The comic-book superhero genre is brimming with familiarity. Actors who played iconic characters back in the day are finding reasons to return to those roles, whether it be Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield slipping back into their Spider-Man suits for a number of jaw-dropping scenes in Spider-Man: No Way Home, or the return of Michael Keaton’s Batman in The Flash, a movie we likely won’t see until 2023. Next month, Christian Bale makes his Marvel debut to play the villainous Gorr the God Butcher in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, but we all know that Bale played Batman for three classic Chris Nolan films. And the actor recently explained what it would take to get him to return.
Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne and his costumed counterpart The Batman in three films for Warner Bros.: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Given the fact that DC is about to tear open the Multiverse, and The Flash will reportedly feature Ben Affleck’s Batman in addition to Keaton’s Caped Crusader, ComicBook asked Bale if anyone has asked him to reprise his famous role. And he replied:
And that makes all of the sense in the world. Quite often, with these comic-book movies, actors come to trust their directors as they collaborate, whether is be Tom Holland and his Spider-Man director Jon Watts, or the current bond of trust that Chris Hemsworth currently has with Taika Waititi (after being burned by a director shift on Thor: The Dark World). Christian Bale would jeopardize ruining everything that he and Christopher Nolan completed on their Dark Knight trilogy if he were to return to the part with another director in the chair, so that answer makes sense.
At the same time, I don’t see Chris Nolan returning to a superhero franchise in the near (or distant) future. It’s kind of surprising to me that Noland did three Batman films, and it showed that his heart wasn’t exactly in The Dark Knight Rises, which received mediocre reviews, even if one member of the CinemaBlend staff feels that it delivered the perfect ending to Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Nolan, instead, is focused on working on wholly original concepts that test the boundaries of filmmaking, whether it be the time-bending action of Tenet or his in-progress biopic for Oppenheimer. He should stay in those lanes.
We can see Christian Bale back in the superhero genre when Thor: Love and Thunder opens on July 8. Then, brace yourself for all of the upcoming Marvel movies still in the pipeline through 2022 and beyond.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.