Christopher Nolan looks at Batman 3 one way: the end of the line.
Talking to the LA Times from his Inception editing bay, Nolan says “Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story… And in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story.”
That’s obviously the correct way to approach any film series – close it off. A story without an ending isn’t a story, it’s one long tangent, and I’ve long said that the problem with modern superhero comics is that they’re the endless adventures of these characters. No endings means no arcs, which means you never feel a sense of completion.
“I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters,” Nolan said.“My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these things don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling. And it harkens back to that priority of trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories. That’s what we do.”
But what does an ending for the Batman franchise mean? Does it mean killing Batman? Ending his career in some definitive way? Or just wrapping up the thematic threads and leaving the ending open to more sequels, with Batman perched atop some Gotham landmark?
What’s funny is that the first option – killing Batman – seemed far-fetched to me until… well, until the last year or so. Hollywood’s obsession with reboots and remakes means that a totally restarted Batman 4 doesn’t seem so unlikely. And if you’re going to just hand the franchise off to the next guy to begin again, why not get really conclusive with this one?
Of course I still doubt that Batman will bite it at the end of Batman 3 - I’m assuming the finality that Nolan is talking about will be thematic – but this does open some intriguing avenues of thought about what could be happening in this film, which is being written by Jonathan Nolan right now, and which is being called by the assumed director (Christopher Nolan won’t confirm he’s directing Batman 3 until he’s finished with Inception) an ‘epic story.’ That basic story comes from David Goyer, and it’s being written into a script by J. Nolan.
One detail Nolan would let slip: No Mr. Freeze.