Parsing bullshit!

One shudders to think how many aspiring screenwriters have devoted dozens or hundreds of their man hours to writing speculative scripts for a Batman film set in the current franchise- many probably filled with clunky attempts to shoehorn in their favorite villain with a “Nolan-style” level of reality. Among all of those scripts, there must be at least a handful that are written with a full understanding of screenplay formatting, and perhaps even with some level of skill- just as a sheer matter of statistics. This is the main reason that ScriptFlags assertion that the “leaked” Dark Knight Rises script they received is “a seriously well constructed and contained work that bears no traits normal fakes harbor,” does literally nothing to deter my giant, neon-lit, BEN-HUR-lettered mental “Bullshit” sign from lighting up like the Fourth of July.

I’m going to give you a distilled summary, adapted from their own description of the 165 page script, credited to Jon Nolan & David Goyer (with a story from Christopher Nolan), though it seems it is primarily adapted from the Prey comicbook storyline.


  • Deadshot happens. He’s smuggled out of Russia, through Europe and into the states by a secret society called “The Society.”
  • Crime has dried up considerably in Gotham, so Batman keeps everything on the down-low and has been relegated mostly to street myth.
  • Despite the whole “down low” thing, the Dark Knight apparently now utilizes a giant goddamn helicopter called “The Wraith” and a new EMP-stocked Batmobile.
  • Wayne Enterprises is struggling with a lawsuit, and Lucius Fox is mad at Wayne or something (public farce to save the company, I think).
  • Deadshot is hired by The Society, led by an “ebony skull” wearing Black Mask to kill Batman.
  • Hugo Strange happens, but he has the name Edward Nashton (EDIT: Some commenters noted this is The Riddler’s name, but the script apparently has him taking on Strange’s characteristics). Figures out Batman’s identity.
  • Talia Al Ghul happens.
  • Gordon is sent after Batman by the mayor, leads a taskforce to do so.

Dark Knight poster from our new CHUD art partner, FroDesign.

I don’t want to show my ass here and be proven wrong in several months, but most of that sounds tremendously dumb. I have no doubt a number of those elements are much more gracefully written in the Prey series (or even in the script itself) than they read when so summarized. That said, this reads like a checklist of message-board fanwanking, and feels like the most obvious path one would take towards theorizing Nolan’s next move. On a more specific basis, the script apparently leaves no room for the two female leads that were widely reported on back in November (thought that news could have been bullshit as well).

I have my own guesses and hopes for where Nolan takes Batman’s story, but ultimately I’m most excited to see what that team comes up with that I haven’t thought of, and that isn’t obvious. I certainly have no wish to see the bland, convoluted, and slightly illogical sounding story summarized above to become the ultimate finale of what has so-far been a set of high-quality, interesting superhero films.

It would be tough to get away with skipping over potentially big Batman news, but I don’t want to report nonsense without some added value, so I’d like to point you towards a nice interview with Chris Nolan from Deadline. Inception is just enough of a major awards contender that Warner Brothers is going to push it, and that means Nolan is up to all of the award-season glad-handing and chatting that you would expect. This shortish interview is mostly focused on the early beginnings of Inception, but he lets loose a few more thoughts about The Dark Knight and how that experience prepared him to make this summer’s smartest Blockbuster. With two large-scale successes in a row, you can bet Nolan feels empowered to continue bringing his large-scale, but grounded-in-the-tactile storytelling to The Dark Knight Rises.

As for the script? Well, you decide. We’ve got a great new comment system and a spiffy new Message Board platform, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on the veracity of this supposed script in either forum. So have at it in THE MESSAGE BOARDS, or in the comment reply box below.

There's a holan this Nolan story.