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

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  1. Nolan is finished with his trilogy. No need to resurrect his depiction of Gotham and its characters for future films. Why would any director do that in the first place? I would think a director would like to be known for his own style, with concern to making any movie, not borrowing from another, no matter how successful their films were.

    Get a good director and reboot in 5 years. And make a different Batman that resembles absolutely nothing Nolan did in his trilogy. Keep it serious, make it good, and pack it deep with action and drama. Simple. For those that think there can be no other Batman besides Nolan’s should get REAL. I remember when they first cast Heath as the new Joker, everyone on the DC Comic Boards and their cousin was cryin’ to the Heavens. This guy can’t do Joker. This guy is Brokeback Mountain Joker. This guy can’t do it better than Jack. Well, looks like all the nay-sayers were wrong. Someone else can do Joker and do it quite well. Do I think he’s better than JN. Heath made a different Joker. JN’s Joker is just as good. But the point is, nothing is set in stone. Nolan’s Batman shouldn’t be set in stone either. Reboot it in 5 years and leave Nolan’s version in the dust. And yes, that too can be done.

  2. Nolens universe was not sci-fi enought to be shared with the rest of DC. If DC wants to make JL a shared universe like they did in Avengers. They need to reboot Batman so he can exist in the same universe as Superman and Green Lantern. Give him a villian like Clayface, Monster Killer Croc, or dare I say Mr. Freeze.

    If they make JL seperate than fine let J.G.L. play new Batman or Nightwing or whatever.

    In any case a JL movie should have a $400mil+ budget. I know to the bean counters that is scary but WB has the money and it would payoff.

  3. I think they go the route of a semi-reboot, have JGL take up the mantle of Robin in a new trilogy of films. The first film showing Robin becoming the character we all know, much like Batman Begins, and have Emma Stone as Barbara Gordon/Oracle, computer genius, well-informed daughter of James Gordon. Hugo Strange, played by Ben Kingsley? could serve as the antagonist of the first film, introducing Harleen Quinzel, and he’s working for a mysterious benefactor: The Riddler, played by Jeffrey Donovan, who won’t be revealed until the final film.

    • I love the idea of kingsley for strange but he needs to get fit. also like Paul Bethany as the riddler

  4. I believe, as people has said, that this is Nolan telling us exactly what he told us in Begins. Batman is meant to inspire people and to be a symbol. By having Robin John Blake become Batman is his was of showing that that goal has succeeded. Batman doesn’t have to be Bruce Wayne. Batman can be any citizen.

    I don’t want a Nightwing spin off. If they reboot Batman is shouldn’t be for a long time. I’m not too interested in a Justice League movie. Just let it all be.

  5. Justice league should not ever become a movie. Lets face it. It’s not as strong as the Avengers. DC characters stand out alone far better. As for continuing the Nolan universe, I think it will need to have a director capable of pulling it off, let alone a story. I don’t think Goyer or Nolan will write it.

  6. I am positively stunned by the fact that people STILL think the Nolan Batman universe might continue on the big screen. The individual films were fantastic (my personal ranking being: TDKR, TDK, BB), and the trilogy was brilliant, but it’s a TRILOGY. Three films together…then, done. WB/DC will reboot, whether for JLA or not, whether a soft or full reboot. “When?” is the only real question of immediate concern…the style, story(ies), and actors will come later.

    I found TDKR to be an excellent ending to the Nolan telling of the Batman mythos and loved JGL’s portrayal of John Blake (and the inclusion of the character, itself). At the film’s end, however, his entrance into the Batcave doesn’t imply a continuation of the franchise…just a continuation of the legend of Gotham’s protector (whether Batman or Nightwing or…someone else). Bruce has retired to Italy with Selina, after letting his confidants in on his secret survival in subtle (and, I found, brilliant) ways, but he has given “Robin” the means to begin crafting his own legendary identity.

    The film doesn’t set up another film showing this beginning…it simply shows the possibility/probability of this beginning and of the evolution of the “Dark Knight” legend.

    • Yes you summed up my feelings perfectly. Thank You.

      • I totally agree Nightwing; Archaeon nailed it!

    • Archeon,

      well said friend.

  7. Nolan’s Batman has set the bar and it’s going to be hard to reboot it so soon. It is so many ways WB/DC can take the series. Like the book ‘The Dark Knight Returns, where Batman comes out of RETIREMENT cause Gotham has gone to hell. BUT to me the easiest way to put Batman into the JL universe is to do a Batman/Superman movie. And then with JGL it would be like a reboot because he has to be trained and develope into Batman like Batman Begins.

    • well in that case ,there is MAN OF STEEL coming up ! And we can just continue Nolan’s Batman (without a re-boot) to JLA.

  8. I don’t think Batman should be completely rebooted. I definitely think Nolan’s universe should continue, if possible, or at least something close to it. This trilogy was very iconic, and when people hear the word “Batman”, they are gonna think of this trilogy. Basically, we won’t be able to get these films out of our heads for a while. A reboot has a good chance of failing, just because Nolan has placed such a huge influence on Hollywood and our minds. It’s THAT great of an influence and a mark.

    At this very moment, I’m 50/50 on the idea of JLA movie. I believe that it could happen eventually. My honest opinion on why it’s not working right now is because the superheroes themselves are kinda ridiculous, mostly Wonder Woman and The Flash and Aquaman. But I still believe that it could work. Maybe if all the movies were relatively dark and serious like the TDK trilogy? Leading up to a dark and serious JLA movie? This as opposed to a light and funny tone that the Avengers is under (although they seem to be going more dark now). Seems that “Man Of Steel” is going to be pretty dark, so if all the other movies could follow suit, that could probably work.

    This is how I see it: make ONE Batman movie with JGL (or other actor, if they so choose to do so) with JLA influence. Make a sequel to “Man Of Steel” with more JLA influence, along with Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and The Flash. Not Aquaman. He should be introduced Black Widow/Hawkeye style in other films, or not be included at all in this first phase.

    However, people are making a good point about JLA characters not being able to stand alone. Some of the superheroes just LOOK ridiculous. But then again, people thought Thor was kinda ridiculous too. Others are saying Ant-Man is ridiculous as well. But Thor worked. It just comes with the right mindset and right filmmakers. AND the right actors. Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern? Are you serious? And Deadpool?

    My main point is, I don’t think DC heroes work with light and fluffy tones. They need to be serious and also modernized for our audiences. So they can be related to us easily.

    I’m sure people will have their opposed opinions to this. Just want to get my feelings out there.

    • you are 100% correct ! And I want Nolan’s Batman universe to continue as TDKR,TDK and BB were really EPIC!!!

  9. Nolans trilogy may be the best trilogy superhero wise but Marvel kicked DCs ass when it came to getting their Avengers universe created and whatnot, DC was much more unorganized with all that. It will be years and years before Justice league is even released, by that time well have seen “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers 2″ so its not like its gonna catch them up at all. This trilogy needs to be left alone for awhile, its as simple as that.

    • A Juatice aleatue movie was in production in 2008. Way before Marvel even had Avenger’s thoughts produce something tangible, DC had a director, a script and a full cast. Thr only reason it was stopped was because DC didnt want two different Batman’s on screen.

      • Well in that case, Nolan’s Batman should be continued and man of steel and other DC superhero movies must be a sequel to JLA.That would do and there we shall have Justice League !!

  10. All indicators point to another movie it is obivous

    • Not really…

  11. If Christian Bale could come back as Batman for Justice League, then I would say it’s fine to have Levitt have the role of Robin. But if they’re thinking of rebooting Batman – I’d recommend starting fresh.

    • If I were you,I would recommend continuation of Nolan’s Batman cuz there is less time and of there is a reboot it would probably take years to form JLA.So,let’s leave the thought of ‘rebooting’ and concentrate on forming JLA with current DC superheroes.

  12. If the studio is able to keep Nolan’s vision in tow it would make sense to continue with the series. It fits win the batman as a symbol theme l. It’s not like the scenario is unfamiliar to he batman cannon anyway. Levitt is a quality actor that could follow in Bale’s footsteps. I don’t want to see another reboot, but I don’t want to see some one come along and F*** up the series like Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.

  13. If the studio is able to keep Nolan’s vision in tow it would make sense to continue with the series. It fits win the batman as a symbol theme l. It’s not like the scenario is unfamiliar to he batman cannon anyway. Levitt is a quality actor that could follow in Bale’s footsteps. I don’t want to see another reboot, but I don’t want to see some one come along and F* up the series like Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.

    • Agreed!!

  14. If the studio is able to keep Nolan’s vision in tow it would make sense to continue with the series. It fits win the batman as a symbol theme l. It’s not like the scenario is unfamiliar to he batman cannon anyway. Levitt is a quality actor that could follow in Bale’s footsteps. I don’t want to see another reboot, but I don’t want to see some one come along and Mess up the series like Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.

  15. Throwing it out there but after watching that “stars earn their stripes” reality show I think Eve Torres (yes the WWE Diva) would be perfect for Wonder Woman. She’s got the physique, the voice and with black hair she’d look pretty much like her. Discuss.

  16. You either die a trilogy or you live long enough to see yourself become Batman and Robin…

  17. Im looking forward to a batman that will keep to the comic book ok nolans movies were good but lets get real lets stop straying away from the original stories and try to keep to the stories and make them in a better image i mean be creative but keep the story to the basic concepts and stories from the comics ppl are tired of these messed up stories that can’t keep to the main story of the books

  18. Honestly Even though batman would not be in the new JL movie personally I would be fine with that they should continue on with robin in the new movie and reference batman as his teacher I think people would be more outraged if they rebooted batman because for one its too soon and for two Nolan did an incredible job the reboot would never live up to it

    • So….. You think that because of Chris Nolan batman can never go on the screen… I agree they should do a Robin trilogy before they bring back Batman but a Batman reboot needs to be done sooner or latter a Batman reboot shouldn’t be done for another 10/15 years and by then they’ll probably have new movie making technology or something… But what I want to see is a Robin trilogy with no Batman in about 3/4 years… Then when that finishes it probably won be as good as Nolan Batman so about 5/7 years after Robing trilogy finished they make a trilogy (NOT A LEGACY) With Batman/Robin if the b/r trilogy is horrible then at least it will give some1 the chance to mak a Batman trilogy and they’ll be relived after the b/r but… If b/r does good… Then we’ll be right back where we are know Or my last and final idea is just leave batman and robin off the screen and bring in The Man of Steel JL Aquaman and Wonder Woman

      • A Robin trilogy? Are you kidding me? Please do not take offense but first, I would NOT pay to see that. Second, without Batman there is no Robin. Robin is the sidekick… Nightwing, maybe. But that’s Greyson, not Blake, and I do not believe the character is strong enough to stand on his own in a solo movie without Batman. I do not want to see Batman/Robin movie(s) either. I’d like Superman/Batman and/or JLA. As amazing as Nolan’s trilogy was, it is time to let it stand on its own and be respected for what it was. Although Bale is a brilliant actor and was a great Batman, I never felt like he looked like how I envision Bruce Wayne to look. I think a new actor (not Joseph Gordon-Levitt) could don the cape and cowl in the future and breath new life into the character. If done correctly, it can be totally feasible for Batman to live in a shared space with Superman/Wonder Woman/Green Lantern/Flash etc… Lets go DC. Pick up the slack! Marvel is kicking your butt!

        • The Bat,

          Couldn’t agree more. Put Nolan’s trilogy in the rear-view mirror and keep moving forward. :)

  19. TDKR is alot closer to the comcis than you think. Visuals and plot points from the comics used in TDKR.

  20. Why can’t we just have a Nightwing movie? How awesome would that be?!

  21. JGL could easily be like Azrael in the comics and Bruce could come take back the mantle in a movie before Justice League or even in the beginning of it you could even keep JGL as a nightwing like character.

  22. I admire Nolan’s trilogy as a piece of impressive filmmaking on a high level. What Nolan succeeded in doing was turn a comic book movie-movie into a dramatic action hero film. He created memorable cinematic moments and acting with realism. Much as he turned Batman into a symbol he turned a comic book story into more of a commentary on modern times.
    However, what I think was seriously lacking in this 3rd final time around was a chance to see Batman in full-on action Bat-Mode. He already Began, became the Knight… We didn’t need to see him begin AGAIN. Gimme Batman jumping around, using batgadjets. You have a Bat- use it as more than a way to see the bat-sights! Don’t grow a bat-beard and dwell in a prison, again… The action is chopped up and without impact. No cause and effect shots(other than a broken back- which was effective), only the semblance of movement.
    Other than that my only main gripe with the whole series is that the “realistic” take on Batman vs. Gotham and its people is inconsistant. A man would never bother putting on bat ears, in a universe where the cities are real (not a gothic gargoyle in sight)- that’d seem silly as opposed to scary. In a Gotham which isn’t Gotham, its just a modern city- He’d be wearing a ski mask, no more…
    So… Let Nolan keep his trilogy as such, he earned it. Leave it as it is. Time for a different direction. Make a new Batman that is true to the origins. Make it a comic book movie. In the best sense. Make it a dark, scary world, suspensful, brutal. Make it twisted fun. Make it with VISUALLY flowing action and immerse us in the Dark Knight’s cowl. Make the pages come to life, and savour the madness of the Rouges Gallery, and the madness of The Bat-Man!

  23. TDKR should have totally ended like one of those made-up versions… too funny!


  25. I actually remember — and probably always will, even if he becomes “oscar winning” JGL — for 3rd Rock, not angels

  26. there should be no sequel from another director, Nolan has managed to create a perfect trilogy with great success,unless he wants to continue which probably will never happen there should be no sequel to the trilogy.
    Though a reboot will be great!

    • Its far from perfect. It’s kinda outrageous how everyone thinks Batman can’t survive successfully without Nolan. Batman more than any other superhero has been rebooted and reimagined. I would, however, be interested in seeing a Batman Beyond series. I think that would be neat to see on a big screen

  27. Great ending to the trilogy. I’m sure the passing of the torch suggestion was just a way to conclude Gotham City’s necessity for Bruce Wayne’s protection. Handing the reigns over to the coincidentally named Robin was probably just an easter egg for fans, nothing more.

    In the event that Warner Bros. does produce another Batman film, it’s time for a new director’s vision for the characters. Altough many consider The Dark Knight to be the best of Nolan’s trilogy, I thought Batman Begins was the best one of the bunch, followed by Dark Knight and then Dark Knight Rises – each just slightly less interesting than the one before it. I fear more films told in this universe would only get worse. Nolan is wise to end his series on a high note.

  28. If Batman gets rebooted, I will be physically sick. Nolan’s Batman trilogy were simply incredible and just can’t be bettered. It would be a huge slap in the face to all of the time, effort and quality that Nolan brought to Gotham, and an insult to all of its fans, myself included, if they just started over. If they’re really so greedy as to reboot Batman, I will be so ANGRY!

    • count me too!! When I’ve seen Nolan’s Batman I really became a huge fan of Batman . And I hope that there is a sequel for Nolan’s Batman to JLA without a reboot.

    • My thoughts exactly. I don’t actually even want a continuation of the Batman series, but Joseph Gordon Levitt as Batman is a FAR superior alternative to a reboot, and one or the other will happen, considering the Justice League movie is ever approaching.

  29. If they try to continue the Dark Knight trilogy, any sequel will be completely lame in comparison. It was made to be just that – a trilogy. Personally, I think including Batman in the Justice League movie is a mistake, too. There are plenty of other D.C. heroes they can implement. Leave Batman alone for a decade or so. It’s achieved god-status in the movie industry. Trying to milk any more out of it will just ruin the whole thing.