Joseph Gordon-Levitt Discusses ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Ending, Potential Sequel

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 11:58 am,

JGL 2 Joseph Gordon Levitt Discusses The Dark Knight Rises Ending, Potential Sequel

[WARNING: This story contains spoilers for the ending of The Dark Knight Rises.]

In case you haven’t heard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt – who will, to a certain generation, forever be remembered as that kid from Disney’s Angels in the Outfield – is on his way to becoming one of Hollywood’s most in-demand leading men. This summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, however, marks the most high-profile role of his career thus far.

By the film’s end, his role as Gotham City cop John Blake is revealed to be Christopher Nolan’s version of Robin (as was rumored beforehand). Having faked his death, Bruce Wayne bequeaths the coordinates of the Bat Cave to Blake, who is literally rising in the film’s final shot (hence the Dark Knight rises). Therefore, all signs indicate – in Nolan’s take on the Batman mythology, at least – that Blake is the heir apparent to Batman’s role as Gotham’s protector.

Making an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, the star addressed rumors that he might reprise his role in a potential sequel. Here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t think [the ending of 'The Dark Knight Rises'] is necessarily a set-up. I think it is the great ending for that trilogy. Even if you go back to ‘Batman Begins,’ he’s talking about how Batman is more than a man, it’s a symbol, and a hero can be anybody and we all have heroes inside of us.”

Gordon-Levitt also recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he had “no idea” where the Batman franchise would go from this point but revealed that his criteria for choosing future projects would remain unchanged.

“I always choose scripts the same way. If it’s a great script and a great filmmaker, then I’m interested.”

The above comments may not be definitive regarding the star’s future involvement in the Batman series, but Gordon-Levitt does indicate that he would entertain the possibility of donning the cape and cowl if Warner Bros. manages to secure a filmmaker of Christopher Nolan’s caliber to continue the story from The Dark Knight Rises.

There’s little doubt that the actor – who has turned in memorable performances in films like Brick, (500) Days of Summer, Inception and 50/50 – is up to the task of carrying a Batman film. Gordon-Levitt’s star is continually on the rise, with both Premium Rush and Looper due for release within the next few weeks. It seems inevitable that some studio will hand him the lead in his own franchise. After all, Jeremy Renner currently has high-profile roles in three.

JGL Joseph Gordon Levitt Discusses The Dark Knight Rises Ending, Potential Sequel

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

The question remains – what does Warner Bros. have in mind for their DC universe? With recent rumors that Ben Affleck is in talks to helm Justice Leauge, the studio is clearly keen on competing with Marvel’s movie universe (which just secured Joss Whedon to a three-year contract), and Batman is a critical part of that (along with Man of Steel’s Superman). Given the way Nolan ended his trilogy, the studio could either reboot the Batman franchise or find someone to move ahead with Nolan’s vision. In any either case, they need to decide sooner rather than later if Justice League is to move forward. Keeping Gordon-Levitt onboard may be a wise move, considering the phenomenal success of Nolan’s trilogy, but attracting the talent involved could be tricky. Plus, there’s the question of whether or not audiences would ultimately want to see a Justice League film without Bruce Wayne.

Do you think Warner Bros. should try to keep the continuity of Nolan’s Batman films in play (with Blake in the Batsuit), or is it time to bring another filmmaker’s vision of Gotham City to life and re-introduce Bruce Wayne? Let us know in the comments.

Premium Rush hits theaters August 24th, 2012, followed by Looper on September 28th.


Sources: Jimmy Kimmel Live & The Hollywood Reporter

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Guys, Man of Steel was written by Goyer and Nolan just like like the Nolan Batman trio was. IMO Nolan might not necessarly reprise his role as director for any Dark Knight sequel but nobody said anything about him not writing the story. I think he has started something amazing here for DC comics, he’s made the blueprint by writing the stories for both Batman & Superman and there are very high chances the screenplay for any JL movie will follow in the footprint of his genre – at the least I hope so!

  2. I’ve always thought Batman was never a good fit for the Justice League. So if they can keep up Nolan’s batverse that’d be ok with me.

  3. Well, my whole thing is this. Firstly, NOBODY wants to see a reboot of Batman with an origin story we’ve been told 700x. So if you’re going to choose NOT to continue from this end point of Nolan’s Trilogy, just do a one-off with a new Director/Writer/Actor and I would highly suggest something along the lines of HUSH or another story in which Batman and Superman meet (for setting up the Justice League film). Secondly, I don’t see why everyone is sooo adamant that Bruce Wayne be Batman. OR why if JGL is to play a character, it HAS to be Robin/Nightwing. And before I continue I’d just like to say that throwing the ‘Robin’ name in at the end was just a cheap parlour trick to get a gasp from audiences. Why can’t JGL be Batman Beyond (again where the name dropping could have been inproved). I feel I can speak on behalf of most fans of the comic-book Batman, that we are tired of seeing the physical dominance portrayed on-screen and that it’s about damn time we get to showing why he’s considered “The World’s Greatest Detective.” I think ESPECIALLY having JGL take over, this would be a far more interesting take. I don’t feel that it’s necessarily essential that for a Batman film to work, or for a Justice League film to work, Batman HAS to be Bruce Wayne. I would love to see someone pick up where Nolan’s trilogy ended and do a DETECTIVE Batman story with JGL in the lead. A story that we haven’t yet seen on film.

    • Agree with everything you said- a Batman Beyond type scenario with JGL, including a realistic character like Hush or Riddler.

  4. They should just hire a director to film “NIGHTWING” starring JGL, he tries to defend Gotham against the Joker’s crazed Psychiatrist – Dr. Quinn, who’s testing Gotham’s newest protector on orders from, who we see at the end, the Joker.

    Then it sets up a return of Batman, for a “The Dark Knight Returns” either bring Bale back as Bats, or another actor (explain that he had to have cosmetic surgery to avoid being recognized by his growing number of enemies) and have he and Robin, AND Catwoman fight against Joker and Harlequin.

    THEN… Justice League with the new Bats, going in a more fantastic/superpowered area, which could lead to the next round of Batman movies being able to use villains such as Clayface, Manbat or Killer Croc. Nightwing stays behind to defend Gotham while Batman meets Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, etc… in the Justice League.

    • +1 ~ Stark

    • Jonathon Nolan should do a rightwing movie.

  5. The writer misguided the reader, JGL never suggested he is game for batman 4, in fact in his tv interview he corrected the host by saying it’s not a set up for a sequel, how can the writer still come up with the conclusion of a sequel in the Nolanverse?

    WB is not gonna F*ck around with Nolan

    • agreed. People just like speculating even when it’s evident that nothing more is to come. It’s understandable though, people don’t like seeying good things end.

      • The power of denial.

    • Nolan is not the owner of WB, they can very well do what they please including a followup trilogy of the Dark Knight Rises with an a list director.

      • Yes they can, then they can kiss goodbye to all the future original Chris Nolan movies

        • if they pay is good he will be back regardless.

    • Exactly!!

  6. Here’s my thoughts. You either die a trilogy or you live long enough to see yourself become Batman and Robin.

    If they make a Nightwing movie… it should be its own movie with JGL. It could referance Batman, but not Christian Bale. It wouldn’t be related to Nolan’s Gotham at all, but it could take place in Gotham.

    Or, they reboot Batman. But not for a long time. There’s talks about a reboot in 2015. What the f***? No, that’s WAY too soon. I saw, 2017 or 2018 is better.

    • If you ask me a Batman reboot before 2017 is crazy. The guy who made it would be hated by the world and if they make 1 what villain would they use all that’s left that would be somewhat interesting that ppl actually heard of would be “The Penguin” or “Ice-Man (or whatever his name is)” No one would EVER dare putting a new Joker on the screen (except if it was in a cartoon) but Bane…. I could see him on the screen in 7-10 years…. By the end of TDKR like yeah Bane was annoying… the whole plot of the movie was Bane– I WILL DESTROY GOTHAM!!! then Batman– AND I WILL STOP YOU!!! What i wouldn’t mind being on the big screen is a Batman movie with Scarface

      • in the reboot I want to see Sean Penn as Black Mask and Guy Pearce as Deadshot

    • no reboot just keep going forward no need to retell the origin, do just like in the comics, bring in a new writer, director and cast every two or three movies and stop the reboots…

    • @ RobinJohnBlake

      In regards to Nolan’s trilogy, i agree with ya. Id to see WB risk having what Nolan started ruined by another director. Wasn’t it Nolan himself who didn’t want to blow up the balloon sorta speak? I prefer they start fresh with a reboot somewhere down the road.

  7. Gotta say, im baffled by how many people think Robin John Blake would become Nightwing. It’s clearly set up for Blake to become Batman. The whole trilogy was set up for Batman to become immortal.

    Like Harvey said about the Romans electing one man to lead the city in times of peril. Gotham has the mantle of Batman, for a citizen to take up when the city needs him. Hence Bruce setting up a another Bat Signal.

    • 100% this above.

    • I think TDKR is much like some of Nolan’s other movies.
      The audience can decide for themselves which ending to believe…
      There isn’t one defining “clear” set-up, there’s an open door for the audience member to enter and make up their own stories or ideas.

      • yes right said,and i think it was a fantastic ending and you can imagine what could all happen with the characters,because nolan has give good routes to the important characters to the end of t.d.k.r.. after the strong performance of j.g.l i´m a fan of him now,i would take him as serious as bale if he would play batman or ?(you know) in a justice league movie or a new reboot of bat. he is my nr.1 choice for future-wayne.

    • What baffles me is how many people think Batman/Bruce Wayne is still alive! He flew the bomb off and there was 5 seconds to go and he was still in the Bat flying it out…then it blew up. There is no humanly possible way he could have escaped. What I perceived when Alfered sees him at the end is that was a sign that Alfered was moving on. Bruce went back out into the world and even got a girl, and Alfred is trying to move on.

      • @Helix Reviews

        The very LAST shot of batman’s face has shadows passing by, Iv’e seen the film 4 times and now Im confident that bruce survived because he wasnt in the BAT he was in another BAT in the city controlling the BAT with the bomb.

        • Rickster, hmmm…I hadn’t notced that, I’ll have to see it again ;-)

          One more question though: we see Batman hook the bomb up to the Bat and get in and start flying away. Did he stop to change vehicles? Or did he somehow change vehicles in mid flight? It seems to me he wouldn’t have stopped since he was literally carrying a ticking bomb out of Gothom and he was in no shape to be able to switch vehilces during flight.

          • Well I am guessing the same way that when Batman ejected the Tumbler in The Dark Knight through the Bat-Pod, maybe there was some sort of escape vehicle in the Bat.

            • Hhmmmm….I suppose that could be.

              • The toy companies released the bat toys with a escape pod

        • Bruce told fox he added some extras to the batwing that fox forgot. And he mentioned earlier he had forgot autopilot… And Alfred didn’t really know anything going on between batman and Selina. And he talked about Bruce with talia. So why would he imagine Bruce being with Selina at the end…

          • How do you you know Alfered didn’t know? You never see him after he leaves (till the end). I figure he kept his distance and yet kept informed.

      • The autopilot on the Bat was fixed. Lucius and some stooge found the vehicle later and the stooge says, “The autopilot is fixed.” Lucius: “That can’t be, who fixed it?” Stooge: “The ID says… Bruce Wayne.”

        Yes the shots are meant to confuse you and tug on your heartstrings. But somewhere Bruce ejected; some critics point to when he was dragging the bomb in the street and was thus close to the ground. Plus do you think it’s a coincidence that Alfred saw Bruce AND Catwoman together?

        • In my thinking the reason Alfred saw Bruce with Selina is because at the beginning of the movie he wanted to get Bruce a girl but Bruce would have no part in that, so then at the end of the movie when he ends up liking Selina, Alfred’s wish was, to an extent, fulfilled. Bruce got back out into the world and even got a girl.

          Once again I should state that there was only five seconds left when we last see Batman in *A* Bat. If he ejected then the last shot(s) wouldn’t make sense unless there was a Bat just setting on the street somewhere easily accessible and that doesn’t make sense for a couple reasons. The people of Gothom would have taken it if it was just setting around, especially with the way Bane was running things. How did he know that he was going to be carrying the bomb out of Gothom? That wasn’t the plan. And how would he know where to put it? Bane had the bomb in a undisclosed location.

  8. I think that they should go forward w/ the Justice League movie! Have Robin John Blake dawn The Cowel. Plus, I can’t believe that question was asked about not having Batman in the Justice League movie! For the first Justice League movie to come out. You HAVE to have the founding members of the Justice League in the movie (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman & Green Lantern “Hal Jordan”).

  9. Personally I don’t want to see a Nightwing spinoff. I don’t want to see anymore Batman movies any time soon. And I sure as hell don’t want to see a reboot.

    The ending was perfect in my opinion. Bruce’s whole mission starting in Batman Begins was to become a symbol to inspire good in people. He told Alfred he would stay in Gotham for as long as necessary. He wanted that day to come when Gotham no longer needed him to be Batman. That day came in The Dark Knight Rises. Bruce inspired everyone from police officers to a cat burglar to do what was right. At the end of the film, I felt Gotham was in good hands.

    As for a reboot, it is WAY too soon for that. Remember how we all felt about the Amazing Spider-Man when that was announced? Do you really want to go through that again? Like Nolan and Bale, I’m done with Batman movies for a while. I have three great films I can go to whenever I want to get my Gotham City fix. If WB is set on rebooting, I really hope they wait a while.

    If that means no Justice League movie any time soon, so be it. As I said in a previous thread, I’d rather Man of Steel be its own separate trilogy without any ties to a shared movie universe. I know I’m in the minority here, but I’d prefer it if Snyder and Nolan could do whatever they wanted with the character instead of making the movies fit a mold a la Marvel Studios.

    • i am also for all separate movies. justice league with their own bat and sup actors. man of steel as it´s own trilogy with cavill . a batman reboot with a new actor,and the settings should be a mix of gothic buildings and new futuristic buildings in a way that it fit perfect together. because (goth)am have always had these monstrous architeture between those citytypes in the comics,especially in the frank miller comics you can see those perfect combination of both.

      • i must correct one comment of me above, it was about j.g.l i would prefer him either for the role as batman or nightwing in a j.l.a or in a separate batman movie. so,he should play the character/s in one film,if it ever happens that way.

  10. Don’t think Batman 4 will happen and I think thats a good thing. I for one was extremely satisfied with the TDKR and like the idea of leaving the ending up to the imagination. Nolan will not be attached so I say leave it be. Work on a Justice League movie and bring Levitt into that, that may be a pretty cool crossover if you ask me

  11. Either make him Nightwing or reboot the series. Have it where Nightwing spin off leads into JL, he joins them. However the threat is so big, Bruce comes back as Batman as well. This way for JL we have both of them.


  13. I’ll finish with this, Bruce Wayne’s story and trilogy is over and done with and I’m glad because I always struggled with the care I had for Bruce Wayne as a man and Batman as a legend and hero. The guy can’t do that forever. He deserved to retire. But NOW…I’m interested I John Blake, I think that angry guy has a very interesting story to tell both as a man and behind the mask. He is different than Bruce Wayne without the same training but with the same rage and that rage seems to be LESS under control than Bruce Wayne’s rage. Imagine if the new Batman killed a criminal/villain and struggled with opposing ideals of what Batman should or should be. Get a villain that would know how to pull his strings that is interesting and just so compelling that you would love to hate them and you have a solid movie. It’s NOT a sequel. It is a new man, same Gotham, new villains, new themes, new struggle. It could work and be very entertaining.

  14. This is getting a little annoying now…
    Nolan is DONE with Batman. Warner Brothers is rebooting Batman in a few years! Why can’t people accept that?

    As great as JGL was in the movie, everyone knows Bruce Wayne is the only Batman that people love (even when Dick Grayson took up the mantle there was controversy). So I really have trouble believing that they’ll make a new movie with him as Batman. Nightwing/Robin is also a little difficult to imagine because IMO JGL will just look goofy in a costume. His ears are too comical. There, I said it, I stand by it ;)

    I loved the ending of TDKR and believe the ONE AND ONLY reason why they “left the door open” was for the audience to use their imagination and make up their own theory/story/idea as to what would happen next. It’s not a set-up for more movies. It’s not a set-up for spin offs. Was Memento’s ending a set-up for a sequel? Was Inception’s? No.

    WB/DC IS rebooting the franchise and I’m hoping they’ll start with Justice League (and make it a 3 part epic – Peter Jackson style) and spin off the characters into solo stories from there.

    Sorry if my post offended anyone, but I’m just baffled why it’s so hard for people to believe that Nolan’s Batman was a standalone trilogy. One that should remain untainted by “cash-grabbing” spin-offs or unnecessary sequels.

    I loved this trilogy and it should remain exactly that: a trilogy.
    Reboot Batman, make the next one more accurate to the source material and bring on the JUSTICE LEAGUE!

    • YES! Thank you!

    • I dig the epic 3 part JL idea, that would be rad. At the very least if they’re gonna reboot him they don’t need another origin movie, sorta like burtons batman. That was the biggest draw back from TAS, having to watch all those story points we’ve seen before to set up their universe (if it wasn’t following the Rami series it would have been a much bigger hit, IMO).

      At this point the majority of people know Batmans back story. Maybe have an older weathered batman for JL, sorta leaning towards the detective style. That would set him more apart from the others and be different than Nolans.

    • I could not agree more, in no way should they try to build of off Nolan’s trilogy, and I truly don’t think they will. I am just hoping they do a Justice League trilogy similar to LOTR. Perhaps have Martian Manhunter in a similar role of Gandolf, with a vast knowledge of space he sees Darkseid’s threat before it occurs and assembles the most powerful humans on earth after president Luther(???) doesn’t listen to his warning. I am just spit balling, but I think that could make for a great trilogy, while introducing other enemies throughout that Darkseid turns to for help. But anyway, no Nolan extension will ever happen, no Nightwing, no JLG as the new Batman. It’s done, sorry guys.

    • Yes! I agree that this trilogy is complete, and that *this* version of Batman is indeed concluded. JGL did a superb job in the film and I absolutely enjoyed his ending but I never found it as a set up and I cannot see him donning mask or costume of any kind. Not saying he will do a bad job as it is evident I enjoyed the character immensely but I just don’t see it.

      Nolan is done with Batman and comic book adaptations for now. He may come back but for the moment he has indeed made it clear he has no plans to be returning to Batman any time soon. Now my question is what will his role in the Man of Steel franchise continue as if MoS is successful? Will he stay and produced or be actively part in the writing as well. Either way just because Nolan won’t be around WB/DC can learn from this trilogy what elements was successful overall in replicate those elements. I don’t want to see a carbon copy- or worse a cheap follow up to his trilogy- but rather recognizing what worked and didn’t.

      Man of Steel is defintely replicating some of the elements that made Nolan’s Batman films enjoyable and memorable: the impressive casting of leads and supporting characters, a grounded approach that allows the events-though fantastical- seem believable and visceral without compromising the epicness and enjoyment, and seemingly a character drama and themes that will have people talking after the credits roll. All of these were present in the Dark Knight Trilogy. TDKR had these elements and provided a much more “comic booky” experience compared to TDK and in some ways Batman Begins. I could believe MoS superman showing up actually lol.

      Thus, not having Nolan around is not bad news. The new Batman can be introduced in a JLA or World’s Finest film already several years in to his crusade. He can be closer to his comic book counterpart while still making tribute to Nolan’s triumph. Again not carbon copy it but just barely enough replication of the elements above. The Justice League film I agree should be made as an epic and for such the Batman mythos should be tweaked just in enough to make sense. I can actually believe Bale appearing MoS just due to to similar tone so it wont be out of place.

      In that respect, I love Bale’s portrayal of the character and he will be sorely missed. I know the character is upt to return and who knows maybe he can (James Bond Style) but depending for some moviegoers this may prove confusing if he is not following up TDKR and some may just want a new actor in the suit. I will be happy either way and I hope DC/WB choose the right direction for future projects.

  15. I agree with JGL that the ending was not a set up at all for another film. Although I can think of a few ways to continue the storyline after the ending of The Dark Knight Rises, either with Bruce, Blake, or both, chances are any sequel/spinoff will be pushing it.

    I enjoyed TDKR. While it may have stopped short of becoming a masterpiece by not reaching its full potential, in my opinion this film was far from being a dissapointing entry to the Dark Knight Saga. Everything was there in the story and screen, but maybe another rewrite(s) would have done wonders and more time spent on editing and such.

    And whether you absolutely loved the film, enjoyed it, or were completely dissapointed by it, I think all can agree that this film did serve as a conlusion to this version of Batman. Anything else whether it be Batman or Nightwing defintely risk of compromising the emotional satisfication that TDKR was the conclusion to the story.

    • “Anything else whether it be Batman or Nightwing definitely risk of compromising the emotional satisfaction that TDKR was the conclusion to the story.”
      Thank you.

    • I just saw the movie yesterday and I agree, this series should just end on the note that it did. Things do conclude and people move on, there are other movies to watch, books to read and a whole world to live in.

  16. I welcome every Batman movie as long as they are good.

    Nolan is done with Batman. WB is gonna reboot in a few years. I just hope it will be a soft reboot(ala Incredible Hulk). I think there will be no better origin story in a few years.

    Nolan set the bar too high with Batman Begins Which is still my favourite Bats movie.

  17. the nolan era is over and for all the great things he did i feel like he erased them with alot of this last movie .. me personally i look foward to someone elses takes on batman .. i hope the next person who takes over batman can do it right and not get too campy but also not get too realistic .. i would be okay with jgl as dick grayson nightwing .. to me he is waaay to small for bruce wayne/batman … and im not intersted in seeing a justice leauge with robin john blake as batman .. no thanks .. use the justice league movie as a reboot for batman .. no need to do an origin story .. unless your gonna make changes ..

  18. Leave the Nolan trilogy alone. That’s my 2 cents.

  19. did all of you just glaze over at the end of the movie? astounding

  20. IMO, I thought the ending sucked. Let the childish flaming begin.:)

    I’m sorry, I just thought it was a stupid, tacked-on ending. And didn’t Nolan say early on that Robin was never going to make it into his Batman movies? Maybe I’m badly paraphrasing. I thought the whole Robin reveal was just dumb. It stopped being a good movie after Talia al Ghul died.

  21. Nolan’s Batman does not exist in a world that has Superman, or the Green Lantern, or etc. This series is over, as it should be. They should reboot Batman and make it more campy so that they can go forward with the Justice League plans.

    • Not campy… A little humor maybe but no cheese!

  22. How could he be Robin..? Hes not Dick Grayson (too old) , theyll do never do Jason Todd, his name wasnt Time Drake, or Damien Wayne..

  23. Plus his name being Robin, doesnt even make him Robin. My only problem with the Nolan trilogy is Gotham.. you can easily tell what’s New York, and whats Chicago..
    and batman is iconic for his gadgets, he doesnt even throw a Batarang.. my favorite part of the nolan trilogy is the Batmobile.

  24. Plus his name being Robin, doesnt even make him Robin. My only problem with the Nolan trilogy is Gotham.. you can easily tell what’s New York, and whats Chicago.. and batman is iconic for his gadgets, he doesnt even throw a Batarang.. my favorite part of the nolan trilogy is the Batmobile.

  25. Nolan’s batman should definitely live on with gordon-Levitt.

  26. The way I see it, if they move forward with another Batman movie and JGL starring, Blake will become the new Batman.


    He can be a completely different character/actor.

  27. Please reboot. TDKR sucked and I don’t want the rest of the Justice League to be dark and depressing.