For some folks, the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was self-explanatory. For others, it left more questions about Bruce Wayne and Batman's future. Luckily, director Christopher Nolan did an interview in which he discussed the message behind the film's uncertain finale.
Batman is a huge property for Warner Bros. Due to its source material, the franchise has the potential to go on forever. Perhaps that's why the final moments of TDKR seemed more like a passing of the torch than a farewell. But while speaking to Film Comment, Nolan revealed that those scenes were more about bringing his Batman full circle than setting up a successor.
"For me, The Dark Knight Rises is specifically and definitely the end of the Batman story as I wanted to tell it, and the open-ended nature of the film is simply a very important thematic idea that we wanted to get into the movie, which is that Batman is a symbol. He can be anybody, and that was very important to us," Nolan said.
He also admits that it might not be the ending everyone hoped for.
"Not every Batman fan will necessarily agree with that interpretation of the philosophy of the character, but for me it all comes back to the scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred in the private jet in Batman Begins, where the only way that I could find to make a credible characterization of a guy transforming himself into Batman is if it was as a necessary symbol, and he saw himself as a catalyst for change and therefore it was a temporary process, maybe a five-year plan that would be enforced for symbolically encouraging the good of Gotham to take back their city."
It all goes back to that idea that Batman can be anyone. Nolan really wanted to drive that point home.
"To me, for that mission to succeed, it has to end," he said. "So this is the ending for me, and as I say, the open-ended elements are all to do with the thematic idea that Batman was not important as a man, he's more than that. He's a symbol, and the symbol lives on."
In Nolan's eyes, he wasn't necessarily leaving the door open for Justice League or even Man of Steel. He was just trying to wrap up his run the best way he knew how.
(via Film Comment)