Christopher Nolan Talks Superman and Batman Films

Superan and BatmanThe Los Angeles Times has a very interesting sit down interview with Christopher Nolan posted on their entertainment blog. They talked a bit about the third and final Batman film in his trilogy, and about his new role in developing the next Superman picture. It's a long(ish) and interesting piece, but here are some of the tidbits:

On Batman:

“I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters,” Nolan said.“My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these thing don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling. And it hearkens back to that priority of trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories. That’s what we do.”

On Superman:

“A lot of people have approached Superman in a lot of different ways. I only know the way that has worked for us that’s what I know how to do,” Nolan said, emphasizing the idea that Batman exists in a world where he is the only superhero and a similar approach to the Man of Steel would assure the integrity needed for the film. “Each serves to the internal logic of the story. They have nothing to do with each other.”

(For more, check out the whole interview. It's interesting.)

One thing is for sure, the "David Goyer is writing the Superman movie" rumor that was first leaked all over the internet and then denied by the studio has now been cleared up by this interview. Nolan says that David Goyer is writing the script (while Jonathan Nolan writes the third Batman script, and might possibly direct Superman).

What's really interesting is that Warner Bros. formed DC Entertainment, seemingly, in order to better exploit their stable of charactes on film the way that Marvel Films has been able to do. One of the things that has been talked about a lot is the idea of the shared universe in the film world. Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America — they all exist together in this world that Marvel Films has created. Fans — non comic book readers included — were very excited about this shared world and DC Entertainment seemed to be wanting to head in the same direction.

One problem. Christopher Nolan is now in charge.

Nolan has said many times that in the world he created in his Batman films, super heroes (or villains for that matter) with super powers could not and do not exist. Superman could not exist in that world. This interview confirms that giving over both Batman and Superman completely to Nolan means giving up the idea of a shared DC film world. At least while Chritopher Nolan has any say in the matter. And right now, after The Dark Knight grossed over a billion dollars, Nolan is The Man at Warner Bros.


  1. It’s not that big of a deal that Sups and Batman can’t be in a shared universe. I mean it makes sense when you think about it. I think you would lose the idea of importance if you think that there’s more then one superhero in a universe.

    Like if there was a shared universe, why on earth would Batman be relevent? Superman can hear everything and he’s quick enough to go anywhere at anytime. Although Metropolis is his ‘home’, reading his books we know that he isn’t confinde to that city. Same goes for Batman in a way, but most of his stories stay in that city. Where with Superman you can go anywhere with him.

  2. I read an article the other day arguing how the Avengers movie may actually be holding back the Marvel movies.  Although I disagree, it was interesting.  I’m to the point where I don’t care as much if DC has a huge connected network of movies as long as they’re trying to reach the same level they did with The Dark Knight.

    Although seeing the same people in a JLA movie is still a dream I have. 

  3. I don’t mind the fact that there are no cross-overs. It will give the writers the chance to explore more of Superman instead of having to divvy up the story between Batman & Superman.

    That said, I don’t mind what Marvel movies are doing either cause each character gets his own movie first. It sounds exciting. 

    Now the question is … who will be Superman? 🙂

  4. Much as I’d like to see this shared world for DC, I think right now keeping Batman, Superman, and any other characters for that matter in their own worlds is the right idea.  DC really needs to re-establish a lot of these characters for the big screen because they are leagues behind what Marvel has been doing the last 10 years.  Let Nolan finish his interpretation of Batman and re-invention of Superman and when they’re all done, we can talk JLA then.

  5. I can’t really disagree with Nolan’s thoughts on Superman and Batman. I think they definitely work better on film as "the only hero" in their respective universes and I’m fine with this decision.

    It’s the other DC heroes (Green Lantern, The Flash, etc.) that I want to see as part of a shared universe. I really think a Justice League film would benefit from being a team of "second stringer", otherwise Batman and Superman would get too much of the focus which is the last thing I would want. This would open up the roster for a lot of lesser known DC characters, and I’m all for that.

  6. I don’t mind that Nolan doesn’t want to combine the properties into a common universe.  I just hope the quality of the next Superman movie is good.  I’m very interested in this "ending" the Nolan brothers have in mind.

  7. If you have to do a JLA film then base it off of Mark Waid’s ‘Year One’. Sure they both pop in for a bit but they could easily write them off.

  8. @JesTr – The ending is that Bruce Wayne gets therapy (5 hours per week for 4 years), he stops blaiming himself and no longer feels the need to avenge his parents death. Instead he will concentrate on charity work and cleaning up the streets by getting rid of poverty.

  9. I don’t care about shared universes.  I just want good movies.

  10. I want underwear on the outside of the costumes…And not just in movies and comics…..

  11. Why can’t Batman come first? Also why can’t Superman just not go to Gotham? Sure he has super hearing but he can’t hear everything at once. Hands down every time the Riddler robs a bank there are more than 100 houses on fire, more than 100 robberies and more than 100 emergency situations on the east coast alone. Sure he’s fast, but he ain’t that fast.

  12. Guys, I’m sorry, but the shared universe is not the most important thing at work here.  Christopher Nolan is the best director working today, he will make great movies.  


    I mean, you really just can’t compare his batman movies to any marvel movies……just on a whole other level…. 

  13. So no "Nolen" JLA?  Bummer.

  14. This makes me think of the very subtle reference to superman in Batman Year One. I think Alfred mentions the "man in metropolis". I loved that.

  15. They must realize that a Superman/Batman film is a license to print money, right? It doesn’t have to be a shared Universe in the sense that they would go back and forth between each others films and have to constantly acknowledge the existence of other heroes. You can do solo films and hero group films. Nothing wrong with introducing a character in a solo film (where only that hero exists) and then putting them into a group film taking the best elements of the solo films.

    I guess for now a Batman film is enough of a license to print money that you don’t want to oversaturate with too much Batman, but come on. The Batman vs. Superman just seems to write itself (OK, Frank Miller already ‘wrote’ a lot of it) boyscout vs. vigilante, superbeing vs. man’s cunning, and of course in the end Batman finally gets through Clarke’s thick head that there is a bigger danger than him and they unite to  defeat it. Rolll credits.



  16. As much as I would love to see cross-overs of some type, and I really don’t agree that the two characters can’t exist in the same Universe (I mean really Batman even in the Dark Knight could NOT exist in real life so Superman showing up is not going to shatter some sort of realistic vibe I get from these flicks).  I’m okay with them being separate… as long as they are good movies it’s cool.

  17. I think Batman could come into Superman’s world but not vice versa.  Really interested to see what happens with this.  Oh I liked Brandon Routh he just happened to be in a bad movie.  Similar to Affleck in DareDevil.  Sadly I wouldn’t mind Routh as Supes again but the mainstream will still associate the new good movie with "Returns".  So Routh is out and I understand

  18. All of this pleases me.

  19. Who cares if they’re in the same universe or not at this point?  It’s called ret-con people!  Besides that, if they’re just ending the Batman movies and beginning the Superman ones, then a JLA or Superman/Batman movie would be a decade off at least, so quite whining, it could still happen.  Perhaps that will be the "reboot" for those two franchises.  I’m interested to see what Nolan does with Batman.  Goyer knows his stuff, I just hope he’s learned from the past Superman movies.  We want to see Supes punch something!  And don’t make Lex the main villain.  He can appear, of course, but have him be the evil business Lex who just is in the background for at least the first movie.

  20. If it was any director, hell any other creator of anything, I’d be inclined to think they were lying or deflecting but with Nolan I take him at his word and I’m sad that I probably wont see a JLA movie for quite some time but I’m glad that its being sacrificed for making quality movies.

  21. No shared universe is no problem.  BUT having Superman the only one in the movie with fantastic powers is very limiting.

    Wouldn’t it be cool for a sci-fi bend to it? (Darkseid, Braniac?).  Sort of sick of watching Superman saving people from Natural Disasters, battling robbers and Luthor.  Hell, I’d even wouldn’t mind seeing Phantom Zone villains.

    I wish Nolan was a fan of the Timm-verse.

  22. I’m fine with separate universes.  It maybe worthwhile to introduce some of the other unpowered heroes into the Batman Universe (I think The Question would be a nice fit in Nolan’s world).  As I mentioned in Paul’s thread on the next Superman film, I’d love to see some cosmic action there (Brainiac).

  23. I’m curious what he means about ‘ending’ the Batman story. I’ve always been of the belief that Bruce Wayne will be Batman until he dies. It’s not something he can retire from. Having said that I have supreme confidence in Nolan’s ability to make a truly stunning movie.

    @UncleBob: I think Nolan meant that Supes would be the only super-powered hero. I imagine that there would be super villains.

    Look to the World’s Finest crossover in the Superman animated series for a good Batman/Superman story where they both work really well together.

    Also, just because Nolan says he won’t make a Batman/Superman movie doesn’t mean DC never will. It may be a few years off though. Right now I am happy for Bats and Supes to have their own franchises.

  24. @AmirCat: Ha! I bet he figures out how to use a gun and says, "huh taking down criminals is a lot easier with these".

  25. @Reg5000 Everyone points to the animated Batman/Superman World’s Finest as the model but the Batman series had already introduced magic and lazarus pits and characters like Poison Ivy and Zatanna. All of these things are what Nolan is expressly saying that he does not want to include in his version of Batman. It isn’t and isssues of the characters not meshing, any half decent writer can make even the most idealist Superman and pragmatic Batman work as a duo but when the world one is set up in actively procludes the other’s very existence its a hell of a problem.

  26. @reg5000 Maybe Bruce does die in Batman 3, surring on the rest of Gotha to stand up and fight crime themselves I cold see that in the Nolan Universe, after all he did *SPOILER* kill Two-Face. *END SPOILER*

  27. @Heroville: I pointed at the crossover because it uses both characters and has a story that could work in the Nolan Batman universe. That is, it doesn’t use fantastical elements of either character’s mythology but rather grounds them in as much reality as possible. I think it’s one of the best crossover stories I’ve seen involving these two characters.

    I’m not saying Nolan is being a bad film maker for not using this story or these elements. I was just pointing out a scenario where a ‘realistic’ universe has been used as a setting for stories involving Batman and Superman. 

  28. This whole shared universe thing reminds me of watchmen, with a superduper guy and badass normals existing quite well with one another. There’s a whole thing about willing suspension of disbelief, so for the avengers film, will I care that Thor’s magic exists in Tony Stark’s technology based world? No, not really, not if it’s done right. I guess they just have to find equilibium. Anyway, I’m not a real DK or Superman Returns fan tho, but I have imagined what a routh/bale world’s finest film might be like and it does make me smile.

  29. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’m glad the quality of individual films is taking priority over crossover potential. If they had to establish a continuity for a World’s Finest or JLA franchise that’d mean making compromises. Nolan’s being smart and responsible here. 

  30. @Paul: That’s a good point. It seems that DC is playing very hands-off when it comes to Batman. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

  31. I agree with Nolan.

    Then again I’ve fantatised about giving each character their own universe in the comics, so maybe I’m biased

  32. I must say, I am impressed with how well this is going over. I have a lot of respect for Nolan’s approach, but I thought I would be in the minority, or at least that it would be somewhat controversial.

  33. @Jimski: The way I see it is, that if one thing Marvel does right is pairing superheroes together well. You can have a billion comics about Spider-Man teaming up with X-Men, or Deadpool, or Cap, or anyone else.

    With DC it definitely seems like it takes a lot of time to make a team up or pair work perfectly. Hell JLA has been in comic hell for years cause no one can write a team of heroes well. JSA has also started to flounder a bit. So if we apply that to films, then I think it totally makes sense to wait before we can team anyone up.

    I mean look at Marvel films right now. They have Iron Man, Hulk, and Nick Fury already in the same universe….in credits only!

  34. @Jimski I think its because we’ve all more or less accepted that Nolan’s Batman is deliberately designed to be "real" and that writes out a lot of the more fantastical elements of Batman and the larger DCU. I mean we had a movie with Ras a Ghul as the villain and no one ever once said "Lazarus Pit".  And really what’s better for the character and franchise; a bunch of fanboys getting riled up on the internet because we probably wont be getting a movie that would require the phenominal success of about five or so individual character movies and shifting around previously established continuity to fulfill our seventh grade fantasies or that these characters are given the kind of respect and stories they deserve even if that means they never meet?

  35. I actually really really really like the fact that the Joker wasn’t offed in Batman 2.  I just like the idea of him being out there.

    Sacrilege to most and even me, but having someone else play the Joker (main or minor or minor minor character) would be pretty cool storywise.

  36. I just want another great Superman movie. Thats all.

  37. I like Nolan.  I loved BB & TDK.  I also loved Superman Returns.  I’m bummed if this means NO crossover of heroes, ie. a JLA movie.

    I’m VERY interested to see what he will do with it… but really its not HIM, its David Goyer.  He’s been a comic writer before and I’m sure he’s working with Geoff Johns on this too.. at least I would think. 

    One thing I thought of though…  Nolan had 2 big great comic films.. so they give him Superman.  Does this sound at all VAGUELY familar to ANYONE?  *ahem*  Bryan Singer does X-Men which was huge at the time and then out does himself with X2… and he gets Superman..  As much as WB says they’re trying to change, it seems like they’re repeating themselves.  And in that respect, while i admittedly loved Singer’s SR (and wouldve liked a sequel to it) and loved Nolan’s Bat films (so far)… can’t we give Superman to someone else? 

  38. @Jimski – my feelings exactly

    @Patman2 – I hear you

    I found Nolan’s take on Batman deeply satisfying & can’t wait to see a Superman flick he’s had a hand in. I also think it’s a good strategy not to pursue crossovers, if only to differentiate DC’s films from Marvel’s.


  39. At first, I was really excited about the idea of a Justice League movie, but now… not so much. I just don’t think it would work. However, if it does ever get made, I look forward to being pleasantly surprised.

    Come to think of it though, has there been a DC super-team movie? Instead of the League, maybe we should be seeing a Justice Society, Doom Patrol, Secret Six or Metal Men movie.