Last week Chris Nolan achieved the unthinkable, he created a complete and compelling trilogy that succeeded in every avenue of what he intended to do; linking the story into the mystery of Batman Begins while simultaneously expanding on the mythic scope introduced in The Dark Knight Rises
Rises ended how Begins began on a human note, nothing to do with capes or masks, just people and the meaningful relationships they form with one another. And it really did end; Nolan closed the book and even announced from the start that this was THE END for his Batman and we… believed him. Why shouldn’t we? Except that he left us with such a awesomely open ending that we couldn’t HELP but speculate what a direct sequel might look like…
MASSIVE SPOILERS TO FOLLOW
Even if The Hobbit is split into three movies, Warner will still want to continue the adventures of their most popular franchise. After all, Potter ain’t getting rebooted for while so its HIGHLY likely that Warner execs are sat in a room with Joseph Gordon-Levitt discussing what it would take to get him back for at least one more movie.
I’m speculating, but since we’re already here, let’s go a little further; let’s think about what a Dark Knight Part 4 might actually look like.
To me it’s clear that if Warner wants to continue in Nolan’s universe they can’t attempt to get Christian Bale back, at least not in a leading man capacity. Any future movies must star just one man, Robin John Blake.
Since Blake seems to be a little old to don the green pants and run around the streets of Gotham as a solo Robin, it’s much more likely that he’ll don the cape and cowl left behind by one Bruce Wayne. A second Batman? It would be the logical option, since Wayne himself repeatedly explained how Batman is more than just a man and is a symbol that anyone could portray. Easy then, to have JGL slip into the costume, maybe a few alterations here, a stab vest there, and he’d be good to go.
Or there’s this: (CBM picked up this unofficial image)
For those not in the know of how awesome an image this is, let me take you back to the comics. It’s Dick Grayson, the original Robin (there have been several, don’t sweat it) when he got a little older and fancied himself as his own force for justice took on a superhero personal of his own. Thus, Nightwing was born and Batman received one of his most trusted allies. Nightwing is the logical choice for JGL to play since he’s too old for Robin but technically IS Robin because of his name so it the show kind fits.
It’s also a good fit for Warner Bros too, as a Nightwing movie has a lot more freedoms that a Batman movie does not have. If Warner could tempt Mr. Gordon-Levitt back for Nightwing movie they could lose important Batman elements like Chris Nolan, Christian Bale, Lucius Fox and other more expensive or non-interested parties. That means freedom to create a new Gotham seen through the slightly more rose-tinted eyes of JGL. You also get to follow on from one of the most successful trilogies of all time and that’s a plus. (A Michael Caine cameo wouldn’t hurt either.)
Let’s look at what’s left in Gotham for a potential Joseph Gordon-Levitt Nightwing to sort out in a new movie:
A Broken Gotham
Despite the relatively awesome/happy ending of The Dark Knight Rises, Gotham City is still reeling from a five-month occupation. An occupation that saw half of its population resort to criminal revolution and the other half confined to their houses or the sewers. This leaves plenty of room for a lot of cleaning up. The aftermath of Bane’s occupation has to be massive and I would kill to see how the citizens of Gotham deal with their newly restored city. Remember the boats in The Dark Knight? Deep down your average Gothamite is a good person but overall they’re prepared to do some pretty awful things to get what they want. A city without super villains with just JGL’s Nightwing cleaning up the chaos on the streets could make for a fantastic realistic movie.
A Hero’s Destiny
Blake went through a sort of spiritual awakening during The Dark Knight Rises, first condemning corruption, then rejecting guns and finally learning to help people rather than fight. That was all within the space of an hour, so I think over the course of an entire movie we could see some pretty interesting character development. Perhaps Blake creates the persona of Nightwing because he carries with him after Bruce’s apparent death a feeling of guilt and unworthiness at inheriting the Bat-mantle. Nightwing could be his way of using the technology and resources available without fully committing to Batman. This of course could pave the way to a cracking cliffhanger where Blake finally accepts his destiny and becomes The Bat.
A Rogues Gallery
Lest we forget The Joker and The Scarecrow are still out there, twiddling their thumbs while Bane and his girlfriend cause havoc. According to new info, The Joker is locked in Arkham, but as we saw in the movie Scarecrow is alive and well, holding court in the underbelly of Gotham. These scumbags need to be dealt with, and a whole load of new villains need to debut. By bringing in different directors, the Nightwing franchise can go places Nolan’s world couldn’t places that include some of the more outlandish supervillains… villains made of clay or that look like crocodiles. It’s just an idea, but a new director definitely brings a new vision. Give it enough time, and by the time we get to Nightwing Part 3 where Blake has assumed the role of The Batman full time, it might just be enough of a target to pull a certain white faced laughing man out of retirement. We’re talking like 2020 here, so I’m pretty certain it’s be OK to recast the late great Heath by then. (Or what? We just NEVER see the Joker on screen again? Well, I know what I’d prefer.) Either way theres MASSESS of villain potential for this franchise.
Phew, I’m tapped from nine hours of speculating my Bat-nuts off. While I’m aware it’s all nonsense, and Warner will probably go a COMPLETELY different way, I did have a heck of a time writing about the possible future of Batman. It’s almost like fanfic for crappy journalists! Hope you enjoyed reading it! Let me know your ideas for a fourth Batman in the comments.