Since the release of The Dark Knight nearly a decade ago, fan theories related to small details and movieverse-only canon have surfaced and run rampant throughout the internet. In fact, speculation is becoming something of a budding sport within movie fandom, especially when it comes to comic book movies. So while all of these theories should be taken with a grain of salt, it's also great to think about all of the above-and-beyond possibilities within comic book movies! Check out our round-up of the craziest fan theories below.
1. Batman Died at the end of The Dark Knight Rises
Easily the most popular (and possibly obvious) theories is one that decides not to go deeper than the surface of the movie's ending, the idea that Batman has long since been dead by the time Alfred supposedly spots him is fairly easy to believe. The long and short of it is that Alfred spotting Bruce in Florence is a hallucination, or wishful thinking. Alfred, missing Bruce, likely projects that image of he and Selina happily hiding in Florence to comfort himself.
It gets worse: According to some theories, young Bruce fell down a well. Couple that with the death of Bruce's parents, and you have one distraught Aflred. Unable to cope with failing all of his employers, Alfred instead went mad and concocted a fantasy world where Bruce grows up to be "the hero that Gotham deserves".
Alone in Wayne Manor, Alfred takes his own life - the ending we see is one where Alfred is able to join Bruce again and plays out the end of his fantasy world, where Bruce has run away with Selina, to help Alfred rest easy.
Here's why at least part of this is more than likely true: Bruce Wayne is a massive public figure. People know him worldwide for more reasons than one can count on two hands, so the idea that he could just be chilling out on the down-low in Italy (ESPECIALLY Florence -- we're not talking a small village on the coast of Ireland, we're talking tourist-infested FLORENCE, ITALY) is completely out of whack. How could someone not notice?
If Bruce truly wanted to fake his death and disappear, he'd at least make the effort to change his appearance. He is, after all, Bruce Wayne, and I'm sure he has a reserve of cold hard cash set aside for these kinds of situations. He's Batman, people. He wouldn't slip so easily!
2. The Joker is a War Vet
Another near-confirmed theory involves the Joker's origins, which are never clear in the movie (reflecting the comics universe, where only a few storylines have offered a look into the Joker's haywire spiral into madness). The theory speculates that, in the Nolanverse, the Joker is a war veteran. Very obviously, something is wrong with the Joker's head, and violent actions like his could be an effect of PTSD.
Aside from the quick assumption that the Joker went insane after serving in the military, his tactical skills are more than enough to back it up. He's an expert when it comes to infiltrating protected areas, acquiring and creating weapons, and putting a successful (and very, very dangerous) plan together. Throw that together with this:
... and you've got a pretty viable argument for the Joker's past experiences. In everything he does, he is calculated, chaotic, and completely melancholy. Through the Joker's madness, there's an obvious depression and a very dark understanding of the world around him. With his skillset and the hints he drops in conversation with both Batman and Harvey Dent, one can assume that the Joker was a special ops agent (later becoming a self-described "agent of chaos") that may have been captured and tortured -- more than likely alongside his comrades, all or most of whom he watched as they died.
3. Alfred is Really Bruce Wayne's Father
One of the admittedly weaker theories that spun off from Nolan's movies (and directly into the overall Batman canon) is that Alfred is, in fact, Bruce's biological father. The reasoning is pretty basic: Alfred is simply far too dedicated to Bruce. I'd swipe this theory under the rug for several reasons; there's almost no actual evidence, and you don't need to be related to someone to care about them more than yourself.
While a whirlwind romance between Martha Wayne and Alfred is intriguing (and also disheartening, because this writer doesn't find the idea of cheating super romantic) there's also no evidence in the movie or comics canon that Alfred is more than Batman's mentor, assistant, and often, his trainer. When one spends their entire life raising a child alone (and that child later becomes the freaking Batman) it's easy to get attached like a parent would. This one goes out to the legal guardians out there, because that's what I believe Alfred is and nothing can change my mind on that.
Do you have any interesting theories about the Nolanverse Batman? Or - more importantly - are you speculating what's up for the Dark Knight now that Affleck is donning the cowl? Let me know in the comments!