‘Dark Knight Rises’ Spoilers: David S. Goyer Talks Movie Ending

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 23rd, 2013 at 10:03 am,

David Goyer Dark Knight Rises Ending Dark Knight Rises Spoilers: David S. Goyer Talks Movie Ending


[We originally published this in May 2012 but have re-published it as a place for fans to discuss spoilers freely after having seen the film. Be sure to also read our Dark Knight Rises Review.]

Considering how seriously director Christopher Nolan has taken these films, many fans have pondered whether or not Batman will (gulp) bite the bullet in the closing moments of The Dark Knight Rises. On the topic of endings, Batman trilogy writer David S. Goyer recently talked about the final scene of TDKR and the profound emotional effect it had on him.





Courtesy of Empire Magazine:

“The final scene of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is exactly [the] scene we talked about [when Christopher Nolan and I started the trilogy with 'Batman Begins']. It remained completely unchanged. We both knew in our hearts that we were onto something special. I have to tell you, having finally seen everything strung together a little while ago and seeing that scene, I got a complete lump in my throat.”

Now, you might assume Goyer got a lump in his throat because he was witnessing his nearly decade-long dream realized (or something similarly sentimental).

However, Empire pressed the issue further and got a different response. After they inferred that Nolan was committing “commercial sacrilege,” Goyer said:

“Yup! That’s why it’s ****ing exciting!”

So what could this possibly mean, Screen Ranters? Is there something tragic about the ending of The Dark Knight Rises that might lead to lumps being formed in throats? To commercial sacrilege being performed? Will Batman – as fans have hypothesized all throughout the Internet – be kicking the bucket by way of Bane’s steroid-fueled fist?

Frankly, there are plenty of other possible scenarios for what David Goyer is hinting at. Perhaps Batman is just hanging up his cowl, and the poignancy of that moment alone was enough to put a lump in Goyer’s throat. Or perhaps another character dies – Alfred, Lucius, or Gordon. Heck, every time I see Michael Caine die in a movie (Children of Men, for example) my throat becomes practically ridden with lumps.

Batman Death Dark Knight Rises Dark Knight Rises Spoilers: David S. Goyer Talks Movie Ending

And if Batman were truly to die in Nolan’s final Batman film, would David Goyer dare broach the subject in an interview? Would someone so close to the project – one of the creative minds behind the various screenplays – discuss the key piece of this seven-year-old puzzle? Possibly the most important scene? Before it can be experienced by audiences firsthand?

Maybe. Hopefully not, though. If Batman/Bruce Wayne’s death is indeed in the cards for The Dark Knight Rises, one would hope that Goyer would have the willpower to keep mum until the film opens.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant team check out our Dark Knight Rises episode of the SR Underground podcast.

The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20th, 2012.


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: Empire Magazine [via Comic Book Movie]

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    • I would imagine they will want Batman as one of their heavies in a JLA film…It just wouldn’t be the Nolan version.

      I hope he does not die, but I could see that being a possibility. As you say Ben, there are plenty of other paths that might be taken…I sincerely hope one of those is chosen.

      After all, the film is called “The Dark Knight Rises”; that presumes SOME positive element.

      • Yea I mean if he dies it would kinda defeat the whole purpose of the “rise” theme in TDKR. I too am hoping for one of those other scenarios, Bruce dying just seems too simple for me.

        • Not really. The movie takes place 8 years after the “fall” of batman in the public eye. So the dark knight rising could just be him coming back from his fall from grace in the public’s eye. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t “fall” or be killed at the end of the movie.

          I could easily see Nolan killing Bruce Wayne and leaving it up to the audience to interpret what they wish as Joseph Gordon walks into the batcave and the screen turns to black.

          • ^^^^Good call minus the Bruce Wayne dying

  1. That would upset me and prove a lot of people that I’ve argued with right, who have said Nolan and Goyer care more about thier own egos and legacy than the Batman characters themselves. Can’t just kill off Batman. I don’t think that will happen, as they weren’t even willing to kill off the Joker last film.

    • I feel like to say that its about their own egos is an incredibly ignorant thing to say. I would say that since Batman wanted to be a symbol more than a hero. They went DEEP into that in TDK. If he died, that would mean he was a martyr and essentially become the greatest symbol of all. Plus nothing more heroic than he who lay his life down for his friends. And to be honest, the first two movies have been incredible adaptations of the Batman lore and probably the best material we have seen to date so I mean, how could you see this is about Nolan’s legacy? They already have plans for another Batman movie to come out in like 3 years! Its kinda funny how we get mad that movie makers are cash fanatics and will stretch out movie franchises for the sake of money at the expense of the story, but then when a director/producer decides to cap off the series on a good high note, he/she gets criticized for being narcissistic! I mean seriously! Nolan has given us the best Batman movies of all time. Stop hating man.

    • Now, it can be argued that by killing off Batman (sidenote: I don’t think Batman will die – I used to think that he would but now I don’t), it actually shows how much they really do care about the character. “Can’t just kill off Batman” is true if the Batman story is going to continue on. However, the aim of this movie is to, as the marketing materials have said thus far, conclude the story. How does the Batman story end? He can’t just retire – he’s apparently done that in the movie and “retired” Bruce looks like garbage. It’s not a satisfying life for the character. He lives to be Batman – and because Batman’s a fighter he’ll go down fighting.

      • agreed. I mean, I honestly feel like its a very likely ending. It just seems like the proper ending. It’d be like Harry not “dying” at the end of Harry Potter. Its just what needs to happen

  2. I think he might be talking about Batman dying at the end… I mean, it would be the perfect way to end Nolan’s take on the character: from origin to end… it’s never been done before as far as I can remember.

    I also read an interview recently where Nolan said he won’t be addressing the Joker at all, so don’t think we should be expect some sort of nod or reference

  3. The real question is, will I be able to avoid spoilers seeing as how this movie won’t be coming out over here until 40 days after the US release?

    • Where are you from?

      • Italy, unfortunately.

        Our distribution policies can really blow sometimes (Prometheus comes out mid-september over here, while The Amazing Spider-Man will be in theaters just one day after the US release; go figure).

        At least we had The Avengers 10 days before you did. Again, go figure.

        I guess I will have to completely avoid movie news for a while.

    • Kenji, you’ll likely have to avoid the Internet over those 40 days.

      I’m in the U.S., and once July comes, I plan on avoiding all film sites and any place that has comments on it in order to avoid spoilers. It only takes one rude, selfish person to spoil a movie, so I can’t risk that.

      But, for you, if staying away from the Internet for more than a month is impossible, I would limit your time on it and stay away from any movie or news sites. Most importantly, stay away from any comment boards. I’m sure that once the movie comes out, almost the entire web will be abuzz with what happens in Dark Knight Rises, and even articles that don’t give it away in the headline will be easy to interpret.

      Good luck!

  4. I”m pretty sure Batman’s demise is furthest thing from happening. Batman will rise and stand triumphant at the end of this film.

    • But there is a huge difference between ‘Batman’ rising to stand triumphant and ‘Bruce Wane’ rising. I think its perfectly possible – likely even – that Christian Bale’s character bites it, only for the legend of the Batman to rise, either with another body wielding the cape (*cough* Joseph Gorden Livit *cough*) or to live on as an eternal symbol. Not the one Gotham deserves… but the one it NEEDS!!!!

  5. Considering Bale has been quoted as saying if Nolan came to him with a great story, he’d consider coming back to the role. Of course he doesn’t die! Anyone who really thinks that would happen is weak in the brain.

    • Really? “Weak in the brain”, whatever.

      • Yeah, I thought it was nicer than saying people who think that are dumb.

        • No need to call people dumb because they have an opinion about what may happen in the movie.

          You should know, you’ve complained about expressing an opinion many times before.

    • I don’t know when Bale said that, but recently he said he’s ready to move on and that he’s as DONE as done can be with Bruce Wayne… so….

      • “”My understanding is that this is the last one. I think it’s appropriate, I think it’s going out at the right time. But…if Chris came to me with a script and said, ‘You know what? There is another story’ then I would love the challenge of making a fourth one work.”

        Christian Bale.

        • I’m not questioning WHETHER he said that, I’m questioning WHEN he said it – because that plays an important part.

          • Well with the 8 year gap they could always do prequels of sorts…

    • If you look on ign chris nolan is scheduled to have a batman film in 2015. Dont know if this is fake or what. The other thing to consider is it says reboot next to it. Damn you ign what are you doing to us??

      • That’s a producer and story credit. So he’ll probably be contributing a few ideas on how to reboot the franchise. Much like he did with Man of Steel.

  6. I think everything indicates to Batman dying. Nolan in this film, is firmly concluding the story, and putting a definite end to EVERYTHING. That alone to me presents the possability of Batman dying, I doubt he would leave the film with having Bruce Wayne have more adventures that are unseen by an audience. I think Nolan has put next to everything he wanted to happen into the film, so I doubt he’d leave things open ended. It maybe the first series where we get an origin and a clear ending, so I think Wayne will die and someone else will step in as Batman.

    I also have a feeling Alfred will die. Theres a bit in the trailer, where Bane says ‘when Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die’. So this suggests Bane is going to kill Wayne last. So if Bane knows who Batman is, he’d go after those closest to him, e.g Alfred and Lucius, then go kill Bruce. Thats what I think anyway.

  7. batman will rise but bruce will die, bruce dies and someone else takes up the mantle. that’s my theory

    • Like in Knightfall with Azazael, only permanent?


        • this has sweet F**k all to do with the comics you refer to as “source material” Nolan’s version of Batman is based on Frank Millers Graphic NOVEL (not comic) BATMAN: Year One and the sequels are following the character arc taken from the graphic novel. So next time you want to get all serious and SHOUT about source material be sure that you know what you are talking about you silly little comic book nerd

          • Dear Damian,
            Do your research a bit before you go throwing names around. Firstly the graphic novel you are trying to refer to is the 2nd graphic novel ever published. You would know it better as The Dark Knight Returns. That is what gives hims some parts of the story. However you are missing a second series that was all about Bane. It was called Knightfall and was followed by two other Batman series: KnightQuest and Knight’s End. Both of which concluded the Azrael as Batman story arc in the Detective Comics and Batman series. Knightfall is a well known source material for Nolan because it is the series that Bane did indeed break Batman’s back. Just from the previews, I can see the DNA of both TDK Returns and Knightfall in this new movie. Why don’t you try doing your research before you open your ignorant mouth. Or begin to type with your ignorant hands.

            • lol, good one

              • sorry… sometimes the word is just so much fun to say XD

                • LoL, do you think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will step in as Batman? Because i refuse to believe that you can hire someone like JGL and just have him as a cop!!

                  My theory before was that he would probably become Nightwing, because Nolan did say he wouldn’t use Catwoman or Robin in his series… But now we got Catwoman, and Nightwing is kind of a cool nod to the whole robin thing… But after seeing what you had to say, and having NO KNOWLEDGE of the original source material i really think that maybe JGL could emerge as the new Bats

                  • nah

                  • JGL will be a crucial part to this movie. Nolan obviously likes him as an actor and he’s not just in this movie to be a damn cop, everyone has to know that by now.

                    10 bucks says he puts on the cape after bruce dies.

            • You were spot on with The Dark Knight Returns and Knightfall being part of the basis for TDKR, one you forgot to mention or haven’t read yet which I recommend is “No Mans Land” in which an earthquake hits Gotham. Also TDK took influences from The long Halloween, The Killing Joke and The Man Who Laughs, not just Frank Millers graphic version was adapted pretty much all the best batman graphic novels have been touched on in this trilogy.

  8. That dialogue where Batman said that he hasn’t given everything for Gotham yet, and Alfred’s foreshadowing dialogue makes me think someone important in Batman’s circle or Batman himself will die.
    I think Commissioner Gordon will die, and JGL’s character would replace him, or Alfred might die seeing as he keeps saying things related to Bruce’s life in danger, or Lucius, the unexpected tech guy to paralyze Batman’s arsenal, and I saw the latest TV spot trailer where Lucius shows Bruce the Bat-jet, and said for old times sake, Or these three will all die.

  9. I don’t think Bruce Wayne/Batman dies in this film. But I do think that Bruce will fake Batman’s death and become the signal and the hope that the people of Gotham will need. I don’t remember which comic book it was but I remember reading that Batman faked his death at the end. I hope we get a proper end to this trilogy but that’s the way I see it.

    • I was just about to post that. Bruce can make Batman a martyr and if they do need Batman again, he can ressurrect him.

    • Batman fakes his death at the end of “The Dark Knight Returns” and there are definitely elements of that story in this (coming out of retirement, etc. etc.)

      • here we go with the comic book story lines again! dont be brain dead pal do some research and check what this version of Batman is based on before making everything about the comic books

        • Damien, oh Damien. Here we go again with the rude comments. The Nolan Batman series has taken “source material” from several comic book and graphic novel releases. You are the only one that is brain dead IMO. Did you not have a good weekend or something?

        • I think you’re the one who needs to go do the research mate…

  10. Nolan’s plans has always been to direct 3 Batmans, then produce a reboot of the character.
    Batman dying, but someone else dawning the cowl is the most likely possibility IMHO. It’d conclude the story and keep with the Rise theme.

  11. if a JLA movie is on the cards it will have NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The first 2 and undoubtedly the last installment are and will be Nolan’s masterpiece, These are the films that he will be remembered by, not just cause they are fantastic films but the fact that he has managed to pull off a successful SUPER HERO Trilogy that is firmly grounded within the realms of reality, there is no room in this version of Batman’s world for any other super heroes especially ones that come from other planets. if indeed a JLA movie is made and Batman makes an appearance, it will be the normal comic book version ala grey spandex and yellow utility belt ;)

  12. I also want to remind you all of this, but Batman was blamed for Harvey Dent’s death. So I feel like him being the hero of Gotham is a little far fetched. Hero in the sense of the city rallying around him. I see him as being the hero that Gotham city needs, not what they want (yes a little bit of TDK for fun). But I mean, practically speaking, no one has any clue as to how this film is going to end. Arguing seems as pointless as trying to convince Rush Limbaugh that liberalism is the right viewpoint. Nothing is going to happen! haha. So I mean, aside from defending the great Chris Nolan, arguing seems ridiculously mundane.

  13. Bruce Wayne could suffer a tragic fate less than death
    which would nonetheless mean the death of The Batman.

    • perhaps his back gets broke? O_o

  14. What if, rather than Batman dying, he kills Bane? Isn’t it against his creed to kill? And if he kills Bane, and therefore, goes against his creed, could he then hang up the cape? We’ll see…

    • thank you exactly what i was thinking, but i was thinking the one way to stop bane is to do what he has tried not to do and is to kill bane even if it means sacrificing his life to do so

    • Oh gawwdd!! don’t take the back breaking/batman death away from these people, lol! The sky will fall!! (I was actually thinking the same thing as you). Apparently people are having trouble distinguishing between “drawing inspiration” from some source material and simply making a movie out of the source material.

      I’m just hoping for an ending that NO ONE saw coming! batman dying/back breaking/new person becoming batman are all underwhelming, predictable and not worthy of anything more than a single viewing (and definitely not blockbuster material).

  15. I think that Batman might “die” leaving room for Bruce to finally start living his own life.

  16. I don’t like the idea of the death of Bruce Wayne. I agree that Nolan has earned the right to put his mark on the history of Batman, but the character is not his. It’s not even DC’s anymore.. How about this? I know that ‘gritty and realistic’ has to be synonymous with ‘dark and depressing’, but what about Bruce passing the cowl on to Azazel (JGL?) and seeing his original vision of restoring hope in Gotham realized as he sees the silhouette of Gotham’s midnight protector, knows the city is saved and leaves into the shadows?

    • ai, more comic book fanboy bullsh*t! Nolans BATMAN isnt based in the real, of the comic book universe numbnut!
      The Characters are all based off Frank Millers Graphic Novel BATMAN: YEAR ONE the sequels are following the same character arc taken from that book NOTHING ELSE!!!

      • *realm

        • The filmmakers cite the “Batman” comics ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ (an aged Batman operates in a future Gotham), ‘Knightfall’ (Bane pushes Batman physically and mentally, causing him to burn out) and ‘No Man’s Land’ (Gotham descends into gangland territory) as major influences on the film.

          - from IMDB

      • dude seriously, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Year One is what Batman Begins was based off. All it takes is a 2 min search on the interwebz to find out what this one is based off of. You know it is possible to have more than one source material. O_O HOLLY CRAP!!! NO WAY HE COULD HAVE MORE THAN ONE INSPIRATION!!!

        • O man I’m glad you’re hear. It’s good to have a fellow comic book reader here.

      • Bro, thanks for calling me a comic book fanboy and for your concerns over my testicular health.

        Haven’t really been an avid reader of comics for quite a few years, but I’ll take that one as a compliment. As for my nuts, they’re just fine, thanks!

        • Thanks for the good laugh on that one, Blanc.

          Back to the discussion, it has been said many times by many people involved in the film that inspiration has been drawn from several different comic story arcs. As another poster said, it only takes a few minutes of research to see that.

          • Right, and even with Nolan’s cache with WB DC, would they really let him kill the Bat? I admit that I really am not interested in seeing that. I understand that it could be dramatic and could be a dynamite story, but it would leave me unsatisfied. At the risk of sounding like a little kid, to me these stories need a happy ending. Empire Strikes Back was fine but Return of the Jedi was the right tone to end on (even of you have problems with the story or writing itself).

            Dark Knght is like an unresolved chord and it needs the proper resolution. I don’t ink the death of Batman is it.

      • Damian,

        Tone it down or you’re going to have to find another site on which to leave your “insightful” comments.


  17. Alfred is going to quit too at some point, like in KNightfall

  18. The ending is going to be based on the Dark Knight Returns.

    In that classic, Batman takes down a gang that’s essentially declared war on Gotham. By the end, a good portion of that gang has sided with Batman and is fighting crime with bat logos on their faces. We know in this movie that Bane sets up a gang that declares war on Batman.

    In Dark Knight Returns, Batman fakes his death at the end and destroys Wayne Manor. He then sets himself up as the Batman gang leader, and trains all of the gang members to essentially all be batmen. The symbol lives on through those members, and Bruce can “retire” while still pursuing his life-long mission.

    I’d be willing to bet that, instead of Batman dying, something like that will occur.

    • I think Azreal is a little out there regarding the genetics and the Suit of Sorrows.

      What am I saying? He could be some holy super assassin.

    • I really hope they give a good explanation as to why he retired…
      Gotham surviving for 8 years (or was it 7? I forget) without Batman? I don’t think so ;)

      • is it for sure he was retired for those 8 years? im not really clear on it either. From what the trailer has shown he seems like a very exauhsted and mentally defeated batman.. retirment should be fun!

        • I’m pretty sure it’s been stated that Batman was retired for that 8 years (hence, the Dark Knight “Rises” – from retirement ;) to take on Bane).

  19. I have always believed that Batman would die at the end of this movie. I feel the concept Nolan and Goyer are trying to present is that Batman is not a crusader against crime. He is just a symbol, a concept that inspires others to fight crime in their own way, maybe by not wearing a mask. Making a stand is all that’s about. I just can’t wait for it.

  20. Last scene…Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle holding hands and pushing a stroller along the sidewalk. The camera pans up to reveil that above them, Joseph Gordon Levitt perches on a gargoyle, in full Batman gear, smiling at them. Then he swoops down towards the camera. Credits. Cue lump in throat.

    You heard it here first!

  21. I think the conclusion will be that Bruce Wayne will finally give up being Batman, He’s just had it. He’s given everything. He’s to old for this kind of thing and wants to live a normal life. (like in the Dark Knight Returns Comic) He finally gets to really accept his parents death and remove the guilt. Maybe Gotham is better, or maybe it’s still messy. Maybe gives the job of being batman to someone else or batman’s existence is really no longer needed and ceases to exist for good or maybe temporarily.

    Another approach would be that Bruce Wayne himself does die. Id that happens it would be like I Am Legend, He gives his very life for the cause, only a lot more emotional. But if that does happen, I have a strong feeling that TDKR’s ending would have a lot of discussion and heated debate whether or not Nolan ended it good. For me, it doesn’t matter which way it ends, Either way I think it’s going to end, not necessarily well, but good.

    I foresee a big The Dark Knight Rises ending discussion here at Screenrant much like Nolan’s Inception, haha.

    • it’d be like Mass Effect 3 all over again

  22. It’s possible and not dumb to think as some people have said that Bruce does die but Batman can live. I’ve said before that JGL looks like a prime canadite to step up but who knows really?
    And I think that’s the best part. Even after 3 trailers, interviews and TV Spots we still don’t know much of anything.
    So I say again it’s not dumb to think Bruce dying is a possibility or speculating on anything else that could happen. It’s what we do here.

  23. I really hope they do not kill off Batman. It could have the potential to ruin the entire trilogy. Why rise to only die? I doubt this is going to happen.

    • I fully agree. Your right, it could sour the whole trilogy. Fans have invested years into this iteration of Bats and some a lifetime of interest in the character. To set the premise that he will ‘rise’ and then kill him off just seems a bit bitter.

  24. In Nolan’s version, the story really starts after Bruce falls down a well and his dad rescues him. I can’t help but think that the “rises” in this last film’s title has to somehow involve Bruce’s climbing out of a well (most probably but not necessarily a figurative well – you never know, though, with Christopher Nolan).

    That opens up any number of potential endings that would indeed stir up our emotions. I’m thinking Commissioner Gordon is going to be closely linked somehow, too, based on Goyer’s saying the ending scene is completely unchanged from what he and Nolan imagined at the start of this trilogy and also taking into account that little heart-to-heart talk the Commish had with Bruce right after his parents’ murders.

    I am looking forward to this movie!

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