In the time leading up to The Dark Knight Rises it was made clear that Christopher Nolan‘s Batman films would be a trilogy and that would be the extent of his involvement with the character and the universe. However, the ending of the film caused moviegoers to again question whether Nolan would indeed be back. After all, how can an ending that opens so many doors have any sense of finality to it, for fans or a filmmaker?
The discussion and debates about the film’s ending have been sparked again by the recent rumor that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be starring as Batman in The Justice League, leading fans to believe that Nolan’s ending was indeed setting up for further Batman films based in the universe he created.
In an excellent interview with Film Comment, Nolan reiterated his thoughts on whether he would return to the Batman world. Check out what he had to say below.
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.
None of this is radically new from what Nolan has said before about the films. He also said he wanted nothing to do with the Justice League film, so for there to be any speculation about him leaving doors open to give his Batman universe the possibility of being further franchised is erroneous.
The theme of Batman as more than a man, as a symbol, was richly shown throughout all three films, not just the final one. Blake going to the Batcave at the end of the film was simply Nolan’s way of allowing that theme to leave a final stamp on the trilogy, nothing more.