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Bat-Analysis: Why ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Is ‘Batman: Knightfall’
Hunter Camp   |  

Empire Batman

Empire has an inside look at several details of the upcoming film The Dark Knight Rises, with exclusive interviews with director Christopher Nolan and actors Tom Hardy and Christian Bale, as well as costume designer Lindy Hemming. There’s loads of interesting information, some of which has led me to believe that The Dark Knight Rises will be based on the Batman: Knightfall comic book storyline (see full Bat-Analysis here below).

In the interview, Hardy describes Bane’s fighting style as “brutal” and goes on to say that Bane’s primary goal is not to fight, but to maim and destroy. But some of the most interesting info on Bane comes from Hemming. She describes the purposes of Bane’s costume including the mask and tanks that he wears on his back. And it appears to be venom-less. Instead, Bane is constantly pumped with a painkilling gas which still ties a lot of Bane’s character into drugs — and I absolutely love that idea. He sounds brutal and tough, and I’m really excited to see the Nolan take on this character. So, if you’re looking forward to this issue, make sure to check the images of the two covers at the bottom of this article.

But the real meat of these interviews comes with a spoiler directly from Chris Nolan. And, while I am going to delve into this spoiler and pick it apart to see what it all means, I am not interested in spoiling it for people that are just checking out the front page of the site. So, if you want to see the spoiler and my unique perspective on the information within this spoiler, continue on, dear friends.

Okay, so the spoiler is… are you ready? Okay, the spoiler is that The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after the events in The Dark Knight. Cool, huh? What else is cool is the complete quote from Nolan.

It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he’s an older Bruce Wayne; he’s not in a great state.

With Bane, we’re looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn’t had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally.


Now, historically, Christopher Nolan has done all he could to keep spoilers about his movies as far away as possible from the hungry hands of the Internet fanbase. And maybe this doesn’t seem like that big of spoiler to anybody. But it totally is. Or, at least, it could be. You see, I read a lot of Batman comics, so I’m familiar with a lot of storylines, and buddy boy, let me tell you, this sounds a lot like Batman: Knightfall. And honestly, a lot of people have read Knightfall, so I’m totally sure how people are picking up on this. Now, why do I think this?

A.) Bane: If you’re bringing in Bane for any other reason than to “break The Bat,” then I have no idea why you chose to do Bane. Yes, Bane is an interesting character and a bit of a challenge to change the public interpretation of the character after his appearance in Batman and Robin, but then why not The Riddler, Calendar Man, Penguin and really any other Bat-villain? There are loads to choose from. What are the two things that are core to Bane? Venom and breaking The Bat. Now, Nolan has stated that he will be having his own interpretation of the character, I sincerely doubt that the character would be completely wiped clean. And now that we know the venom is gone…. Boom. Breaking the bat. The entire basis for the Batman event Knightfall.

B.) Eight years later: Setting the film eight years later allows for so very much. In this time, a theoretical Robin could have aged to the point of moving on to his own hero called Nightwing. Nolan doesn’t want a sidekick? Fine, don’t give him a sidekick, give him an associate. Also, take into consideration that we already have Catwoman and we also have the opportunity to have a crime fighting aged Barbara Gordon. We saw her in The Dark Knight, but with this “8 years later” mentality, it opens up the window to so much. One of the key points of Knightfall, and actually one of the best parts of Knightfall, was the presence of Batman’s associates. He couldn’t do it on his own, and he needed help, but refused to ask. That sounds a lot like the Bale interpretation of Batman to me. What about you?

C.) “With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally.”: Seriously? This is Knightfall! They’re basically saying it right here. Bane was (sort of) introduced in Knightfall, so the fact that Nolan says “With our choice of villain….” basically is like saying “We chose Bane because he broke The Bat in Knightfall.” Bingo, bango, how could argue with this? Also, move on to the part of the quote where he says “physically as well as mentally.” Another one of the key parts of the early 90s event was that Batman was sick, refused to rest, and refused help. Being physically and mentally destroyed was a huge part of Batman’s character within that story. Bane took advantage of Batman’s personal state to destroy him and take down Gotham City. So, describing in this way is a perfect way to describe the comic. So, how could I think it’s anything else?

So, there you have it. Three reasons from this short online article that tell us that The Dark Knight Rises is basically Knightfall. In fact, I’m going to start calling it The Dark Knightfall because it makes so much sense to me. But either way, I’m really looking forward to this movie even though Knightfall was not my favorite. And just because the story is based on Knightfall, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the same thing. For example, Batman Begins was inspired by Year One, but it didn’t come off as a direct adaptation. In addition to that, The Dark Knight was not the same thing as The Long Halloween, although a lot of story elements came from that book. So, if you’re trying to get an inside look at The Dark Knight Rises, read Knightfall [start with Batman: Knightfall, Part One: Broken Bat], but don’t expect it to give you every last detail.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Check out the covers!

Batman Cover

Bane Cover

[Source: Empire Magazine]


  1. However, I do not see Nolan as following anyone else’s narrative for his films. Elements, sure. But not the storyline.

    Comment by Daniel Shea — November 22, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  2.  ”but then why not The Riddler, Calendar Man, Penguin and really any other Bat-villain?”
    Calender man?! …….are you fucking serious?
    And Penguin is a huge no no(he’s a joke) .  Riddler(as explained by Nolan in empire)  would just be a toned down version  of Heath’s Joker, and he hasn’t really been an actual  threat  in the comics for a long time, he’s a  complete misstep when looking for a villain to succeed Heath. I think the  only reason these folks are so wanted is because of the 60’s show nostalgia, the fact  people want  significantly  less dangerous villains like the Penguin are proof of that…. though I’m still  wondering why you would even want Calender man(lame villain) in this film.

    Bane is going to rule!

    Comment by Hermans — November 22, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  3. Everything in this article is wrong.

    Comment by Roy Batty — November 25, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  4. Batman may be “broken” in this movie but I really don’t think we’ll be getting Nightwing or Batgirl. Seriously.

    Comment by Lance Toothman — November 26, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  5. He did with Batman Begins, which has HUGE chunks from Batman Year One in it.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 28, 2011 @ 1:09 am

  6. Perhaps, but chunks, which I’d argue aren’t all that huge, are not storylines. Since Ra’s al Ghul and the Scarecrow are really the main plot, the two do not have too much in common in terms of narrative. 

    Comment by Daniel Shea — November 29, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  7. OK Ill give you that. But It sure FELT like Batman year one.
    BTW I am very excited for Nolan’s newest installment.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 29, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  8. This is stupid, “Knightfall” is probably an inspiration for the film but the writer of this crap assumes that Nolan is pretty much making a live-action adaptation of “Knightfall”

    Comment by Saint_Link — December 12, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  9.  He’s not one to follow a comic verbatim, but it sure seems like Knightfall will be a big inspiration. Begins had big chunks of Year One in it. Dark Knight had big big chunks of Long Halloween in it (and Joker’s mentality and “plan” is taken from Killing Joke.) It sure seems like Knightfall will be a big inspiration here.

    Comment by Patrick Wells — May 9, 2012 @ 3:16 am

  10.  You shouldve paid attention. Everything in this article was RIGHT!!

    Comment by Omahacentral05 — July 21, 2012 @ 3:04 am

  11. They are sort of similar, but I don’t really think that the dark knight rises is copying batman knightfall. The storyline is totally different with Batman Knightfall. Perhaps there are some some similar elements between these movies, but hey, hero movies have similarities which are inevitable. Your analysis is inaccurate. Good try though

    Comment by Chris — July 30, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  12. Not to me, reminded me more of SON OF THE DEMON, BRIDE OF THE DEMON…

    Comment by Guest — August 3, 2012 @ 10:49 am

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