Christian Bale Talks Superhero Naysayers, Admits People Laughed At Him When He First Told Them About Christopher Nolan Vision For Batman, Dark Knight Trilogy

Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Christian Bale will always be Batman for multiple generations (despite the who's better debate over him and Ben Affleck). His dark take on the DC superhero and his real identity Bruce Wayne helped to redefine the viewers’ perception after a lull in Batman films. Given the lack of Batman content, some people might’ve doubted his decision to take on the DC staple. Before the superhero franchise’s immense success, Bale admitted people laughed at him when he first told them about Christopher Nolan’s vision for Batman and the Dark Knight trilogy.

Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale had the deck stacked against them in making the DC superhero viable again. They wanted to take the Caped Crusader back to his mysterious and dark roots. Upon telling others about Nolan’s vision, Bale faced some pushback from superhero naysayers.

I would [tell people] we’re going to sort of do Batman, but take him seriously. I had tons of people laugh at me and just say, ‘Well, that’s just not going to work at all.’

At the time, viewers saw the Caped Crusader as a joke after the mixed reception of 1995’s Batman Forever and  1997’s Batman and Robin. They didn’t see him as the dark and complicated figure he was in Batman and Batman Returns. Painting the character as a serious one was a huge undertaking. But Bale seemed more than ready to prove naysayers wrong.

Of course, things worked out as the Nolan-Bale Batman trilogy returned the Dark Knight to his gritty and brooding portrayal comic fans had fallen in love with in the 1980s and 1990s. The franchise went on to gross over $2.4 billion worldwide and revived the flagging superhero genre. The Oscar winner enjoyed working with Nolan so much that he won’t don the cape and cowl again unless the Tenet director returned for more. That might never happen given the director only envisioned his story as a trilogy with a fourth film not being part of the plan.

Years after finishing the Dark Knight trilogy, his return to the superhero genre threw some moviegoers off, especially the switch from DC to Marvel. Bale saw Voldemort-like Gorr the God Butcher as an opportunity to work with Taika Waititi and play a villain this time around. But returning to the genre made him look back at the film trilogy’s success. The Dark Knight Rises actor opened up to The Washington Post about why the beloved film trilogy may have paved the way for MCU films, including Thor: Love and Thunder.

So, it’s wonderful to be a part of a trilogy that proved those people wrong. I’m not certain if it kick-started [the MCU] but it certainly helped along the way.

The film franchise’s critical and commercial success showed Hollywood these films could yield big returns if there was an overall vision. The MCU’s build-up from Phase One to Three seemingly mirrored Nolan’s connective story arc and character development in the DC films. So, despite being rivals, there appeared to be some influence between the two comics giants.

If you want to see Christian Bale as the menacing Gorr the God Butcher, Thor: Love and Thunder is currently in theaters. You can also get an HBO Max subscription to rewatch the Dark Knight trilogy and enjoy Bale’s gravelly take on the Bat.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).