The Dark Knight Rises Could've Had a Different Villain, Here's Why It Never Happened

The Dark Knight Rises Could've Had a Different Villain, Here's Why It Never Happened
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Jonathan Nolan has opened up about the creative process behind the final installment of the Batman trilogy.


  • Other iconic villain was considered to be the big bad of The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Jonathan Nolan did not push for them to be the antagonist of the third film for a number of reasons.
  • The Dark Knight Rises allowed the filmmakers to tell a darker story.

After the enormous financial and critical success of Oppenheimer, the biopic seems to be the only film Christopher Nolan is associated with. However, the Oscar-winning director has made many remarkable movies in his long career. The Batman trilogy is probably his second most famous creation.

Starring Christian Bale, the film series was a financial and critical success and is widely considered to be the best adaptation of the Batman comic books. Over the course of its three installments, Nolan's Batman faced off against several powerful villains, including Ra's al Ghul, the Joker and Bane. But apparently the Riddler could have been the antagonist of The Dark Knight Rises, but for some reason Bane was chosen instead.

Why Bane, not The Riddler?

'I sort of started to play with the idea of the Riddler and what could be done with that character. But it did feel like it was close enough to the space of what we had done with Heath, and you really needed to sort of [change direction],' Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, said in a recent interview.

According to the filmmaker, he didn't want to be 'backseat driving,' but more importantly, both he and Christopher understood that they didn't want to repeat the arcs they had done with Heath Ledger's Joker. In the end, the Nolan brothers and David Goyer opted for Bane as the villain for The Dark Knight Rises. And given the success of the movie, it was a pretty wise decision.

The Boldness of The Dark Knight Rises

Although Christopher Nolan's Batman film series is a continuous trilogy, it consists of three very different films. Batman Begins is an origin story. The Dark Knight is an urban crime movie. And The Dark Knight Rises is a post-apocalyptic film. And the genre of the latter gave the filmmakers a lot of creative freedom and allowed them to explore a darker story.

'Batman always saves the day and the city always survives. And there have been some examples in the comic books where they're just kind of gone for a little bit. And I thought, "Why can't we do that with the movie? Why can't we destroy Gotham and see what happens afterwards?"' Jonathan Nolan revealed.

What's even more interesting is that, according to the filmmaker, Christopher Nolan was reluctant to continue with Batman after the first film. And it took some persuasion on Jonathan's part to convince his brother to 'take the sports car they'd built for a drive.' And in hindsight, knowing that the second and third installments of Nolan's Batman trilogy grossed over $2 billion combined, it's hard to argue that extending the series was a bad decision.

Source: YouTube.