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Christopher Nolan Was ‘On the Fence’ About Making The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan Was ‘On the Fence’ About Making The Dark Knight


  • Convincing Christopher Nolan to make a
    Batman Begins
    sequel wasn’t easy, but Jonathan Nolan’s persistence paid off eventually with
    The Dark Knight’s
  • Jonathan told Christopher, “Don’t be a chicken sh—!” to help convince his brother to make the follow-up.
  • Nolan’s
    Dark Knight
    laid the groundwork for DC’s future billion-dollar successes like
    The Dark Knight Rises
    and James Wan’s

Imagine a world without The Dark Knight (2008). Well, as it turns out, it took a little cajoling from brother Jonathan Nolan to get his Oscar-winning sibling Christopher Nolan to make another Batman movie. In 2005, Batman Begins followed up on the disaster of Batman & Robin (1997) by reinventing the franchise to great success. Christopher and Jonathan’s work on Christian Bale’s first film as the Dark Knight/Bruce Wayne paid off as the superhero adventure went on to make $375.3 million. But Jonathan had to convince Christopher to do a sequel. Jonathan said during his appearance on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast:

Chris was on the fence about making another one. He didn’t want to become a superhero movie director.

But Jonathan wasn’t satisfied with making just one Batman movie, especially after it fared so well with critics and fans alike. Nolan said during the same podcast:

Let’s take it for a drive. Don’t you want to make another one?

Initially, though, Christopher wasn’t sure The Dark Knight was the right move for him to make. “So, I was literally sitting with Charles Roven [a producer] and Chris — and being like, ‘Dude, don’t be a chicken sh—. Let’s do this!’” Jonathan continued in the same sit-down, adding:

“And he developed the story with David Goyer with a little bit of input from me. It was like first-act detailed, [and the] second act [was] somewhat detailed. Third act… uh, he rides away at the end. Once we had the script done, I was like,
‘This is going to be great. This is exciting. We gotta make this movie.’
And eventually,
he came around.”

The Dark Knight Legacy

While Warner Bros. saw 2005’s Batman Begins as a success, thanks to its box office haul, that was only a drop in the bucket compared to what The Dark Knight did during its theatrical run. Nolan’s efforts on The Dark Knight led to the first billion-dollar moneymaker to feature characters from DC Comics on the big-screen (along with being regarded as the best Batman movie of all time).

Warner Bros. certainly had success with other titles, particularly Superman: The Movie (1978) and Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). However, in 2012, Nolan’s third entry in his Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises, also broke the lofty box office barrier with $1.085 billion. And in 2018, James Wan’s Aquaman became the only other DC property to join the club with $1.15 billion (per Box Office Mojo).


The Dark Knight Co-Writer Reveals Meaning Behind Iconic Dialogue: ‘I Was Proud of That Line’

Jonathan Nolan reveals the meaning behind one of The Dark Knight’s lines of dialogue which plagues his brother Christopher Nolan.

The Dark Knight was nominated for a total of eight Academy Awards and won two golden statues at the 2009 ceremony. Heath Ledger posthumously won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker. And Richard King took home the highly coveted hardware for Best Achievement in Sound Design.

The Dark Knight
and the other two entries in Nolan’s Batman saga are available to stream on
at the time of this writing.

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