Why The Dark Knight Rises Delivers The Perfect Ending To Nolan's Batman Trilogy, According To Joseph Gordon-Levitt

John Blake The Dark Knight Rises

From the very beginning of The Dark Knight Rises' production, director Christopher Nolan made it very clear that he was constructing the movie as a finale. The filmmaker knew the story he wanted to tell across a trilogy, and that's exactly what he did. That being said, considering the third film ends with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's John Blake stepping into the Batcave presumably to assume the mantle of Batman, we've long wondered if the actor ever wished that a Dark Knight 4 had been made so that he could have his chance being the Caped Crusader. It turns out the answer to that question is no, as Gordon-Levitt thinks that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was truly the most fitting conclusion for Nolan's vision.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down one-on-one with Joseph Gordon-Levitt during the Los Angeles press day for the upcoming Snowden, and while the bulk of our conversation was about the new Oliver Stone film, I queried about the Batman movie that never was as my final question. Purely hypothetically, I asked him if playing John Blake as Batman in his own movie was something that he would have been interested in, and the actor explained why he feels it would have ultimately been completely unnecessary. Said Gordon-Levitt,

I know we're all used to the sort of Marvel movies, which are just kind of endless series. They don't really have a beginning, middle, and end. But I think Nolan very much thought of that movie as a conclusion, and there's a theme that runs through all three of those movies that begins in the first movie, runs through the second movie and it concludes in that moment where he says that Batman is more than a man, Batman is a symbol. And so to have another man other than Bruce Wayne kind of becoming Batman at the end of that trilogy, I think that's the perfect ending to that story.

It's pretty hard to argue with his logic here. At the very start of his mission as Batman in Batman Begins, Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne makes it very clear that his time as a superhero isn't actually meant to be a long-term plan. Instead, his ultimate goal is to become a symbol in Gotham City that criminals fear, allowing him to retire to a peaceful life. That's exactly what he's able to do at the very end of The Dark Knight Rises, leaving John Blake to carry on said symbol as he goes on to live in obscurity with Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle in Europe. As interesting as it could have been to see the first non-Bruce Wayne Batman on the big screen (especially with an actor as talented as Joseph Gordon-Levitt under the cape and cowl), that sense of conclusion would have been disrupted with the making of a fourth film.

Do you agree with Joseph Gordon-Levitt that a Dark Knight 4 would have been unnecessary, or is it a film that you wish actually got made? Hit the comments section below with your thoughts, and be sure to stay tuned for more from my interview about Snowden - which arrives in theaters September 16th!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.