Michael Caine Explains ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Ending; Interested in ‘Justice League’ Return

Published 2 years ago by

Dark Knight Rises Alfred Justice League Movie Michael Caine Explains Dark Knight Rises Ending; Interested in Justice League Return

Warning: The following article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the ending of The Dark Knight Rises.

After the release of The Dark Knight Rises, speculation immediately centered around the post-film escapades of John “Robin” Blake (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Would the character take-on the recently vacated role of Gotham’s protector as Batman, Nightwing, Robin, or some combination of the three?

Months later and we’re no closer to a concrete answer regarding the future adventures of John Blake but a recent interview with actor Michael Caine has shed light on the finale’s other point of contention: did now-retired butler Alfred actually see Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle alive and well at that cafe in Florence or was he dreaming?

Most moviegoers took the Florence cafe scene at face value, accepting that Bruce Wayne had faked his own death in order to disappear into regular life, and pass the Gotham superhero role to Blake. An equally telling exchange between Lucius Fox and a set of Wayne Enterprises engineers discussing Wayne’s implementation of a life-saving software patch for The Bat vehicle further corroborates a literal interpretation of Alfred’s “Happily Ever After” encounter in Florence.

Still, plenty of viewers weren’t convinced – possibly still reeling from Nolan’s open-ended Inception conclusion (read our explanation of that ending) – refusing to accept that Wayne made it out of Gotham alive. In this interpretation of the ending, Alfred wouldn’t actually see his former master and friend, he was merely seeing what he wanted to see.

Dark Knight Rises Cafe Scene Michael Caine Explains Dark Knight Rises Ending; Interested in Justice League Return

However, Caine has officially set the record straight (in an interview with Hero Complex):

They were there. They were real. There was no imagination. They were real and he was with Anne, the cat lady, and I was happy ever after for him as I told him during the picture.

Caine doesn’t really elaborate on any conversations with Nolan about the scene – so it’s not entirely clear whether or not this is solely the actor’s take on the ending or a definitive explanation. However, while some viewers will certainly disagree, Caine’s explanation is not that surprising – given that, as mentioned, the evidence certainly points to the interpretation that Wayne survived and, at the very least, vacationed with Catwoman to Europe.

That said, what might surprise fans of the series is the possibility that Caine is interested in reprising his Alfred role in the Justice League movie (or future Batman installments) – even if Nolan isn’t directing. When asked directly about the possibility of an Alfred appearance in Justice League, the actor stated:

I said to Chris, “If they do it again and they ask me to be the Butler, I’m going to do it.” He said, “I want 10%.”

Given that Caine tosses in Nolan’s tongue-in-cheek 10% finder’s fee line, it’s clear that the actor is open to the idea of returning for the role and, unlike Bale, doesn’t see a new Batman director or possibly a new Justice League team-up storyline as a deal-breaker.

JGL 2 Michael Caine Explains Dark Knight Rises Ending; Interested in Justice League Return

How exactly Wayne’s butler would fit into the larger Justice League universe, which will also be tasked with introducing an iconic team of superheroes, makes for fun speculation but, at this point, there’s no reason to think he’s even being considered. Similarly, Nolan has directly stated that he is not coming back for future Batman installments – though that doesn’t necessarily prevent DC from continuing to tell stories in the Batman Begins movie universe.

Maybe John Blake will recruit Alfred to help him turn on the bat computer?


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Justice League as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Dark Knight Rises is currently available on DVD/Blu-ray.

Justice League is scheduled for release in 2015.

Source: Hero Complex

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  1. Do a justice league without batman. Have Blake play nightwing with Caine as his guide. Boom. Done.

    I bet after the movie grosses Avengers #, you can bring Bale back for a crazy continued story, almost comic book twist-ish

    • ^ no bale for the first one. jgl as nightwing and maybe hathaway. There part is going to have to be dark. It has to be somewhat like nolan’s world if the bring back Alfred/JGL/Hathaway. NO bale please for now. maybe an end credits scene.

      • their*

    • I am looking forward to seeing the Justice League movie. Nevertheless, there is no way in hell that JL is going to do Avengers numbers.

      • depends on superman. If Superman is really really good, i can see the hype for JL in epic proportions

    • A JLA movie without Batman! Are you stupid?

      • kick rocks

  2. At the end when Wayne’s will was being distributed, one of the lawyers fusses about the pearls going missing. Skip to the cafe scene and we see Selina Kyle wearing the pearls. There were a lot of loose ends that were tied up in regards to Wayne’s life or death – just gotta pay close attention to the dialogue.

    • Good catch.

  3. Exactly… Have Nightwing take up the slack till WB dumps a truckload of money on Bale’s doorstep…

  4. The ending is a non-issue. There is no ambiguity.

  5. now that argument can finally end for ppl that said bruce died at the end

    • +1

    • Bruce died at the end.

      • Bruce lived at the end. It’s simple.

  6. The series is over, deal with it

    When Batman shows up in the Justice League universe, expect nothing but influence to transition between series.

    Bale, Levitt, Hathaway, Caine, it doesnt matter, none of them will be back. Or if they do, they will be playing different characters (Levitt as Flash?) The great thing about the Nolan movies were that they were set in reality, away from comic book logic. How would characters like Bane and Joker stand up against other character that use magic and alien powers. It would completely undo the idea Nolan tried to create with his series. That these characters supersede their comic book origins and become real and relatable. While in the comic books, magic and aliens are common elements in Batman, in the Nolan films, they stayed away from fantasy. Yes they dabbled in science fiction, but no fantasy.

    When the Justice League movie comes out, they need to separate the Nolan Batman from one that talks to superman. That means new actors and new continuity. I love the Nolan films (not so much the third) but they are their own world. Its time to move on to the next depiction of Batman

    • Very well said! I love the Dark Knight Trilogy, even the last one, but I do not want them to drag out the series any further. Nolan wanted it all ended with The Dark Knight Rises, and I definitely think the director’s opinion should be final. After all, he made the movies.

      The next Batman should have a similar tone to Nolan’s movies, very dark and gritty, because that works well for Batman. However, it should not be set in a world so incredibly realistic that Superman and Wonder Woman can’t exist. I’ve always loved the idea of the next Batman being inspired by the Arkham Asylum/City games. Theirs is a great take on Batman.

      • Arkham Asylum Batman could be the way to go. We could finally see bats live up to the world’s greatest detective name but he’ll also have to snap a few legs.

      • Gods, I wish. Arkham Batman is the perfect mix of realism and comicbooky. The look is great and could still fit in with other characters.

        • I thought the comics generally deal with this in excellent fashion.

  7. so he ends up going out with the woman that stole from him and ‘deceived’ him into getting his back ‘snapped’… makes sense.

    • Yes, it does make sense…to those of us who actually watched the film WITHOUT a chip on our shoulders.

      • Wuz that?

    • Dont forget she helped him save the city…

    • yes. her whole motivation, as he voices he knows throughout the movie, is that she wants a clean slate. he helps her get that, and she helps him save Gotham. So she gets a clean slate with him, and they have epic battle make-up sex

  8. I really hope JGL is Nightwing in the JL movie, even if it freaks the fanboys out. I don’t think anyone wants to see Batman rebooted this soon after a successful Batman series. Plus the success of JL will depend on it not trying to be the same as the Avengers. The two superhero mash ups should stand alone as much as possible and Nightwing on the team would help with that.

  9. I acknowledge that bye showing Bruce and Selina at the Cafe it proves that Alfred’s wish came true but I still subscribe to the theory that the scene would have had a better emotional punch if instead of showing Bruce and Selina when Alfred looked up and smiled that Nolan should have cut to black right there…
    Of course if he did do that people would have been debating about it for years but IMO that wouldn’t really hurt the film.

  10. I wholeheartedly approve of Caine coming back in the reboot. The Bond series brought back M and it worked.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire cast of Inception showed up JL

      • What and tell them that they are all really sitting in a bedroom attached to a machine keeping them in a shared dream world and where they are attached to the machine in the first place they are actually sat in a mental institution undergoing dream therapy gone wrong? They need to go deeper!

  11. I think Nolan ended the Batman story beautifully in respect of the character and the creator of the character Bob Kane. This is an ending you would have never seen in the comics and Nolan gave us all a chance to see it on the big screen a well done ending for all depictions of Batman to come to life on the big screen. I don’t think this is something that would have crossed any director’s mind on bringing an end to the dark knight.

    • nolans job is not finished to complete the the batman epic their must be a batman and robin film with bale in it . writing the script would be easy putting on film and getting everyone bac k on board is work but not to make that film would be a mistake

      • Nolan’s job IS finished. He made a TRILOGY with a brilliant beginning, middle, and end. A fourth film would negate much of the effective cohesion of the first three films. It’s over.

  12. A reboot of BATMAN is definately in order ( since I didn’t care for Nolan’s Batcrap…sorry…we have enough reality as it is) I don’t care …as long as it’s more in league with Batman: The Animated Series or THE BATMAN animated series…I’ll be happy.
    2) You have to have Batman as part as the JL. No Nightwing.
    3) I can see Alfred being the butler for the JL in the Hall of Justice or watchtower ( If he doesn’t get space sick )
    4) We as fans/vewiers will never be satified with comic book adaptions.

    • Funny…I, as a fan/viewer (along with MANY others) felt immensely satisfied with THIS particular adaptation of Batman. I look forward to the the next interpretation of the character, but this one was excellent. Your #4 is false as a general statement. Of course, the first three are your opinions, thus, viable. In fact, I rather like the idea of #3, myself.

    • Its less then $30 on Amazon.

    • $27 or $28 at Walmart

  13. Co writer and writer said it was open ended. Actor says it was not. Who will I listen to here?

    • Where did your read this?

    • Jonah says everything is open ended. That’s how he gets people talking about his movies.

      Caine is not the only one who has confirmed that Bruce is alive. JGL also confirmed it on Letterman when he was there to promote Looper.

  14. The only problem I have with the whole Blake/Batman thing is that ALL of Bruces proteges have had direct training from him. Blake is just a cop, at least as it seems. To think he will just jump to Batman, or Robin for that matter is silly!

  15. not making a batmanand robin film with bale in it would not complete the batman series

    • It’s already complete.

  16. Batman in comic book latex us fast and agile. His rubber leather movie body armor makes Batman slow and cumbersome on film. Justice League needs a fast youthful nightwing-esque Batman ala amazing Spiderman manuverability.

    • @ steverogers

      I been saying somthing like that on how Batman’s costume should be made outta the same material as Cavill’s so the actor would be more faster & agile as the character would be than in a rubber costume. Afterall in Justice League, outta all of them he’s the most vulnerable one & needs to be seen that way as maybe get easy gash in the arm or shot once. Like Spidey being Shot in the reboot, you see a hero struggle & the audience struggles with him makes for a good movie because they still push themselves to do what needs to be done.

  17. I just realized, after Keaton, kilmer, Clooney, bale, and even Adam West. I have yet to see BATMAN on film. Every actor gives their version of Wayne, yet I’m sure none of them know Batman the way fans do. Keaton played the best Bruce Wayne in my opinion. Bale has been the best actor to portray Bruce, but this summet Bale, JGL and Gary Oldman were promoting Rises at the mtv awards, and Gordon-levitt showed more excitement and passion for being apart of Rises than any actor in a comic book film. Not sure if he was excited for being.g apart of a Nolan film, Bale film, or Batman film, but after seeing JGL’s exuberance, I thought, why hasn’t he been here all along? #JGLforJL

    • I disagree no incarnation of batman will be perfect. Since batman has so many skills like fighting, gadgets, detective, elusiveness and sneakyness. As a director you can choose any incarnation, that ud like. Bale imo is the best batman cause he has flaws and is a goos fighter that is smart in combat. While keaton is very smooth and almost, comical as bruce yet is much better with gadgets.

    • Batman is to diverse to ever have a perfect incarnation. Imo

    • And i agree about JGL he showed a lot of excitment on stage as if he was in awe of oldman and bale it was really great to see. Love the kids chops and enthusiasm

    • Well, you said that Keaton plays the best Bruce Wayne and then you wrote that Bale played the best Bruce…..

  18. Should JGL be a rebooted Bats, or someone else entirely? I still see him as a gothamite.

  19. I just re watched Rises, and I think Bale might have lost steam after Ledger passed. Because, Begins and TDK, Bale was in another league, like truly amazing acting. Rises he seemed, uninterested imo.

    • I think a lot of it has to do with the way he was written the tired washed up batman. Imo caine and levitt stole the show. But ledger was his friend so it may have affected him.

    • I was under the impression that he did his best (out of the three) in TDKR.

  20. Your right tho, Trey, we will never have a perfect Batman. (tear)

    • We have the perfect voice with Conroy, but not the perfect Batman overall

  21. I see JGL as Robin whether than Batman. Im hoping the next reboot will have Robin again as he should be given done proper a 2nd time around & make the turn into Nightwing down the road.

  22. for Justice League movie have Batman play a far more understated role than whats expected of him, in true batman fashion have him lurk in the shadows for most of the movie not sayin anything untill maybe the smoke clears in the final scenes

    it would make sense considering Batman’s obvious disadvantages compared to the rest of the heroes, he’s also smart enough to help without ever having to be seen, very Ninja like for the better part of the movie

    not what fans might want but it makes a great deal of sense if they want to keep Batman grounded

    • The Silent Bob of the DC universe.

  23. FINALLY. Now we can put all those stupid “It was all in his imagination” theories to rest. I think the theorists are WAY too much into Inception. It’s also quite an affront to Nolan to suggest that he’d just re-use the same twist or the same type of ending in very different stories like these.

    In Inception, which was all about losing grasp of what was real and was wasn’t, the imposed ambiguity at the end was to throw the audience a curve ball and make them second-guess what they’d seen, in line with the thematic lines of the movie – AND, as ScreenRant pointed out, it’s also to draw the conclusion that reality is what people choose, and Cobb chose his children as ‘his reality’, and that’s all that matters to him.

    In TDKR on the other hand, where we never hit on the theme of delusion, or illusion, or dreams, why on earth is there a story or thematic need to have Alfred be hallucinating at the end? It just makes no sense, unless you just intended to say that the whole thing ends in tragedy and that Alfred lapses into fantasy as a result. But then that ignores the various other little points the ending brings up – the missing pearls, the fixed auto-pilot – that would be tougher to explain if the ending weren’t real.

  24. To the people who say do Justice League without Batman…

    Batman is the only reason I would watch a Justice League film. It’s always been that way with the animated series when I favored BTAS, TNBA, and Batman Beyond over Superman and Justice League. I would only watch Justice League if Batman was in it

  25. JGL looks like the Keebler Elf in that picture.

  26. If Caine is willing to come back as Alfred, they will find a way to bring back Bale or Levitt (most likely Levitt because you know he is itching to do it)

    As a person who LOVED TDKR and the trilogy and think that it ended perfectly, I wouldn’t mind seeing this. Nolan’s universe was so perfect that I just don’t want to see it end.

    • Eh…Batman is supposed to be realistic to an extent. He is arguably the most realistic, aside from Peter Parker and Iron Man.

      But his villains? Eh…Joker fell into a vat of acid as Red Hood (no one is sure what Batman’s role in it was, but he always turns up in one of Joker’s stories and the most traditional one is falling/knocked down into a vat of acid), Mr. Freeze just wants to fix his wife and suffered from a horrible accident (perhaps an inspiration for Raimi’s Doc Ock in SM2), Penguin is a deformed crime lord, Bane is a highly intellectual strategist who uses a superpowerful substance to give him incredible strength, Ra’s Al Ghul is a mentally corrupted warrior who thinks he can save the world and literally won’t die until he does, Two-Face is half the result of what happened to Joker, Killer Croc was born with reptilian like characteristics and embraced them.

      I really could go on and on to say there is a hint of realism in all of them, but it’s the fiction that makes them unique IMO. Even Batman is fictional to an extent. Nolan’s universe really didn’t do much for me personally. I mean, Heath Ledger did a marvelous job as The Joker, but the way Joker came off in TDK just seemed so…off, and I always imagined the perfect Joker being someone similar to Hamill’s Joker.

      So I do have to say I’d prefer to at least widen the future’s imagination and have people who watch those movies embrace Batman for the character that he is and the universe he lives in. A universe that isn’t our own

      • Well I thought Ledger’s Joker was spot on: crazy, intellectual, and ruthless, o yeah funny.

        That’s the Joker I’m used to reading.

        • Well I thought we all had different opinions. So please don’t immaturely act like a smart-ass for a basic thought on what I feel Batman should be. I never said it was fact and God forbid I dislike Nolan’s version of The Joker

          • Really, why so angry?

            I pointed out why I liked Ledger’s Joker (different opinion) because there are many comparisons to Hamill’s (excellent by the way), but wonder why people draw so much from “Hamill’s” version. I feel that Ledger was “spot on” with his Joker interpretation from what I have read and continue to read on monthly basis.

            And smart ***, no I don’t believe I was, sheesh, and of course you didn’t say it was a “fact”, I simply displayed my pleasure for said topic. Hopefully this two paragraph response is good enough for you.

  27. “Rise from the agony
    That pierces your mind
    Rise from the stigmas
    Of enigmas you’ve designed

    Rise from the chaos
    Of a world turned to ash
    The faces of anarchy
    Are waiting for the crash

    Rise from the shadows
    Make a fist of the pain
    Rise from your grief
    Before it grows into your bane

    Climb from the prison
    That you’ve built in your soul
    When the knight has arisen
    Then your legend will be whole”

    That’s from an original song called “Rise” made by a band called Miracle of Sound. You can find this and many other songs they have done, including at least 2 more songs Batman related.

    Going by this, I say we just leave it as a legend.