Christopher Nolan‘s epic conclusion to the Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises, is just a couple of weeks away and I figured it would be worth discussing how we think Nolan could end the series. We know for a fact that The Dark Knight Rises will be Nolan’s last film as a director and Christian Bale‘s last film as Batman (unless Nolan for some reason returns as director), so it’s safe to say that this film will probably wrap things up pretty tightly.
Nolan isn’t known for teasing his fans too much, so I don’t think we should be going in expecting something too open ended. Still, that leaves plenty of ways for them to end this epic trilogy and I’ve decided to touch up on a few theories below. Keep in mind this list is just for fun and not meant to be taken seriously at all. I’m just speculating like most Batfans out there!
5. Passing The Torch
The Dark Knight Rises introduces a frisky feline into the mix, with Anne Hathaway portraying the burglar known as Catwoman. The trailers have led us to believe that she starts out as an enemy, but eventually becomes an ally as Bane terrorizes the city and threatens Gotham like never before. Nolan could put focus on the character of Catwoman and possibly even have her take up Batman’s mantle when it’s all said and done.
There’s also been talk about the character of Robin appearing. Nolan and Bale have shot down that rumor a dozen of times before, but I wouldn’t completely rule that out. Still, Robin is mostly known as Batman’s sidekick, not the man in charge.
A direction that I wouldn’t mind they went in would be to bring forth a new Batman, similar to the cartoon series Batman Beyond. Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s character has been kept mostly unknown, with the plot points describing him as a cop, but wouldn’t it be awesome if the film acts as his transformation from determined cop to eventual cape crusader? This idea could work in Warner Bros. favor, because they’ve already discussed the idea of continuing the Batman franchise after Nolan steps down.
If they had a new Batman to continue the series then perhaps they could somehow merge him with their planned Justice League movie? They’d have a young actor that could play the character in his own trilogy, plus do the tie-in Justice League film. I doubt Nolan wants any part of setting up another Batman series to launch off of his success, so this idea is probably going to remain an idea.
4. Retire Batman
This sounds like the safest and most boring approach to the conclusion, but I wouldn’t put it past Nolan and company to simply retire the character during the final minutes. We know Batman is going to be beat up and broken at one point during the film, so why not have him finish off Bane and retire? The city might finally be ready to take control of itself, without any need for a vigilante. I really hope this isn’t the case, because it would just feel too much like settling and not ending on its own terms.
3. Continue Batman
This is the most unlikely scenario, especially since they’ve confirmed that they won’t be returning for any more films, but what if Nolan and Bale think it’s best to end the series with Batman on top, continuing to fight crime? That way if anyone did want to take over the series they’d have to start fresh and come up with their own ideas, because Nolan and his Batman character are still alive and kicking by the end of The Dark Knight Rises. I’d like this ending, but it would feel much like #4 in terms of settling and not going out with a bang.
2. Have Chaos Take Over
If Nolan really wants to show his balls in terms of going where no man has ever gone before, he could end The Dark Knight Rises on the grimiest of levels, with Batman losing to Bane and letting chaos reign supreme over Gotham. It would be a dark and unsettling way to end the series, but these films have focused on remaining real and gritty, so don’t put it past Nolan to end the film with Batman falling (after rising?) and Gotham’s scum taking over.
1. Kill The Batman
This is one that has been hinted at in the trailers and discussed highly. What if Nolan had it in him to kill off the Batman? This would be a different take than #2, because Batman could still be victorious over Bane and give his life in the process. Batman has made so many sacrifices for the people Gotham; it would only be fit for him to give them the ultimate sacrifice in return for their ongoing peace. I’m banking on Nolan going this route to conclude the series, mostly because it will guarantee no possible way for WB to ride off his success and because it fits the story and character of Batman.
Whatever ending we do get I’m sure Christopher Nolan will do the character justice and end the trilogy on a high note. I have faith in him as a filmmaker and I have faith that he and the entire cast will do right by the fans and deliver one of the best comic-book movies of all time.
The Dark Knight Rises stars Tom Hardy, Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It opens on July 20th, 2012.
Feel free to drop a comment below with your thoughts on our 5 ways to end Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Do you like some of our ideas or do you have something better? Let us know!