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Moments before Batman Begins saw the demise of Liam Neeson’s Ra's al Ghul, the film’s villain closes his eyes and meditates right before the train carrying him derails. Naturally, fans of the Batman mythos know of al Ghul’s seemingly immortal nature, thanks to his usage of the Lazarus Pit in the DC Comics universe. So for years, fans have theorized that maybe, Neeson's Ra's was preparing himself in those final moments for an eventual revival. Well, at least they were, until Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer personally debunked this theory himself, thanks to the following statement:
I think you’re reading far too into it. Certainly, there was never any discussion that Chris or I had about that.
During the ComicCon @ Home panel “The Art of Adapting Comics to the Screen,” Goyer had a lengthy conversation with Backstory Magazine’s Jeff Goldsmith that touched upon his extensive career bringing the heroes of films like Blade, Man of Steel and Batman Begins to the movies. And of course, why wouldn’t you ask the man who helped director Christopher Nolan revive the Caped Crusader’s cinematic franchise for some clarification on some of the biggest moments in modern fandom?
Normally, the character of Ra’s al Ghul would be able to use the mythical Lazarus Pit to revive himself, or anyone else who happened to have met a fatal end, so that they could live another day. But describing what the exact benefits of the Lazarus Pit are is perhaps the greatest proof for why that device couldn’t be used in Batman Begins, or any of its sequels for that matter. So when David S. Goyer took the opportunity to debunk that Batman Begins theory in a sound, foolproof manner, he also explained just why the Lazarus Pit was never going to be a thing:
But if you think about it, it was a fairly realistic approach. And I think if you introduce something like the Lazarus Pit into that, and I’m not saying you couldn’t tell a cool story with the Lazarus Pit; I think you could, I just don’t think that the Lazarus Pit would’ve gelled with that approach.
Ra’s al Ghul, for all intents and purposes, died in Batman Begins; full stop. The closest Christopher Nolan came to “resurrecting” him is when in The Dark Knight Rises, Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne is recovering from his backbreaking confrontation with central baddie Bane (Tom Hardy). This healing period leads Bruce to see Ra’s al Ghul once again, though that recurrence of the character is ultimately a hallucination that Mr. Wayne has in “The Pit.” So if you really wanted to take that moment as Ra’s resurrecting himself in Bruce’s memory, then you have your Lazarus Pit scene right there.
David S. Goyer has had his share of controversial moments to defend in his comic canon, but when it comes to Batman Begins, the non-usage of the Lazarus Pit fits within the world that the film was trying to craft. So while there’s tons of quibbling over other aspects of The Dark Knight trilogy, this is one of those matters that’s pretty open and shut. Please present the next Batman fan theory for debunking in an orderly fashion, and watch out for the debris from the previous one as you enter the arena.