Let me clarify first off- the date as I’m writing this is June 27, 2012 and I have NOT seen Christopher Nolan’s newest film The Dark Knight Rises. The following is merely speculation based on the marketing material (posters, trailers and news) and nothing based on fact or inside information that I have somehow came into possession of.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about what could possibly be going down in the trailers and what the outcome of the film will be, but given how great Nolan is as a director and the likelihood that anything significant is being revealed by these trailers is extremely low.
Should come as no surprise but if you’re keeping yourself in the dark with all of the trailers and TV spots then this post is not for you. I would say heavy spoilers follow, but to be honest, since I have no idea if anything I’m saying is true then there’s really no use for a spoiler warning. For the sake of covering all my bases though, please take everything with a grain of salt to spur deeper conversation about the film rather than attacking and also just assume possible spoilers if you haven’t seen any of the trailers or if anything I say should turn out to be true.
Last chance to turn away…
I’m going to do my best to work my way from beginning to end, but I’m predicting things are going to get jumbled real fast and if so I’m just going to bring stuff up as I think of it and things could get messy. In fact, scratch the first thing I said, I’m just going to swing wild as I remember the trailers and any other information absorbed from the marketing material. I’m going to start with the initial teaser trailer- the one that featured the voiceover of Liam Neeson in dialogue from BATMAN BEGINS about using fear to become more than a man but to become a legend so on so forth.
This followed a scene that showed Comissioner Gordon in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask on saying that Batman needed to come back and that an evil was rising. There was footage of a man climbing a rock wall, a close-up of Bane and it concluded with a wet Batman backing away from Bane. In the background of that scene you could see a man watching Batman and Bane tangle and also appeared to be holding a gun, but no real way of assuming who this man was or the circumstances at which all of this was happening. I had assumed that maybe this was the climactic battle between Batman and Bane, but given some of the newest trailers and my own logic towards Nolan’s movies I’m scratching that this is going to be the last battle between the two.
There have been a slew of trailers released since then that feature a lot of the footage we saw from the prologue sequence that was shown before IMAX screenings of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL, along with tons of new footage that also included Catwoman. From this footage we have seen a child drawing the Batman symbol in chalk on the concrete asking Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character if he thinks he’ll be coming back, a football stadium collapsing from a series of explosives set around the stadium, Bane doing a lot of walking and being menacing while throwing punches at Batman or catching Batman’s fists, Catwoman being snarky and stealing Bruce’s car, people going nuts, Bruce bloody and bruised appearing as though Bane is standing over him and shots of Alfred and Bruce looking dirty and scruffy.
What does it all mean though? Does Bane learn Batman’s identity in Dark Knight Rises? Are Alfred and Bruce in hiding somewhere? Does Levitt take over for Bruce after Bane possibly cripples him? Is Marion Cotillard (shown briefly in the trailers removing a mask and making out with Bruce in another trailer) actually Talia Al Ghul? Does Batman/Bruce Wayne die?
These are all questions that I have been wrestling with from the trailers and have been trying like hell to stay away from message boards and reading too deeply into any other rumors or news just in case someone happens to slip a deeper spoiler from something they read or saw. I’m not necessarily opposed to spoilers, but I am trying to do everything I can to know very little about why things happen the way they happen, when they happen and what the outcome of everything is for sure. I don’t have a problem doing what I’m doing which is speculating my own thoughts and should I happen to be right about something I’ll try to just take pride in it rather than be disappointed that the marketing didn’t hide it well enough. I have faith in Nolan and I don’t find that to be the case.
Seems that two of the biggest talking points or controversial topics are rather or not Robin was going to be in the film and that it would be portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The other was rather or not the League of Shadows was indeed going to have something to do with what is going on here and if Marion Cotillard was in fact Talia Al Ghul or someone else tied to Ra’s Al Ghul.
Robin / NightWing in Dark Knight Rises?
Starting with Levitt, I have to say that even casting him to begin with set off some bombs in my head because at this point it seems he’s a decent enough name that he wouldn’t just be shoved into the background or used a some sort of throwaway character, unless that too is just a ploy to throw us off the scent in case people were catching on to some sort of trick Nolan had up his sleeve.
You have likely seen a post recently speculating the idea that the logo the kid in the trailer draw might be some Nolanized version of the Robin logo or possibly even that Levitt was going to not be Batman but Nightwing.
I can confirm nor deny any of the allegations, suffice to say that given the shape Bruce is in at several points in the trailers (walking with a cane, appearing “possibly” paralyzed when he asks why he wasn’t just killed) I would, though hesitantly, put my money in the ring of Levitt possibly stepping into Bruce’s shoes as the caped crusader before the credits roll. The rumors were not helped by the appearance or perceived appearance of the Robin “R” on the fan’s sign at the football field in the first full length trailer for the Dark Knight Rises.
The League of Shadows
On to the subject of the League of Shadows and Marion Cotillard’s character possibly being Talia Al Ghul. Those of you familiar with BATMAN BEGINS probably remember that Liam Neeson played the villain Ra’s Al Ghul and his plot to make Gotham destroy itself with a chemical he had put into the city’s water supply that fed on fear. Batman thwarted his efforts and left him to die when the train ran off the tracks- or so we are led to believe.
I believe that it is more than just a possibility that we may see the return of Ra’s either in some impossible fashion that he somehow didn’t die or in a flashback maybe through the use of Talia Al Ghul, who is or is not played by Marion Cotillard. You will notice that she was in the first full length trailer in an extremely short shot of her taking a mask away from her face and then in another trailer with another even short shot of her and Bruce making out in a dark room.
This is what has led me to believe she could be Ra’s daughter Talia as the two did have romantic ties in the comics and that she is seeking to complete her father’s plan or seeking revenge on Bruce/Batman. You will also notice that aside from her appearance in those two trailers she has been suspiciously absent from subsequent trailers and TV spots- it could be that I’m looking too much into it or maybe revealing too much more of her arc will be too spoilery and thus exposing what I’ve said to be on or near the truth.
Catwoman, Hero, villain or both?
I remain a little hesitant about approaching what to think about Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. She looks as though she will offer some fun to the proceedings, but to what extent she will affect the plot or how present she will be throughout the film remains to be seen. I enjoy Hathaway as an actress, I just was never that keen on seeing Catwoman in Nolan’s Batman universe, though it does seem at least from what we’ve seen that she’s fitting in nicely and I’ve warmed up to her involvement.
Aside from that I’m not exactly sure what to deduct from her role in the trailers except that she seems to be concerned at some point that Batman may have been killed and could possibly have some deeper connection to Levitt’s character and if so Catwoman seems to be working on the side of Batman, but against Wayne so should Levitt take over for Batman maybe my suspicions aren’t just ramblings of a crazy person, but the inner workings of a genius- I’m not holding my breath on that though.
Throughout the course of the film it seems to be a distinct possibility that Batman is going to face some pretty insurmountable odds as it looks as though Bane is able to not only free the inmates of Arkham Asylum, but that he may turn a significant portion of Gotham’s population against Batman.
This could all have links to the whole League of Shadows plot to destroy Gotham and that Bane is the secret weapon to make it all happen and is set loose on Gotham via Ra’s or Talia- or maybe both (mind = blown).
Death of a hero or a friend?
One last really out there speculation about a big problem that Bruce will face in the film, is the possibility of Alfred being killed. I’m going out on a ledge here so I implore you to save me rather than push me over and express possible alternatives to my interpretation here. You see a scene where Bruce appears to be screaming “NO!” and also featured in a TV spot, so this is where my interpretation comes in.
As Bruce Wayne, the closest still living people to him are Gordon and Alfred- now obviously Gordon gets hurt, as we see from the first trailer, but isn’t it somewhat of an easy thing to assume that maybe just maybe something terrible happens to Alfred- especially if Bane knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, which is a safe assumption IF Bane has connections to the League of Shadows. Given that this is all true, Bane is hell bent on destroying Gotham and only Batman stands in his way- it would be in his best interest to destroy everything Bruce loves in order to remove him from the picture- at least that’s how I see it.
I could probably keep going, but the trailers really spell out everything there is to really contemplate about the film. Now that you have my interpretations on the materials you can view them below and see if you think my assumptions make sense or if I should be fitted for a straight jacket.
Either way, I would really love to hear what you guys think about my assertions and feel free to provide some of your own. We are less than a month away from release so the day is closing in that we can stop speculation and start assessing the series as a whole and argue amongst ourselves if THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a superior or inferior film to THE DARK KNIGHT- a film I hold very near and dear to my heart.
I love Christopher Nolan as a director and I have no doubt that we are in for something very special on July 20th– so while I have my assumptions from what we’ve seen so far, come opening weekend I will be setting them all aside and just let the film speak for itself.
What are your thoughts and speculations about what we should expect from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES?
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)
First Full Trailer
Second Full Trailer
Third Full Trailer (My Favorite)