Warner Bros. wanted to make a fourth Batman movie after The Dark Knight Rises. Christian Bale was not interested in continuing forward and he is now explaining why. Christopher Nolan was able to reinvent the way that comic book fans looked at the Batman franchise on the big screen, which was not an easy task. Fans were still reeling from the Caped Crusader movies from the 1990s, which started off great and quickly went downhill and resembled more of the campy 60s TV series.
Christian Bale is currently out promoting Ford v Ferrari, which is currently the number one movie in North America. However, some talk went to the Dark Knight. When talking about first taking on Batman Begins, Bale says people laughing at him. Bale explains.
"We knew we had to reinvent it. I literally had people laugh at me when I told them we were doing a new kind of Batman," says Bale. "I think that the reason it worked was first and foremost Chris' take on it." The movie was darker and it could have been the only one they ever made.
"Chris had always said to me that if we were fortunate to be able to make three we would stop. 'Let's walk away after that,' he said. Then when they inevitably came to us and said, 'How about a No. 4?' I said, 'No. We have to stick to Chris' dream, which was always to, hopefully, do a trilogy. Let's not stretch too far and become overindulgent and go for a fourth.' That's why we, well Chris, stepped away. After that I was informed my services were no longer required."
As it turns out, Christopher Nolan dreamt of a trilogy, but never really thought they'd be successful enough to pull it off. So when they were lucky enough to do more, everything seemed to work out. But there was no room for a fourth installment after being so lucky with the first three. Bale went on and had this to say.
"...we never were arrogant to assume that we had an opportunity beyond one film at a time. That's something that Chris always would talk about. He'd say, 'This is it. We're making one film. That's all we've got.' Then when they came and said, 'You want to go make another?' It was fantastic, but we still said, 'This is it. We will not get another opportunity.' Then they came and they said, 'OK, let's do a third one.'"
A fourth Batman movie from Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale would have been a big deal. But would it have been as good as the first three? That's the real question, but thankfully, they stopped before they could make a stinker, which was all by design. There was no need to run things into the ground, though Bale seems to lead on that he may have been okay with continuing on with the series.
Michael Keaton brought a psychotic darkness to the role, which Christian Bale took and refined a bit. There will be arguments for the rest of time about who played the best version of Batman on the big screen and Bale will likely go down in history as one of the best. Ben Affleck famously took on the role after Bale and has since been replaced with Robert Pattinson. You can check out the rest of the interview with Bale over at The Toronto Sun.