He needs to become an ultimate villain, too, not just a power-hungry jerk that operates in a moral grey area. Rachel Dawes, the love of Wayne's life, died as a result of his reckless shenanibatmanigans, and that didn't stop Wayne from fighting the good bat-fight, so it's going to take quite a lot to get him to retire. Bruce Wayne needs to see himself as a monster, a monster that's so horrible he would have to hang up his mask and quit Batmanning forever. Since this is Bruce Wayne we're talking about, the most monstrous thing he could see himself doing would be to kill his own parents. Which, obviously, he can't do.
Or can he?
Alfred cares more about Batman than anyone in the world (excluding me, obviously). He took care of Bruce as a boy. He raised Bruce. He covers for Bruce whenever he decides to go Batmanning all over town, he stitches Wayne up when said Batmanning doesn't go as well as Batplanned. He lies, helps defraud Wayne Enterprises and breaks several laws, all for Bruce Wayne. He's like a father to Bruce. And if you think that Alfred wouldn't kill to protect Bruce's secret identity, then you're vastly underestimating the strength of a father-son bond.
That's the Batman movie I'd make. The film opens on a series of murders, and all of the victims are people who, through research and analysis, are clearly on the verge of discovering Batman's identity. The police are hunting Batman, because clues support the idea that Batman would be the one to murder to protect his own identity, and Batman meanwhile is doing his best detective work to find the real killer, to clear his name and to, you know, stop all of that killing. But he can't catch the real killer, who always seems to be one step ahead of Batman. It's almost like the killer knows everything before Batman knows it; he's a better detective and knows exactly how to fly under Batman's radar. Only someone with intimate knowledge of Batman could be that good at avoiding capture. And obviously they'd probably have some kind of police or military background.
Alfred. Because Alfred, decades ago, swore to Thomas Wayne that he would protect Bruce with his life, it's clear that he would do anything to preserve Wayne's secret identity, even if it meant killing a bunch of people who could potentially reveal everything. It wouldn't be an easy choice, but Alfred knew that being Batman's associate was never going to be easy. It means being the Alfred that Batman needs, not the Alfred that Batman deserves.
Batman, being Batman, would eventually catch and be forced to stop Alfred, by any means necessary (death or jail, which would also basically be death). Essentially, Batman would be killing his own father figure, thereby watching his father die twice. It would be heartbreaking and horrible and difficult, but it would also be the only thing that could teach Bruce that being Batman does come with a cost, a cost that even he can't withstand. Nolan's Batman universe is a realistic one, and in reality, no one should be Batman, because it's wrong. Legally, morally and ethically.
The first two Batman movies set this up so perfectly, I would almost be depressed if Nolan didn't end up making this movie. I say "almost" because, again, Nolan will make a different movie and it'll be way, WAY better. Certainly less depressing, anyway.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies) and is prepared to write any of these movies (movie people).
For more from Dan, check out The 4 Biggest Missed Opportunities in Fiction and If Bruce Wayne Was More Like Other Guys.