Why Batman Bruce Wayne will NOT die in The Dark Knight Rises

First off, I would just like to say I have no insider knowledge. What I am about to say is all speculation and in 2 months fans can come laugh and throw things at me if I am wrong. This article contains only minor spoilers as shown in the trailers.

For months now I have watched fans and internet movie sites spew their theories on why Batman is going to die in the upcoming summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. There has been some far fetched ideas, and some well thought out diatribes. I simply do not believe any of them for several reasons.

More after the Break

One popular idea floating around is that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s caracter John Blake will take over for Batman’s Bruce Wayne played by Christian Bale leading to a reboot of the series. This is the same Joseph Gordon-Levitt that was rumored to play Nightwing and/or Robin in the Nolan series which was just plain fanboy wish mongering. While not impossible, I do not see Warner Brothers rebooting the whole character of Batman. It just does not make sense for the company. If they were to replace Batman they would have introduced Dick Grayson earlier in the series so that he could assume the role as he did recently in the comics. I do not see Nolan creating a character out of scratch and rebooting the series with that character. Corporate suits at DC would not allow such a thing. This is a company that would not let the caracter of Bruce Wayne appear on the TV series Smallville because they thought it would confuse the movie going audiences. What would be the confusion be like for them to take a character we have known for 30 minutes of screen time (if that) and go ahead with their flagship character, their money maker, the only superhero franchise they have had success with recently, and make someone thing completely different. This is Hollywood, safe and more of the same is the rule.

Any comic book geek knows that Bane breaks the Bat. Trailers and posters show a broken bat cowl and Bane dropping it to the ground. Internet spouts this and proof that Bane kills Batman. Going back to the comics we know that Bane does not kill Bruce Wayne. He breaks Bruce’s back. The movie does not need to follow the comics, but this is not proof of Bane killing Batman. However I have seen evidence in the trailers and TV ads that indicate to me that breaking of the back is the more likely scenario.

The latest TV spot shows Bruce Wayne played by Christian Bale asking Lucius Fox played by Morgan Freeman to “get him back in the game.” Not back from the grave. Back in the game. This indicates to me that Bruce Wayne is severely injured and cannot be Batman, but RISES if you will to the occasion by the end of the movie. This is backed up further by the very first Trailer showing Commissioner Gordon played by Gary Oldman saying “we were in this together, and then you were gone” Is Gordon talking to Bruce Wayne’s ghost? I don’t think so.

I see it plain as day that Bruce Wayne is injured, cannot be Batman, finds a way to indure and “The Dark Knight Rises.” This makes the most sense to me as a logical person who knows a little about storytelling. Yet, everywhere I look I see people convinced that Bruce Wayne dies. Is it because this is the last Nolan movies and people want absolute closure? Is it because they hated Val Kilmer and George Clooney? Is it because they hear rumblings of a rumor made up in a distant corner of the internet and then see what they want to see after that? Maybe a little of all these things. Well except nobody could hate George Clooney.

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7 Responses to Why Batman Bruce Wayne will NOT die in The Dark Knight Rises

  1. Jordan says:

    My only counter-point to this is that Nolan has been quoted as saying that this film brings the story of Bruce Wayne to an end. He is staying on the series as an executive producer once it does move forward, but he was very clear that this would be the end of Bruce Wayne’s journey. WB can let Wayne die, as he isn’t the name that gets the butts in the seats — Batman is the name that sells tickets.

    Audience members won’t care if Batman spends some time on screen as Bruce Wayne, John Blake, or Dick Clark’s Ghost. They just want to see Batman fight evil, and the character can live on even if the original face behind the mask does not. In fact, having Bruce Wayne die in this film would make the next wave of films all that easier to conceive and market.

    With Bruce Wayne dead and a younger face behind the mask, they can play around a bit and Nolan won’t be able to nay-say as much as when it comes to what villains can be used. Nolan’s function will simply be to help keep the franchise on the same successful track as his directorial efforts have been, and I tend to doubt he would have agreed to stay on in such a position if WB was simply going to reboot Bruce Wayne’s story all over again. What would be the point for Nolan to do so? He’s already spent the last decade in the company of Bruce Wayne, and even producing/consulting such similar ground seems much too boring and unsatisfactory for Nolan — especially considering that, with this trilogy, he has basically earned carte blanche to be involved in whatever projects he could desire.

    It would make sense for Nolan to stay around the “reboot” (probably simply sequels) if they involved another character — and one whom Nolan has created on his own. Hence John Blake, who will have the benefit of having this film act as his “first act”. This tactic would allow the inevitable first film in the new franchise to just start right up without being bothered by an origin story.

  2. Comics and movies don’t always go hand in hand, in fact I think that Dick Grayson was Batman when The Dark Knight came out, but for the most parts the corporate suits like synergy between the various media.

    When Lois and Clark were to be married on TV they married them in the comics. They have added elements of Smallville into Superman and Green Arrow. Batman Beyond has it’s own comic now.

    John Blake doesn’t exist in the comics. I just don’t see DC allowing it in their franchise. They can always add him later, but it would be too forced.

  3. Johnny C says:

    very solid point, I agree that if they are sticking close to Knightfall, that JGL’s character is a stand on for Jean Paul Valley and would don the Batsuit(or a variation of one) to be Batman. The recent leak of the pic of Batman action figures shows a knighted armored Batman. Perhaps this is JGL?

  4. Gopal says:

    With Chritopher Nolan, you can expect almost anything but having said that i am not sure that they would kill off the lead character as it would be an anti-climax which not many peopel would be able to digest and could adversely impact the Box office collections of the movie.Warner bros would not definitely agree with Nolan if he wanted to kill off the character.

    If you look at the latest trailer, we see batman saying “Not everything, not yet” when told by catwoman that he has done everything for people of Gotham. Is he implying that the only thing remaining is his life.A logical comclusion would be Bruce wayne dying along with Bane at the end of the movie and joseph gordon hewitt taking over the mantle of Batman. A person can be killed or persecuted but an idea or Symbol is invincible.

  5. Crash Rendar says:

    Not a bad article, but it could be the best way to get fans excited about the movie: the possibility of bruce/batman dying.
    if we look back on the past films, in batman begins he says “its not WHO i am underneath, but what I DO that defines me,” then in the dark knight harvey’s comment of “you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” both bits of foreshadowing that could defend the notions of 1, batman dying, and 2 of someone taking up the mantle.
    now my theory is that it’s not necessarily the batman mantle, but that catwoman will rise as gotham’s protector after batman gives his life to save the city.

  6. Jeff M says:

    Doesn’t anyone remember Frank Miller’s “The Dark Night Returns?” Book Four is “The Dark Knight Falls”–but I think Nolan is playing with that title with “Rises.” I think TDKR will end up with Bruce Wayne faking his death, but that Batman “The Dark Knight” will survive somehow, maybe as a symbol, rising to inspire Gotham City.

  7. Terri says:

    I hope you are right, I love the character of Bruce Wayne, he can’t die and has to be Batman for me.

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