In the wake of the expectation exceeding success of this past summer’s The Dark Knight, it is understandable that Warner Brothers would want a follow-up film as soon as possible. The question is would director Christopher Nolan want to return to the franchise or has he sad all he wants to say on the subject of superheroes with The Dark Knight and its predecessor, Batman Begins?
That has been the question being bandied about Hollywood and fan circles alike for the past several months. Now, in the first of a three part interview with the LA Times, Nolan has given an indication as to his state of mind concerning a third trip to Gotham City.
There are two things to be said. One is the emphasis on story. What’s the story? Is there a story that’s going to keep me emotionally invested for the couple of years that it will take to make another one? That’s the overriding question. On a more superficial level, I have to ask the question: How many good third movies in a franchise can people name? [Laughs.] At the same time, in taking on the second one, we had the challenge of trying to make a great second movie, and there haven’t been too many of those either. It’s all about the story really. If the story is there, everything is possible. I hope that was a suitably slippery answer.
Well, in regards to Nolan’s second question, there are not a lot of good third franchise installments out there. X-Men had a chance at having a third film that rivaled the quality of the first two, but director Bryan Singer left the project after the studio pressured him to meet a release date he thought was unrealistic, leaving the film in the ham-fisted hands of Brett Ratner. The less said about Spider-Man 3 the better. There are only one films that served as third franchise installments that stand out as a quality film and that is 1964’s Goldfinger, a film many consider a high point of the Connery James Bond films.
But could a third Nolan-helmed Batman film be as successful as The Dark Knight? That’s hard to say. The entire production is an incredible example of catching lightening in a bottle- from Nolan’s development of the script through casting Heath Ledger as the Joker all the way down to the technical side of things like production design and visual effects. With Nolan in charge, I can readily see a third film that is aesthetically as good as the first two. How it will fare at the box office in relation to The Dark Knight is something I’d rather not hazard a guess about at this point.
As to his first question, I think that there are a multitude of stories to be told in Gotham City. Do all of them plumb the psychological depths of Batman the way that Nolan’s two films have? No, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth telling. However, does Nolan think that they would be interesting to tell? It appears that this is a question the director is mulling over for himself right now.