It was a tidbit of information that Christopher Nolan oh-so-casually dropped to Empire Magazine, but one that was immediately heard 'round the world: "Our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight." Wait, what? Suddenly our expectations of The Dark Knight Rises were turned out their ear-- no Batman in exile, no Gotham recovering from the death of Harvey Dent. We were moving on past all of that, into a future that suddenly seemed full of limitless possibilities.

Presumably that's exactly what Nolan was going for with the time jump, and talking to Hero Complex he explained a little more about what he hopes to accomplish with the big shift. He's not revealing any plot details, of course, but in his own roundabout way he dropped a number of hints:
“It will make a lot more sense to people when they see the film. But it’s not a great mystery — it’s the jumping-off point for the film — but it’s hard for me to articulate it. I think the mood at the beginning of the film will make a lot of sense. If I had to express it thematically, I think what we’re saying is that for Batman and Commissioner Gordon, there’s a big sacrifice, a big compromise, at the end of the ‘The Dark Knight’ and for that to mean something, that sacrifice has to work and Gotham has to get better in a sense. They have to achieve something for the ending of that film — and the feeling at the end of that film — to have validity. Their sacrifice has to have meaning and it takes time to establish that and to show that, and that’s the primary reason we did that.

It’s a time period that is not so far ahead that we would have to do crazy makeup or anything — which I think would be distracting — but it gave them something to get their teeth into, particularly Christian in terms of [portraying] this guy who has been frozen in this moment in time with nowhere to go. He really has done an incredible job figuring out how to characterize that and express that.”

That quote is just one part of a much larger piece about The Dark Knight Rises, in which Nolan explains how they shot the aerial sequence featured in the prologue running on IMAX screens this weekend (you can read more about that here) and describes Bane as "a classic movie monster" in a way. As usual, Nolan isn't revealing details about the film, but the thoughtful way he discusses things as small as the response of fans to the movies indicates how careful the man behind the Bat is about every decision.

The Dark Knight Rises is coming to theaters on July 20 next year, and despite some problems in the prologue running this weekend, anticipation for the movie should only be getting even higher. Honestly, I don't think I want to know exactly why they've jumped the story forward 8 years, or any more details about the plot. It's more fun to walk into the movie and put yourself entirely in Nolan's hands-- in the Batman movies at least, he hasn't led us astray yet.

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