WARNING!!! – This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The Dark Knight Rises.
Prior to the release of Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, the rumor mill was running rampant on how Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character might fit into the superhero-villain-heroine mix created by appearances from Batman, Bane, and Catwoman, respectively. While there are plenty of “normal” people in the Nolan trilogy (Commissioner Gordon and Alfred, among others) casting an up-and-comer like Levitt as an everyman police officer raised a few eyebrows and caused plenty of fan speculation. Would Levitt make an appearance as an unannounced villain (such as The Riddler) or possibly a superhero sidekick (such as Robin)?
Now that the film is out, we know that Levitt’s character, John Blake is Robin in both name and character, but as usual, Nolan wasn’t going to spell anything out. Despite a lot of carefully constructed arguments from the fan community about Blake’s post-Rises adventures, Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently confirmed that the filmmakers never talked about which “suit” (Batman, Nightwing, Robin, etc) the character would wear – when, and if, he actually took over for Bruce Wayne.
After the closing reveal of The Dark Knight Rises, many moviegoers (and media members), began hammering Levitt for answers about a possible sequel featuring the John Blake character. The actor quickly dismissed talk of a follow-up – claiming that the studio had not approached him about it and that, for him, reprising the role would be dependent on the quality of the script.
As mentioned in an interview with MTV, Levitt also dismissed the notion that Nolan had a particular alter-ego in mind for the character, asserting that they never talked about which “suit” the character might wear:
However, even if we never see Levitt fighting criminals on the streets of Gotham again, that doesn’t mean that fans aren’t interested in some closure about which fan-favorite Batman character he had been playing all along. Many enthusiasts argued that the reveal of the character’s first name, Robin (as in Robin John Blake), was a dead giveaway for the boy wonder (Dick Grayson); others felt as if Nightwing, despite the obvious nod to Batman’s most famous sidekick, would be a much better fit for Nolan’s universe. In the comic storylines, Robin (still Grayson) becomes Nightwing – taking on the persona as he matures. Similarly, Blake could have easily just become the new Batman – just like Grayson did (again) in the DC universe.
As we’ve talked about on the Screen Rant Underground podcast, the John Blake character is mostly an amalgamation of various iterations of Bat-sidekicks, not one specific person – a point that ties into the franchise idea about becoming a symbol, rather than just a man. It’s a theme that Levitt himself discussed when talking about a possible John Blake sequel on Jimmy Kimmel Live:
“I don’t think [the ending of 'The Dark Knight Rises'] is necessarily a set-up. I think it is the great ending for that trilogy. Even if you go back to ‘Batman Begins,’ he’s talking about how Batman is more than a man, it’s a symbol, and a hero can be anybody and we all have heroes inside of us.”
Levitt has shown gratitude and excitement to be part of The Dark Knight Rises experience, but doesn’t have much to say about future Batman work. Screen Rant Managing Editor, Kofi Outlaw, had a chance to sit down with Levitt this week to discuss the actor’s upcoming film Premium Rush, and Levitt flat-out denied (or at least isn’t willing to talk about) any talks with Warner Bros. about post-TDKR plans - which would include the possibility of Blake appearing in DC’s in-development Justice League film.
Screen Rant: Have you seen the Justice League script that Will Beall is working on, or had any meetings with WB about being a part of their supehero universe?”
Levitt: Nope. [Pauses] No – the answer’s ‘no.’
For the time being, it’s probably best to let the subject of continuing Nolan’s Batman trilogy rest. Nolan and star Christian Bale have both said they are done with the character - and the legacy torchbearer, Levitt, clearly doesn’t have any new developments to report.
Of course, we’ll keep you updated if something changes – since some version of Batman will need to be called into action for the Justice League movie.
Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.