Christian Bale Explains Why He Turned Down A Fourth Batman Movie

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Following Joel Schumacher’s disastrous Batman & Robin in 1997, Batman‘s cinematic reputation was left in tatters until Christopher Nolan came along and reinvented the character eight years later with Batman Begins, which would go on to become one of the most influential comic book movies ever made and set the template for dark and gritty reboots for years to come.

For many people, Christian Bale’s take on Bruce Wayne became the definitive big-screen interpretation of both the billionaire playboy and his costumed alter-ego, as the Dark Knight Trilogy went on to massive critical and commercial success. In a recent interview to promote racing drama Ford v Ferrari, Bale reflected on his time working on the superhero series and admitted that during the making of Batman Begins they approached the project with the mindset that they were going to take it one movie at a time.

“We never were arrogant to assume that we had an opportunity beyond one film at a time. That’s something Chris would always talk about. He’d say, ‘This is it. We’re making one film. That’s all we’ve got’. Then when they came and said, ‘You want to go make another?’, it was fantastic but we still said, ‘This is it. We will not get another opportunity’. Then they came and they said, ‘OK, let’s do a third one’. Chris had always said to me that if we were fortunate enough to be able to make three we would stop. ‘Let’s walk away after that’, he said.”

Obviously, The Dark Knight would go on to earn over three times as much at the box office as its predecessor, and is lauded by many as the greatest comic book movie ever made. However, The Dark Knight Rises proved to be a little more divisive among diehard Batman fans, but nonetheless brought the trilogy to a relatively satisfying conclusion.

It turns out that Warner Bros. were keen to keep milking the cash cow, and went as far as to approach Bale and Nolan about a fourth installment, which the duo would respectfully decline.

“When they inevitably came to us and said, ‘How about a number four?’, I said, ‘No. We have to stick to Chris’ dream, which was always to hopefully do a trilogy. Let’s not stretch too far and become overindulgent and go for a fourth’. That’s why we, well Chris, stepped away. After that I was informed my services were no longer required.”

Since then, the World’s Greatest Detective is already onto his second reboot, with Robert Pattinson taking over the cape and cowl from Ben Affleck in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. While it would have been great to see Nolan and Bale continue tackling Batman stories, they made the right decision in wrapping their narrative up over three films.