It's no secret that that Warner Bros., like any movie studio, wouldn't mind having something like Marvel's Avengers in its portfolio: A whole family of blockbusters starring individual superheroes that can carry their own sequels, help sell the audience on related movies and unite for a massive team-up of a movie every few years that obliterates box-office records. But if Warner Bros. is ever going to follow Marvel's Avengers example with the Justice League -- heck, if they even ever get a Justice League movie off the ground -- they're going to have to do it without the help of their go-to superhero guy, Christopher Nolan. During press for The Dark Knight Rises, the director said he was done with comic book superheroes, bat-caped and otherwise."I've got no plans to do anything more, and certainly, no involvement with any Justice League project," Nolan told the Associated Press.

Dark Knight Rises will mark the end of the filmmaker's involvement with Batman, including the inevitable franchise reboot that ought to be announced shortly after the box office receipts for the new film get counted, or a Justice League flick prominently featuring The Dark Knight.

Said Nolan:

We're finished with all we're doing with Batman. This is the end of our take on the character.


Batman will outlive us all, and our interpretation was ours. Obviously, we consider it definitive and kind of finished. The great thing about Batman is he lives on for future generations to reinterpret and, obviously, Warners will have to decide in the future what they're going to do with him.

It's not too terribly surprising to hear, given how much time and energy Nolan has already given to translating the character to the big screen between 2005's Batman Begins and this summer's promotional efforts for Rises (assuming he started working on the first film at least a year prior to its release, that's almost a decade of the man's life), and seeing how hard his Batman films leaned away from the science fiction and fantasy elements of the DC comics that comprise Bats' home turf, choosing instead for a more realistic take on the character (Ninjas, Batpods, flying Batmobiles and Liam Neeson's facial hair aside).

Fans of Nolan no doubt had their hopes stirred when they learned Warner Bros. very next film starring a DC superhero (and Justice League member!) would be 2013's Man of Steel, which bears a Christopher Nolan producing credit (and, currently, a story credit).

Factor in last year's Green Lantern film-which was not produced by Nolan and, perhaps not coincidentally, disappointed at the box office and the comic shop-and three-sevenths of the founding members of the Justice League would have already made their film appearances, making and Avengers-style team-up movie possible, if unlikely.

It's probably for the best. I for one wouldn't want to hear Christian Bale sharing trading quips with Ryan Reynolds in his hoarse, smoker's cough whisper-roar of a Batman voice.

The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20.

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