Christopher Nolan Writing Third Batman Film; Mentoring Superman Reboot

Brandan Routh as Superman, Christian Bale as BatmanOver at Deadline Hollywood they are reporting that not only does Christopher Nolan finally have an idea for a third Batman film (and that he has supposedly begun working on the script with his writing team of brother Jonah Nolan and David Goyer) but that Warner Bros. has put Nolan in charge of “godfathering” a new, rebooted Superman franchise.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, we don’t know and can only speculate but one would imagine that Nolan will oversee development of the new Superman film, consulting on things like the story, the visual look, and the above-the-line hiring. The story mentions that it is highly unlikely that he would take part in the actual production of the new Superman film, especially now that he is planning on moving forward with a third Batman film. It’s possible that he, or his writing team, might be involved in the script, but a Superman film directed by Christopher Nolan is probably out of the question.

Why is this all happening now? Two reasons. One, with the creation of DC Entertainment, the pressure is on Diane Nelson to start bringing DC Comics characters to life in successful films for Warner Bros. And while it’s all well and good for Green Lantern and The Flash to be in development, Superman and Batman are the big names, the symbols of the company, and the most well known properties. Fixing Superman is particularly a top priority. And after The Dark Knight made $1,001,921,825 in worldwide box-office, scored massive critical acclaim, and the received first ever acting Academy Award for a comic book superhero film, you know that the pressure was on to bring Nolan back for a third film. The second reason that this is all happening now is legal. Warner Bros. has to begin production on a new Superman film by 2011, or face serious legal hassle. Half of Superman’s copyright has already been awarded to the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Seigel, and in 2013 the other half will be awarded to the family of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster. After the copyright reverts to the families, neither Warner Bros. nor DC Comics will be able to do anything with Superman without first reaching a financial agreement with the new copyright holders.

What do I think of this news? Well, I have mixed feelings. I’ve been pretty clear about not wanting to see a third Batman film. Sure, if they make it I will be excited, and of course I will be first in line to see it, but is there any way in the world that it won’t be something of a disappointment — on all levels? It will be virtually impossible for the next film to reach the same levels of financial and critical success that The Dark Knight did. How can they conceive of a villain as compelling as the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning take on The Joker? It’s just not going to happen. Of course, Return of the Jedi was less than The Empire Strikes Back, so maybe I can be convinced that this is a good thing. As for Superman, despite some casting problems, I was and remain a big fan of Superman Returns. I really enjoyed it and loved the serious, contemplative and adult take on Superman. I also completely understand that that is not the Superman movie that most people want to see. I also think that it’s a travesty that Warner Bros. seems so paralyzed with fear when it comes to Superman and I’m glad that they are finally moving forward with this reboot and you couldn’t ask for a better guy to take the helm in overseeing everything than Christopher Nolan.


  1. Nolan’s a very smart film maker. If anybody could make an amazing third film it’s him. And him helming a superman film is just the cherry on top.

  2. Awesome news!!! I can’t wait for a new Superman movie. Singers wasn’t down right horrible but I want a rebooted Supes franchise. The rehash of the Christopher Reeves Superman was the wrong direction.  I hope that Nolan has some good idea for villain(s) in the next Batman film and please don’ use LEx again as a villain in Superman.

  3. Chris Nolan is God. That is all.

  4. Cool. I do think it’s a bummer they’ll probably have to recast Superman. I thought Routh was pretty good, even if I didn’t care for much else in Superman Returns.

  5. Hmm, interested to see what he does with it. I have faith in the guy.

  6. Or the Geoff Johns of DC Enterainment.  Could this lead us down the road to a World’s Finest JLA movie?  Matthew Bomer for Kal-EL!

  7. Wha?

    What about the tone of any Christopher Nolan movie you have ever seen says "Superman" to anyone? The man makes a crackerjack Batman movie; Memento and Insomnia were great… but what does Dark Knight Superman look like, other than something that bums me out?

  8. I don’t think Nolan would be the director; I think even he knows this isn’t his kind of story unless he really wants to stretch his wings or make sure it doesn’t somehow conflict with his Batman franchise.

  9. I’m with Jimski.

  10. <img src="">

    Local weatherman to oversee Superman movie.

    If they don’t put Joker in it, they’re screwed.

  11. If this is true, it’s wonderful news. Like millions of others, I’ve been anxiously awaiting legitimate news on Nolan’s commitment to a third film. I agree that it will be damn near impossible to top Dark Knight (the Empire/Jedi comparison will most likely prove to be spot-on) , but that doesn’t mean I don’t wanna see him give it a shot. The villain and plot will be tricky, but I think there are enough threads left dangling to make for a nice, rounded-out conclusion. I want to see the cave in full function. I want to be back in the manor. And above all I want the focus to return to Bruce Wayne (my only serious beef with DK is the lack thereof). I trust in Nolan, and I’ll wager that after all is said and done, we’ll have a solid trilogy on our hands.

     The Superman news is surprising. I have no doubt that Nolan’s input would be anything but beneficial for the franchise. But part of me wonders if WB is just trying to milk their current cash cow. Just because he makes great Batman films, doesn’t mean he’ll make great Superman films. They are very different franchises.

  12. You simply can not ground in reality the powers possessed by Superman. "Dark Knight Superman" is a comment made that I’m seeing at various sites and it is a shame that fanboys have this belief that Nolan’s thought process/approach on superhero films is the same for every single character of the genre.

    Now the other side:

    Of course we are going to see a Dark Knight Superman! This move by WB is to encompass some of their DC films into a singular universe that superheroes can coexist in. The Marvel Studio method. Hello Superman/Batman in 2016.


  13. I think this is good news.  Nolan needs to complete the Batman trilogy and then move on.  My personal thought is that the trilogy is really setting up the Batman universe to what we know it as today.  I’m already putting $20 down saying the title of the next one is just "Batman".  As for Supes, better Nolan in charge than some hack wanting to do WB’s bidding to make everything "edgy".  That’s not to say Nolan wasn’t tapped to do that, but I think he has enough common sense to not make Superman dark and brooding and that the edginess will probably pop in other places but Superman will be Superman, hopefully.  Anyone nervous about this just ask yourselves, who would you rather have on this, a talented guy like Nolan or someone who will bow to the studio?  It could have been Schumacher in another reality, never forget that.

  14. Hmm. I will reserve judgement until I see more. But if they really are going ahead with a Superman reboot….Well I think it’s time to put on my excited hat!

  15. All I can ask of a new Superman movie is for a new Villain. I’ve seen enough of Superman vs Lex, I’d like to see something else. Maybe finally bring Brainiac? Hell maybe Darkseid, just something besides Lex. I think that was one of the better things Sueprman 2 did with Zod. Also please for the love of god find a good believable Lois.

  16. Hmmm, I also have reservations of another Batman film. I’ll be first in line but I think Nolan has really limited himself with the "realistic" take and has been backed into a corner by killing off some of the biggest villains. It probably wont come as a surprise that Im really hoping Catwoman finally makes a return to film but she can’t be the main villain.

    As for Superman, Im really excited that WB is finally moving forward with something SUperman related but I just hope Nolan doesnt try to make Superman dark or god forbid, realistic. Batman and Superman are entirely different characters. So fingers crossed

  17. I agree that Nolan’s tone isn’t the one we’d typically want, but I think he’s shown the kind of smarts to hire the people who do have the right tone. Which seems to be what his job might be. Often all you need at the top is someone who can say, "Hey look, this is everything that didn’t work with these earlier incarnations, and this is what did. Now go do it right. And no Jar Jar Binks fart jokes this time."

  18. Nolan’s a smart and talented man. I can’t see this being anything but good news for both the superman and batman movies.

  19. Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash… yup, that’s all the big DC characters. *sigh*

  20. This feels like a massive gamble.  DC and WB just went all in.  If Nolan gets bored/distracted they lose two franchises.

  21. Involved but not directing. Sounds fine to me. Just give me a new and improved Superman. Oh & don’t change the costume & no giant spiders or polar bears.

  22. @WonderAli: If Joss Whedon can’t make a film about Wonder Woman, then no one can! 🙂

    I’m all for this and not a bit hesitant or worried. Yes Joker is hard to top, but I have faith in the guys to make a very entertaining 3rd film. He doesn’t really even need to top that film anyways, kinda foolish if you think about it. Them doing Superman is a bit of a gamble. I mean I am not for a reboot of any kind for a film. Just keep it as is and move on. Other then the first two Reeves films, nothing will ever come close to match the quality of a Superman film. You have those two films to watch and three stinkers. I can’t imagine anyone making Superman work in a film ever at this point.

  23. Nolan working on a third Batman Film Awseomeness nolan consulting on a supes reboot…………interesting

  24. Joss Whedon Wonder Woman…intriguing.   JLA! JLA! JLA!

  25. Am I insane, or would Joseph Gordon Levitt make a good recast Joker?

  26. my 2¢

    I’m having a hard time shaking the notion that this means a Dark Superman story. 


  27. @AlanRob – Whedon wrote a WW script, but left the project over creative differences, if I recall correctly. It’s been a few years, and it’s something I think he was pretty bitter about.

    The good thing about Nolen is that he’s got some clout right now. So one doesn’t get the sense that he’s just going to hack something out at the studio’s request.

    It’s also worth noting that Nolen didn’t make the Batman films dark. The first two Burton films were already dark. What he brought in was a certain level of sophistication and maturity to the overall concept. Now, that really works to make Batman palatable for adults, but… Superman’s a different sort of creation. I agree with Conor in that I feel as though Singer already attempted to bring a certain adult perspective to the concept, and while i enjoyed that movie more than most, I’m not sure it’s the best fit for the icon in the long term. I feel like you really need to capture the "brightness" of Superman, but it doesn’t seem like the studio is interested in that because it doesn’t bring the cynical adult audience into the theater.

    So, we’ll see. As I said, Nolen’s at least got some clout. So I don’t feel like we’re going to be getting a "carbon copy of Dark Knight." YOu usually get that when you tell some hired hack to "Make it just like the dark knight" rather than hiring the director himself to give his vision.

  28. I’m just hoping a new Superman film will not include an origin.  they should push to find a more interesting story.

  29. Did anyone else notice the Superman/Batman mockup billboard that was in the times square area in I Am Legend?  If I remeber this correctly it had a release date of 2012. 

     I remember seeing it and thinking that would be awesome.  Maybe someone at WB foresaw the future.  And if Nolan is going to be involved in both franchises does that make it a real possibility?

  30. Superman needs to go with the Incredible Hulk approach and cover the origin in the opening credits.  Get that out of the way, then get into the meat of the story.  I have confidence Nolan can do that so long as Warner Bros is not pulling his strings and demanding something that’s contrary to his style of directing and writing.

  31. @dacampo 

    You’re right about Nolan not making Batman "dark".

    Where Batman Begins was successful in how it didn’t go straight into introducing Batman. The "slow burn" enriched Gotham and the supporting characters. I think that kind of pacing would help a Superman story.

    Putting on my Chris Nolan glasses I could see his Superman movie being a mystery where Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are investigating a series of supernatural phenomena in Metropolis. Superman isn’t revealed until the middle-end and the villain until the end.

  32. Ok, now Christopher Nolan is not going to try to make Superman "dark and gritty."  That’s not why Dark Knight was great either, it was great because he stayed true to the character.  Now, there is not a finer director working in hollywood than Christopher Nolan, so the man of steel is certainly in good hands.  


    However, it didn’t turn out so great the last time a batman director tried to do superman, now did it?;


  34. Ugh. I usually try hard to be careful about creators’ names, and now I’m annoyed by my own comment where I consistentyl misspell Nolan’s name. I don’t know why I always think of him as "Nolen." I don’t even know a Nolen.

    OK, that’s all. Just felt compulsive enought to comment on my comment. Carry on.

  35. Whether or not you think a Batman 3 is warranted, you have to give Nolan the benefit of the doubt.  He’s earned it.  If he says he’s got the legs for a third, then you have to trust him. 

  36. Hey, really quickly, at least this isn’t like a marvel movie.  I mean, this is how good films are made, when the auteur has an idea, he takes some time and writes a script to his liking, and releases it when he feels ready.  I mean, Iron Man 2 was in the works before the first even came out…

  37. The only way I’ll ever watch a Superman film again is if Geoff Johns is apart of the production. Doesn’t matter if he’s the writer, producer, executive producer, script consultant, grip….I don’t care! If he’s apart of the making of the film then I might give it a shot. Cause he really is the only man that can write Superman as an amazing character. Anyone else and I will not watch the film.

  38. @TNC: What if Morrison was to have a hand in the script?

  39. @Win: Hmm……Maybe. That’s a big maybe. Cause really outside of All Star Superman, I don’t see him as a Superman writer. If it was an All Star adaptation then yes, give Morrison full reigns. But I would still prefer Johns over anyone else.

  40. I can’t imagine a third Batman movie being bad with Nolan at the helm, even if I’ve no idea who would be a good villain for it (is it possible to do a "realistic" Penguin who’s also not boring?).

    I don’t even know what to think about a Superman movie. *shrug* Used to be I really wanted a Smallville movie, but I’m over that, now. Eh, hopefully, if they make one, it’ll be good, but I kinda don’t care anymore. 


  41. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Dark knight is the first Acting Academy Award Nomination for a comic book movie. Wasn’t Paul Newman nominated for Road to Perdition?

  42. @JohnVFerrigno: You know what I meant. But I’ll change it in case it’s not clear.

  43. @conor

    Now that I think about it, it WAS pretty obvious you meant super hero comic book movies. I’m tired.  

  44. I think the Superman development is very interesting, as I wouldn’t necessarily see Nolan as the perfect fit.  Yet at the same time I know how clever a filmmaker he is – after all he hasn’t made a bad movie yet, so my instinct is that this could be very good indeed.  Also, there’s this slightly OCD part of me that thinks Batman should finish as a trilogy rather than just the two.  My thought would be that the best move would be to back away from the supervillan thing a little and have the focus be the "Batman hunted by the police angle", with Jim Gordon caught in the middle.  It could be something akin to the second half of Year One.  At least that would be something of a departure from what has gone before.

  45. Batman 3, eh? Let’s get Jon Peters and Richard Lester together and make some movie magic! Adam Sandler as the Joker! Dakota Fanning as Batgirl! Wee-Man/Johnny Knoville as Scarface/Ventriloquist. And the big bad, Jude Law as the Riddle. Er, I mean as the Question.

  46. I got mixed feelings about this. I’ll just hope it beats the snot out of The Dark Knight but I’ll keep my expectations at a bare minimum.

  47. I’m guessing this is what WB execs meat when they said they were going to give Superman the "Dark Knight" treatment. As bad as that sounded at the time, I’m interested in what ideas Nolan has for Superman. I’m pretty sure he knows Clark Kent is not the same character as Bruce Wayne. But when you look at his portfolio it’s all pretty street-level detective/mystery stuff. I’ll be more interested once they actually announce a director and a direction.

    Batman 3 I’m in for. He doesn’t need to top Dark Knight. I’d be happy with "really good." 

  48. @patio  yeah i’m with you on batman 3. as long as its as good as batman begins i’ll be more than happy. i just want another cool story, i don’t need it to top the last one

  49. Much like Conor, I remain a fan (a huge fan in fact) of Superman Returns.  I love the movie and always will.  I wish we could have got a sequel or two from it before yet another re-boot.  That said, I am excited at the news that WB is finally going to do SOMETHING.  I’m a huge Smallville fan and just a lover of The Man of Steel in general.  I trust Chris Nolan to do us fans good.  I trust all the great creators that DC has too.  I feel like combined, these great minds can put together a great Superman film experience from the rich history and new innovative ideas they have.  I’m definitely excited and hope we get official word from WB very soon on all of the upcoming events from DC Entertainment! 

  50. Let me put my name in the hat as a fan of SUPERMAN RETURNS.  It wasn’t everything I could have hoped for in a Superman movie, but it was mostly a well-made film, featured Superman’s bulletproof eye, and starred a man who used to babysit my cousin (I’m 100% serious; no, I never met him).

    The thing I think the Superman films have lacked (maybe someone brought this up already) is a real fight.  Even when Superman faced Zod and Nuclear Man, there were very few punches thrown.  They just grappled clumsily and shot heat vision.  But with the special effects of today, it’d be a piece of cake to make a huge Superman vs. supervillain fight.  Metallo, Lex Luthor in the Kryptonite suit, Parasite, Darkseid, Cybord Superman, whoever…I want a fight in my super hero movie.