With Christopher Nolan having just confirmed that The Dark Knight Rises would be his last Batman film—calling it "the last chapter of our Batman saga"—and with Christian Bale recently saying that it would also be his last outing as the caped hero, we're left to wonder: Could it truly be the end of the big-screen Batman franchise?
In an interview with EW, Nolan all but confirmed that the intrepid duo's collaboration on one of the most successful comic-book franchises of all time will end with the third Batman film. However, in the wake of the success of Inception, the director is still very much happy to be working on his last Batman outing:
"I feel very glad that I'm doing another Batman film. I think it would have been daunting to sit down and write an original script after Inception. I love working within the realm and rules of our Batman world. It's kind of nice to have someplace to go that I'm super-excited about.
"I must say that I'm glad—I'm very, very glad—to be embarking on the last chapter of our Batman saga without any sense of obligation or duty to the studio. They did very well with Inception. So I'm able to go into finishing our story in a very enthusiastic way."
With a worldwide box office of almost $372 million for Batman Begins and over $1 billion for The Dark Knight, surely Warner Brothers won't want to let the franchise end with The Dark Knight Rises, so we've got to assume they'll likely go the reboot or sequel road with an all-new cast and crew.
But with Nolan and Bale out of the equation, the studio will have hard shoes to fill. Unless, of course, they make both men offers they can't possibly refuse for them to return for a fourth film.
Do you think Nolan and Bale will change their minds? And if not, who should take over the franchise (which seems inevitable) next?