Ryan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Predictions

It goes without saying that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is far-and-away the most eagerly anticipated movie of the year. With that comes the endless speculation as to what will happen in the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. I’ve been making bets as to how the third film will play out since the credits first rolled on ‘The Dark Knight’ four years ago. So here they are: my predictions for ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ None of these are necessarily unique thoughts, but they’re the ones I’ve been defending for some time now, and truly hope play out in the film.

1. No ‘Man of Steel’ reference or crossover. With the success of ‘The Avengers,’ there’s no doubt Warner Brothers wants to do a Justice League movie. When ‘Green Lantern’ turned out to be completely awful, I thought there’d be no Justice League movie any time soon. But then the entire Dark Knight production team signed on for the Superman reboot, and Justice League movie rumors started swirling again. I can’t see any way that Nolan would let the Superman universe cross into his Batman one. I’m not saying there won’t eventually be a Justice League movie, or that "’Man of Steel’ won’t reference Batman in general, but this Nolan Batman universe will remain independent of any future DC movie universes.

2. Cillian Murphy as Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow will return, albeit incredibly briefly. One of my favorite scenes from TDK was the quick appearance of Scarecrow toward the beginning of the film. While this trilogy has taken a grounded-in-reality approach to Batman, Nolan still knows this is a comic book universe where every character is always up to something somewhere and can show up at any time. A Scarecrow cameo in TDKR would help glue together each installment of the trilogy, and give the films a sense of long-running interconnectedness that comic books rely on.

3. Absolutely no Joker. There’s plenty of people out there still hoping for even a small Joker cameo, whether through CGI, recasting, or unused footage from TDK. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here, but the Joker will not be appearing in TDKR. Christopher Nolan knows better.

4. Marion Cotillard/Miranda Tate is actually Talia al Ghul. This one has been a popular theory for a while, and based on some spoiler-filled reviews, seems increasingly likely. We already know that Ra’s al Ghul appears in flashbacks, so the League of Shadows must play a role in TDKR’s plot. What a better way for the League to get back at Bruce than to secretly install Ra’s’s (how on earth do you show possession with a name like Ra’s?) daughter on the Board of Directors at Wayne Enterprises?

5. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman will be super hot. Like crazy super hot. Even hotter than the previews show.

6. Bane hurts Batman, but not nearly as bad as in the comics. As we all know, Bane is the one who broke Bruce Wayne’s back, leaving him paralyzed and unable to continue as Batman. There’s been plenty of stills and video from TDKR showing Bruce with a cane, which suggests he does get injured, but not necessarily completely incapacitated. My guess is that Bane hurts Batman just enough to force him to seek help. Which brings me to prediction number seven…

7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt/John Blake will be Batman’s temporary sidekick and eventual successor. But not as Robin. Chris Nolan and Christian Bale have both said Robin will not appear in any of these Batman films—and I believe them. Even the most serious comic book take on Robin is too far-fetched to have a place in the Nolan universe. But a younger partner/replacement for Bruce Wayne could fit, especially if he gets the crap beat out of him like we’re all expecting. Best option for John Blake: Nightwing, particularly the New 52’s more technological take on the character. I fully expect Warner Brothers to leave the option open for a spin-off series, and with as big a star as Gordon-Levitt is, this seems to be a great opportunity to introduce a new hero while still maintaining Nolan’s tone.

8. Alfred dies. As much as I’d hate to see him go, I think Alfred’s death will be the emotional moment that both the audience and Bruce Wayne need. As his voice-of-reason, Alfred’s death would be a major turning point for Bruce, either by forcing Bruce to become more responsible and focused, or by making Bruce go nuts and completely reckless. I’d be fine with either.

9. Batman dies! But Bruce will live, after faking his death. I’m expecting the ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ ending here, without Superman, of course. Not sure of the events that will occur, but Bruce will be outed as the man behind the mask, and sacrifice himself for the sake of Gotham. After everyone in town, as well as the audience, truly believes Bruce is dead, he’ll show up underground to serve as secret mentor to John Blake or whoever gets their own spin-off series.

So there we go. We’ll know late Thursday night how close my predictions were.


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