Director Christopher Nolan managed something almost impossible in the modern Internet era: He kept the ending of The Dark Knight Rises a secret until the movie came out. How did he do it?
Before we go any further, here's a friendly warning that the rest of this piece contains spoilers for the finale of The Dark Knight Rises ... in case you have not gotten around to seeing it yet.
According to a video segment included with the recently released Dark Knight Trilogy boxed set, Nolan -- already super-secretive about his work -- knew that bloggers, reporters and fans would be looking to grab any bit of information they could about the eagerly awaited movie's storyline and surprises.
He was especially wary of letting anything slip out about the ending, in which Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) is presumed dead and his closest associates -- Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Robin "John" Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) -- hold a funeral for him on the grounds of Wayne Manor.
To make sure that no one got wind of the Dark Knight's seeming fate, Nolan had the tombstone made up to read "Miranda Tate" (the false identity of Talia al Ghul, played by Marion Cotillard) instead of "Bruce Wayne," with the name changed digitally later on. He also put Christian Bale's name on the day's call sheet and had the actor show up in costume and participate in a few shots, just to make it look like he was in the scene and to keep any lurking photographers off balance.
The result? It worked. The finale of The Dark Knight Rises remained a secret until the day the movie opened. Whether you like that ending or not, Nolan's efforts at keeping a lid on the film's surprises paid off.
Was it all worth it, or did Nolan's obsession with secrecy go too far? Watch the video below and debate it amongst yourselves.