There have been a ton of superhero films released since Christopher Nolan concluded his Dark Knight trilogy back in 2012, and yet, that still holds up as one of the best set of superhero movies of all time. With that said, the unique take on Batman's story left a lot of open questions when it concluded, and with Nolan vowing never to make another superhero film again, it's unlikely they'll have any resolution.
However, that doesn't mean we can't talk about the lingering questions this wonderful set of films left behind. Here are the things regarding the Dark Knight trilogy I'm still thinking about nearly a decade later, and hoping we get a chance for some resolution via a series, comic book or a change of heart from Christopher Nolan.
Did John Blake Become Robin?
The ending of The Dark Knight Rises is pretty clear: Bruce Wayne hand-selected John Blake to inherit his role of protecting Gotham City. He's given an inheritance from Bruce, as well as the coordinates to the Batcave. The icing on the cake is that we learn Blake's real name is Robin, so obviously he's destined to take up the mantle of Robin and be Gotham's next major protector, right?
It's certainly possible, though it's hard to imagine Bruce would leave it all to Blake given his lack of training. Bruce trained for most his adult life to become Batman, and while John Blake ticks the box of being an orphan, I can't imagine any scenario where he's nearly as combat-trained as Bruce. I don't believe Blake was ready to take on the immense responsibility that Bruce left him, nor do I think he'd be all that effective in the role. Not to be a downer, but I have always wondered what went through Blake's head in the weeks after all that was thrown on him.
Can Gotham Survive Without Batman?
Gotham City has been the cesspool of crime in the comic world for decades, and despite Batman's greatest efforts in that time, it continues to be. In Christopher Nolan's trilogy, which was intended to be as grounded in realism as possible, it was clear that Batman couldn't protect the city indefinitely. After saving Gotham from nuclear disaster, Bruce rode off into the sunset, but what became of the city? Was Gotham able to stay safe in the time after Batman's departure?
It's a question I can only speculate on, but it's hard to imagine the police force of Gotham could stand up to some of the insanity Gotham faced in the stretch Batman protected it. Of course, I'm assuming that other villains, like Riddler or Penguin, are still lurking in the Nolan-verse of Batman, but either one of them would be capable of a large-scale plan that could devastate the city for good. And with Gotham presumably free of Batman in that short interim, perhaps they could have taken the city at its most vulnerable before John Blake could even suit up. The city is resilient, but I always wonder if evil didn't ultimately win the day in that universe.
Could Bruce Wayne Stay Retired In Good Conscience?
The ending of The Dark Knight Rises shows Alfred spotting Bruce at a restaurant, alive and well. No, we aren't still having the debate that it's up for interpretation; he's alive. Bruce is out in the world living the life he always wanted, but could he actually retire in good conscience knowing there's a chance his city or any other one could be in danger? One of Batman's major flaws in traditional tellings is that it's never enough, and he must keep fighting that eternal fight against crime until he can't any longer.
I have to believe, as happy as Bruce Wayne would be in retirement, there would eventually come a time where he is compelled to go back out into the action; even if his body is broken and even if he knows the result will likely be the end of him. That's the core of what makes Batman super (that and the no-killing thing), so it never sat right with me that he just walked away from it all after faking his death. It was without a doubt the smart thing to do, but was it what Batman would do?
What Happened To The Joker?
It's no secret that the Dark Knight trilogy left The Joker's fate open after The Dark Knight, and most who have seen the films know exactly why. The death of actor Heath Ledger is a major legacy of this trilogy, and Christopher Nolan vowed not to recast or reference Joker in The Dark Knight Rises so that the character's role could stay with Ledger in death. I agree with the decision, but have always wondered what became of the villain after his capture in the second film.
The story gets even more complicated with the plot of The Dark Knight Rises, in which Bane frees the prisoners of Blackgate. There is some assertion by the novelization (via Slashfilm) that Joker wasn't housed there, but was instead the sole occupant of Arkham Asylum. That said, we know novelizations aren't always the gospel truth of movies, and even that note leaves the implication he could one day escape and wreak havoc on Gotham again. Joker's potential return would also be another reason Bruce wouldn't walk away from it all, so are we to assume the character's exit was more final?
How Much Money Did Alfred Get?
The ending of The Dark Knight Rises revealed Alfred received the rest of Bruce Wayne's fortune, though how much of it was left is up in the air. In fact, a key part of The Dark Knight Rises is that Bane drives Bruce into bankruptcy by having his shares sold in a bad deal. Wayne would owe a hefty amount of debt, so presumably, Alfred got whatever was left, part of which needed to go into a new home considering Wayne Manor was converted into an orphanage per Bruce's wishes.
It's not really important to know, I just wanted to know if Alfred had just enough money to live out the rest of his years comfortably, or if he could realistically ball the hell out on shopping sprees every week. There is reason to suspect (via Lawandthemultiverse.com) that the fraudulent sale of Bruce Wayne's stocks would've been discovered and reversed, leaving him not so broke anymore. I know Alfred could find happiness with or without the money, though I'd like to imagine a world where he was happy as well as able to have a Lamborghini as his daily driver.
These are just a few of the lingering questions we have regarding the Dark Knight trilogy, so feel free to share any and all you may have in the comments. Continue to read more on CinemaBlend about what's happening with the upcoming Batman movie The Batman, including why the filming process was grueling for Robert Pattinson.