Warner Brothers wanted a follow up to The Dark Knight Rises, according to star and onetime Batman Christian Bale.
Bale’s time in the role began with Batman Begins in 2005, progressing to The Dark Knight in 2008, for which Heath Ledger posthumously won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the Joker, before the trilogy ended with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
When Bale was interviewed by the Toronto Sun while doing press for Ford v Ferrari though, he revealed that his time as the Caped Crusader could have lasted even longer. When filming with director Christopher Nolan, they worked on the assumption that each movie would be their last, and that if they were fortunate enough to make a whole trilogy, they would walk away happy, so with the series having a genuine ending, they felt their work was done. However, with the latter two entries both making over $1 billion, Warner Bros were not content to just let the series lie on its laurels, not when there was the potential of even more money to be made.
Despite the possibility of further success though, when the studio approached them to ask about doing a fourth installment, Bale declined, stating that his thoughts were as follows:
“We have to stick to Chris’ dream, which was always to, hopefully, do a trilogy. Let’s not stretch too far and become overindulgent.”
Predating the release of Iron Man by three years, Batman Begins is seen by many as the true beginning of the current boom of comic book movies that shows no sign of abating any time soon. And while the expansive roster of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery means that the potential for further villains for him to face off against – thinly veiled or otherwise – could have led to multiple further films, Bale probably had the right idea to just let things end with The Dark Knight Rises and not risk a potential decline in quality tainting what they’d already achieved.