Will Warner Bros. Incorporate Nolan’s Batman Universe into ‘Justice League’?

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Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan Will Warner Bros. Incorporate Nolans Batman Universe into Justice League?

The future of Batman on film is very uncertain. With DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. launching a Justice League movie in 2015, and The Dark Knight Rises effectively closing the door on that iteration of Batman, how we next see the Dark Knight onscreen is still a mystery. We know that he’ll be part of the Justice League roster, but what age he’ll be, and who will play him, are big looming questions in need of answers.

No doubt there are still people out there who wish that Dark Knight Trilogy architect Christopher Nolan would return and help usher the DC movie universe to greatness – but that’s not going to happen. And Nolan himself is once again letting it be known why The Dark Knight Rises is officially his last Batman film.

In an interview with Film Comment, Nolan reiterated the finality of his trilogy ending, and why what some fans have interpreted as an open-ended final scene is actually just thematic closure:

“For me, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is specifically and definitely the end of the Batman story as I wanted to tell it, and the open-ended nature of the film is simply a very important thematic idea that we wanted to get into the movie, which is that Batman is a symbol. He can be anybody, and that was very important to us. Not every Batman fan will necessarily agree with that interpretation of the philosophy of the character, but for me it all comes back to the scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred in the private jet in BATMAN BEGINS, where the only way that I could find to make a credible characterization of a guy transforming himself into Batman is if it was as a necessary symbol, and he saw himself as a catalyst for change and therefore it was a temporary process, maybe a five-year plan that would be enforced for symbolically encouraging the good of Gotham to take back their city. To me, for that mission to succeed, it has to end, so this is the ending for me, and as I say, the open-ended elements are all to do with the thematic idea that Batman was not important as a man, he’s more than that. He’s a symbol, and the symbol lives on.”

As far as Nolan is concerned, the ending of Dark Knight Rises isn’t a question of whether or not Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, John Blake, becomes the next Batman – it’s simply a testament to the fact that anyone can step up and be the kind of symbol that Batman is – if they simply have the strength of character to do so. Considering that Batman Begins… er, begins with Bruce Wayne coming home from exile with the stated goal of becoming an everlasting symbol, suffice to say that Nolan (thematically) brought things full circle throughout the run of the trilogy – which is why he isn’t coming back for Justice League.

But this is where things get tricky.

JGL 2 Will Warner Bros. Incorporate Nolans Batman Universe into Justice League?

Recent rumors (key word: rumors) have suggested that Warner Bros. could be planning to include John Blake (and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in the Justice League roster. The thinking likely is that continuity amongst the films would help the studio establish their shared movie universe easier than trying to reboot Batman with a new actor picking up the role…possibly too soon. Best of all: they could offer a version of Batman that’s already somewhat established, arguably without stepping on the creative vision of Nolan’s trilogy. But just remember: Nolan’s blessing is not at all necessary in order for the studio to make this move.

We’ll leave the question of having John Blake’s Batman in Justice League (as opposed to a rebooted Bruce Wayne) for the comment section, but it’s clear that for Nolan, time hasn’t changed a thing; the thought of expanding his Batman universe into something like what Marvel is building simply doesn’t appeal to him. He set out to tell a story, told it, and brought it to a close. It’s a rare bit of integrity to put the telling of a story over the thought of more money to be made. But… will Warner Bros. share in that sentiment?

[poll id="461"]

The Dark Knight Rises will be on DVD/Blu-ray on December 4th.

Justice League will hit theaters in 2015.

Source: Film Comment (via Batman On Film)

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  1. I just don’t want JGL in there. He’s too boyish and doesn’t look like he can pull off true brutality or menace. I’ve said it before, but I want to see Wes Bentley go for it.

  2. No no no! We need BRUCE WAYNE as Batman. Nolan’s Wayne was not the strategic, detective, genius, mastermind that Batman is in the comics. Building the franchise on John Blake, a non-comic character, is unwise and foolish.

    • i definitely agree to that. i mean bruce wayne is batman. period.

  3. I would do something like this…

    Justice League is a three hour film (think Lord of the Rings) and stretched across a trilogy (again lord of the rings style). Batman is not even seen until the last film where he is a rebooted non-Nolan version – not much origin, we just see him as earth’s smartest vigilante who steps up to the plate with Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, etc.

    Having the JL span three films, each three hour epic stories – we have enough room for characters to breath AND three big inter-connected villians (e.g Braniac, Sinestro & Darkseid).

    We could have the film end with a big climax and then left with Batman picking up the pieces – open door for the new rebooted Batman movie (5-6 years down the line).

    I would however use the same Superman universe we are about to see arrive next year.

    Green Lantern is a mess – not sure how to clean that one up. Hal dies and we get a new lantern? Or can a GL sequel clean it up somehow.

    • This is not a bad idea to circumvent batman being rebooted far too soon but surely batman has to be in there from the start. He’s got to be the one to help form the league and the inevitable batman v superman fight has to take place first.

  4. As stoked as I will be for a shared universe movie from DC about their ensemble cast for their iconic superheroes in 2015, I am, however, quiet cautious about the Warner leadership unconventionally introducing these gestating figures through one explosive plot. Trying to introduce each of the separate characters through one movie is a dauntingly risky move, not only from a fiscal point of view but from a thematic one. What concerns us more is the latter one. Clearly, trying to write a story that will properly be able to encompass all the different background story arch of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash and reboot Batman will convolute the overall story, thereby making it difficult for audiences to encapsulate the overall picture. Generally speaking, good movies are attuned to niche storylines. It would make sense to follow the marvel path by giving a fair amount of attention to all of our superheroes separately and then bringing them together into one JLA movie, even if it will mean postponing the date for a JLA movie for another three years. Remember, stalling the movie would be an infinitely better option than doing a horrible job of it and single handedly making it a colossal embarrassment as well as ruining potential sequels. However, if done well, this unconventional method could perhaps turn out to be a novelty strategy. Such would only be possible if the Warner Bros. entourage could somehow focus on as little characters as possible, thereby developing more effectively on a more restricted story arch, while leaving the climactic buildup as being open to the calling out for the need for other superheroes for protection from even greater threats in future movies. This, then, could be a more subtle approach to introducing Flash and other heroes alike. This would be akin to Michael Bay’s first Transformers movie, where Optimus Prime, at the end of the movie, steps up on top of a hill calling out to other surviving protagonists, asking them to unite for even greater evils to come. As a huge DC fan, I will want Warner Bros. to get their eggs in one basket (or separate ones!) and consider approaching this sensitive situation cautiously regardless of how they approach the JLA team. After all, this movie in 2015, or the lack thereof, will determine the future of the other JLA cast members and whether they will be able to compete with their Marvel counterparts.