The last few weeks have seen a dramatic influx of information regarding Christopher Nolan's third -and final- Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. In typical Nolan fashion, each new detail that emerges typically leads to more questions.
We know that Tom Hardy has been cast, but we don't know who he's playing. We know that The Riddler won't be in the film, but we don't know who the actual villain is. We know that Nolan is meeting with several young actresses, but we don't know for which role. You get the idea...
The often cryptic filmmaker recently spoke to EW, and while he doesn't reveal the answer to any of those questions mentioned above, or acknowledge whether or not the film is based on the graphic novel Prey, he does express his unbridled enthusiasm for the project.
Nolan also confirms that The Dark Knight Rises is indeed his last Batman movie and admits that after Inception, it was somewhat comforting to return to a universe with an established framework and characters:
"I feel very glad that I’m doing another Batman film. I think it would have been daunting to sit down and write an original script after Inception. I love working within the realm and rules of our Batman world. It’s kind of nice to have someplace to go that I’m super-excited about."
He also explains that the critical and commercial success of Inception has allowed him to work on The Dark Knight Rises without any pressure or interference from the studio:
“I must say that I’m glad — I’m very, very glad — to be embarking on the last chapter of our Batman saga without any sense of obligation or duty to the studio. They did very well with Inception. So I’m able to go into finishing our story in a very enthusiastic way.”
This should ease any lingering concern that Warner Bros. somehow twisted his arm to direct The Dark Knight Rises, or that his enthusiasm isn't at the same level it was for previous installments. It's always been imperative to Nolan that something within the film or story speaks to him, so it should be interesting to learn what aspects of this final entry excited him.
As for further explorations of the world he created in Inception, Nolan says he always saw the potential for other stories taking place within that universe. Many fans thought that the film's premise lent itself quite naturally to a videogame and Nolan agrees:
“I always imagined Inception to be a world where a lot of other stories could take place ... At the moment, the only direction we’re channeling that is by developing a videogame set in the world.”
While the medium is one he claims he's always wanted to get involved with, Nolan admits that an Inception videogame is still a ways off. But if he's envisioned other stories that deal with entering someone's dreams, does that mean we might see an Inception sequel (or sequels) at some point? Nolan reveals:
“It’s not something I want to say no to, but it’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought about.”
He concludes the interview by touching on Inception's ambiguous ending and how curious it is that so many viewers are looking for a definitive answer:
“I’ve been asked the question more times than I’ve ever been asked any other question about any other film I’ve made ... That’s definitely the question. It keeps coming back to that. What’s funny to me is that people really do expect me to answer it.”
*INCEPTION SPOILERS AHEAD*
Nolan explains that to blatantly state whether or not Cobb was dreaming would not only be a disservice to the film (and its audience), but that people obsessed with finding the answer are missing the point entirely:
“There can’t be anything in the film that tells you one way or another because then the ambiguity at the end of the film would just be a mistake ... It would represent a failure of the film to communicate something. But it’s not a mistake. I put that cut there at the end, imposing an ambiguity from outside the film. That always felt the right ending to me — it always felt like the appropriate ‘kick’ to me….The real point of the scene — and this is what I tell people — is that Cobb isn’t looking at the top. He’s looking at his kids. He’s left it behind. That’s the emotional significance of the thing.”
Even though he'd never say "I told you so!" (okay, he might), our senior editor Kofi Outlaw came to the same conclusion in his analysis of Inception's ending right after the film's release. So there you have it.
I'm looking forward to watching how The Dark Knight Rises comes together and the idea of expanding the Inception franchise is pretty intriguing as well. I think Nolan is one of the most interesting directors working right now (especially within the studio system) and it's pretty incredible to have the opportunity to watch a filmmaker operating in his prime.
You can own Inception on DVD and Blu-Ray December 7th. The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20, 2012.