Jonathan Nolan Had A Great Idea For A Dark Knight Trailer That Chris Refused To Use

Heath Ledger Joker The Dark Knight

Ten years have passed since Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight debuted in theaters, and many DC fans consider the full Dark Knight trilogy nearly perfect. Beginning with Batman Begins in 2005 and concluding with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, the series featured some incredible practical effects and insanely innovative marketing campaigns. The iconic music of Hans Zimmer largely defined these campaigns, but Jonathan Nolan recently opened up and admitted that he spent a decade trying to get his brother to include The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" in a Batman movie trailer. Nolan wrote:

I worked in the movies for years with my brother and he was never very keen on using popular music. Which I totally get. The music he was creating for the films with Hans was so beautiful and purpose built for each moment that it didn't need any help. But I would always have suggestions and thoughts for what music we could be using. I write listening to music (Lisa doesn't -- every writer is different) and I would have these extensive lists of things I thought would work. One example -- I tried for ten years to convince Chris to do a trailer for one of our Batman films using Paint it Black. It's an iconic song, and it's been used before, and I understood why he wasn't interested. But after ten years, I knew I wanted to use that song somewhere... So Ramin and I started talking about how we could use it in the pilot, but adapted for our nefarious purposes.

So it seems that Jonathan Nolan was far more intrigued by the possibility of blending pop culture into The Dark Knight trilogy's marketing campaign than his brother. Though the franchise mostly stuck to the music composed by Hans Zimmer throughout its trailers and previews, the younger Nolan brother consistently pitched the idea of using The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" in the previews for a Batman movie, which, in retrospect, definitely does seem like a fitting song for Batman's corner of the DC lore.

Of course, as Jonathan Nolan mentioned during that Reddit AMA session, he did eventually get to use "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones in his own project: Westworld. Check out the Westworld rendition of the song, below!

In the end, The Dark Knight trilogy has arguably become timeless because of how disconnected it feels from other forms of pop culture. If anything, the National Anthem used in the trailers for The Dark Knight Rises was the closest thing to pop music ever to make it into a Dark Knight trilogy trailer. With little to no mainstream music or references in the films, Christopher Nolan created movies that now seem to stand the test of time.

That said, the silver screen DC world hasn't come to an end yet. In fact, the DCEU will continue later this year with the premiere on James Wan's Aquaman on December 21!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.