Advanced Batman Theory: Why Nolan Will Kill Bruce Wayne
In a few weeks, we will all get to see a six minute prologue of the much-anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, which will be attached to the less-anticipated Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Several months after that, we will get to see the final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy. However, I can already tell you what will (or should) happen in the film ...SPOILER AND OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE ALERT: Batman goddamn dies.
Of course, that probably won't be the only thing that happens, but it will be what everyone is trying to not talk about in front of people who haven't seen it yet. As an expert in Advanced Batman Theory (and with a cursory knowledge of Quantum Batman Theory), I can tell you without seeing a single minute of the movie that this is how it has to go down. Nolan has said time and time again that he will not return to the Batman franchise. He is telling his own Batman story and when Rises hits theaters, that's the end of it. Christian Bale has made similar claims. But that's only a small fraction of why I think -- nay, why I know -- that the Dark Knight must die. Here's why ...
Before we start, it's important that you know two things: 1) I might be insane, and 2) I really hope Christopher Nolan is a genius. Here is proof of both.
After making Batman Begins (part 1 in The Dark Knight Trilogy), Nolan made The Prestige, a film about magicians and David Bowie. In it, Nolan gave us the three steps to performing an illusion: The Pledge, The Turn and The Prestige. The Pledge is the setup. It presents to you something ordinary that is most likely not ordinary at all. The Turn takes that ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Something unexpected. And then there's The Prestige, which basically just blows your fucking mind. It takes the unexpected something from The Turn and turns it on its head, making you believe in magic.
Disturbing, terrible magic ...
What I'm getting at, and what I suspect about Nolan, is that he is currently on the tail end of finishing two separate trilogies. When he was done with part one of the Dark Knight Trilogy, he made part one of his other trilogy, which was The Prestige. I will call this his Prestige Trilogy, because that was the movie in which he told us exactly what he was going to do to us. In The Prestige, Nolan told us all about The Pledge, Turn and Prestige. We saw journals within journals and stories within stories. In Inception, Nolan gave us The Turn: He took that ordinary idea of stories within stories, and he turned it on its head and made it something extraordinary. Whatever film Nolan makes after The Dark Knight Rises will be The Prestige of that trilogy. Inception was The Turn and The Prestige was The Pledge.So what does this have to do with Batman? Well, first, I just want to be clear about the kind of storyteller I think we're dealing with: the insane and awesome kind. But it also establishes a pattern. Christopher Nolan tells us what he's going to do to us years before he makes the movie that actually does it. And Nolan has already told us in his previous Batman movies what he's going to do to us with the third. We just need to connect the dots. With Batmath.
But mostly he's known for breaking the Batman's back. It's the
Don't be mad, Bane. You'll be cool in a decade or two.
"People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can't do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man I'm flesh and blood. I can be ignored. I can be destroyed. But as a symbol ... as a symbol I can be incorruptible. I can be everlasting." -- Bruce Wayne, duh.Batman can survive Nolan's version of Gotham City, because Batman has to survive Gotham City. But Bruce Wayne can't, doesn't and won't survive it. Bruce Wayne is just flesh and blood. He can and will be destroyed, because Nolan isn't telling a bunch of Batman and Bruce Wayne stories. Nolan is telling
Alfred (Michael Caine) often talks to "Master Wayne" about how "we fall... ... ourselves back up." Like, he says it a lot. And it rings even truer when Alfred is no longer talking to a man, but a symbol. Bruce Wayne sacrifices himself and The Dark Knight picks itself back up. But who will rise as the Dark Knight? Someone has to, because even though this Batman Universe is over, it can't just have Bruce die and then a title card that says "Then everyone was bummed forever. The end." Nolan has said that he will never include Robin in his Batman films. Robin, after all, isn't necessary for the Dark Knight Legend. But if there's no Robin, who will put on the cowl? He's brought us this far, there's got to be
Batman was awesome for your sins.
Cody Johnston is the columnist Gotham both deserves and needs right now. He frequents Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook because that's just how things are these days for people who work on the internet. He also has a Fake Twitter, Fake Tumblr, and Fake Facebook because that's just how things are for him.
For more from Cody, check out How to Make Jokeless Comedy: Studying the 'Epic Movie' Guys and Most Horrifying Writers Room Ever.