but as a trilogy it is w/o a doubt a masterpiece.

      • Exactly.

  24. Chris and David gave us the ultimate Batman experience. People will never ever forget such a box office achievement. And the cast involved in all three projects will always be revered and remembered by everyone. Christian Bale made us all believe that he was the quintessential Dark Knight. He truly did! He wore the cape and cowl with such pride and honor. This is truly a smart way to end his successful run. It would be interesting to see another Batman film of Nolan’s creation in 10 years. Maybe Nolan is setting all of us up for a Batman Beyond film. Who knows? But one thing’s for certain, this won’t be his last run at Batman. Thank you Nolan Brothers and David Goyer!

  25. I hope Nolan helms a Justice League film

  26. That’s a very nice letter.
    —SPOILERS AHEAD—SPOILERS AHEAD—
    -
    -
    “You can either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” – I think that sums up Nolan’s take on Batman perfectly.
    While Batman might not have died, the trilogy did end, and keeping it going just for the sake of keeping it going (because “they left the door open”) would be a shame IMO. This was the perfect ENDING to not only a trilogy of films, but an entire story and in this fan’s opinion, I think it should stay that way… out of respect.
    -
    -
    -

  27. I would see anything Christopher Nolan does, he has not made a single bad movie. And I thank him for making this trilogy one of the best there is, if not the best. Nolan, you are amazing.

    • I thoroughly agree.

  28. This is how (in my opinion) they could continue the Nolan trilogy, whilst still tying it into the Justice League film (which I personally don’t care for, but obviously they have to please fans somehow).

    ‘The Dark Knight Returns’

    Directed by Zack Snyder
    Produced by Christopher Nolan
    Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan

    Bring back Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Joseph Gorden-Levitt

    Have it be like the fourth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ where it’s a sequel to the previous three films, but it is the start of a new story. Like Bruce says “anyone can be Batman. That was the point.” So Christian Bale doesn’t actually need to be in this film, though maybe a cameo or something would be nice. You can argue whether or not Alfred and Catwoman need to be any it… I would say no, it doesn’t bother me, but to each his own.

    I say have Riddler be the main villain. Also, introduce Roman Sionis (he won’t become Black Mask until the fifth or even sixth film). Hugo Strange would be my second choice of villain, though he’d be more of a background villain. And my third villain choice would be Deadshot, who is more a gun for hire, and is hired by Dr. Strange to hunt down the Batman.

    That’s what I would do. Your thoughts????

    • I forgot to say that the film will be released in 2015, once Snyder is finished with Superman.

  29. I think this series has been very awesome, i cant wait to see what he does after tdkr, i would luv a fourth chris nolan batman flick in the future, but im happy its resting in dark glory again like the last one, if there was a fourth i like to see a very different story with the riddler as the main villian, the penguin as a hired gun, and nygma using him for his money and haley quinn as nygmas hired for help type of gal, which could be fun, i cant wait to see the nolan-snyder man of steel, and hope of two more of it, with alot of classic villains from sup’s mythos, and hope of a good green lantern film and the flash and wonder woman and lobo film as well a captain marvel/shazam movie would be fun and a justice league…. in nolan i trust !!!!!

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