GEEK SQUAD: Beyond The Dark Knight


BY RICHARD SUPLEE GEEK SPACE CORRESPONDENT Every Batman fan is wondering what comes after The Dark Knight Rises. Will Warner Brothers continue the series without Christopher Nolan (who repeatedly stated he was only making a trilogy)? Nolan did leave room for the possibility of a fourth movie. The current Batman trilogy is the complete story of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and fittingly ends with his retirement away from Gotham. Of course, Bruce did not leave Gotham unprotected but in the hands of former Police Officer Robin John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Leavitt).

If there is a sequel to Nolan’s trilogy, it would focus on Blake who at the end Rises is seen entering the Batcave and presumably taking over as Batman. It is possible that Blake would pick a different identity such as Nightwing (the name the Robin took on in the comic book series of the same name). Regardless of what name Blake goes by, it is clear that Bruce Wayne has passed on the duty of protecting Gotham to the young officer.

Nolan decided to create a new character to be Batman’s heir instead of an official tights wearing, sidekick Robin because he felt the character of Robin doesn’t fit in the more realistic and gritty Batman world he was creating. In fact, Robin was actually created to add some light hearted fun to the darkness of the early Batman comics. Yet, as you can guess from his name, Robin Blake does share similarities with the comic book Robins. Firstly is that like former circus performer Dick Grayson (Robin I) and homeless Jason Todd (Robin II), Blake is an orphan. However, the Robin that Blake most reminds comic fans of is Tim Drake (Robin III). Both characters are fans of Batman and figures out his identity as Bruce Wayne through detective work. Drake proved to Bruce Wayne that he was ready to be Robin and earned the title after the death of Jason Todd. Drake also often worked independently of Bruce Wayne and was the first Robin to be given an ongoing solo comic.

The only possible clue that Nolan has left in The Dark Knight Rises to future Batman movies is the scene where Bruce Wayne and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard ) have sex. While this is not a first for a Batman movie, Miranda Tate is later revealed to be Talia al Ghul. In the comics, Talia al Ghul and Batman do have a brief relationship from which Bruce is introduced later to their son, Damian Wayne. The interesting thing is that Damian becomes Robin after the apparent death of Bruce Wayne. Just to add to the clusterfuck of identity and destiny, the Batman that trains Damian is Dick Grayson, who took on his deceased mentor’s mantle after realizing that Gotham will always need a Batman. The similarities of Bruce Wayne being thought dead and “Robin” taking his place in both The Dark Knight Rises and Grant Morrison’s Batman: Reborn. An adaption of this storyline could make for an interesting movie that explores Blake’s role as Batman.

Without a doubt, there is going to be a new Batman movie eventually. Warner Brothers makes way too much money off of these films to stop making them. It will either be a sequel starring Joseph Gordon-Leavitt or a reboot of the franchise with a new actor playing Bruce Wayne or some combination of the two. There is always the possibility that Warner Brothers will read the market testing tea leaves and decided that audiences will simply not accept someone not named Bruce Wayne starring in a Batman film. Still, the Nolan trilogy has made a ridiculous amount of money and a connection to those films will certainly boost future box office sales. Gordon-Leavitt’s Robin Blake could even be the Batman featured in the upcoming Justice League movie. Only time will tell, but this much is true: Batman as we’ve come to know him is dead, long live the Batman.