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The Dark Knight Rises Writer Explains Why The Riddler Did Not Appear in the Batman Movie

The Dark Knight Rises Writer Explains Why The Riddler Did Not Appear in the Batman Movie


  • The Dark Knight Rises
    originally considered including the Riddler, but a genre shift led to the character being left out.
  • Nolan’s Batman trilogy never used the Riddler, allowing for a more impactful return in Matt Reeves’
    The Batman.
  • Christian Bale’s Batman facing off against Heath Ledger’s Joker in
    The Dark Knight
    set a high standard for its follow-up.

The Dark Knight Rises could have featured the Riddler, but a shift in genre saw the idea dropped when Christopher and Jonathan Nolan decided to go a slightly different way that left the character out of the picture. Although the Riddler had already appeared in Batman Forever (played in a maniacally gleeful way by Jim Carrey), and would do so again in Matt Reeves The Batman (portrayed in a much more grounded way by Paul Dano), Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy never used the character.

In a new interview ahead of the release of Prime Video’s Fallout series, writer-director Jonathan Nolan chatted with Josh Holloway for his Happy Sad Confused podcast. Asked whether there were any villains that he particularly wanted to see in the movies, Nolan said:

“I sort of started to play with ideas about the Riddler, and what could be done with that character, but it did feel like it was close enough to the space of what we done with Heath that you really needed to sort of… there’s another genre shift there, right? I think one of the things I was excited about with The Dark Knight Rises was, okay, if you did this kind of urbane crime drama for the second film, then the third one was, we sort of find ourselves back in the space. It was a post-apocalyptic film. That was what I was excited about with that film was the idea that you go there, right? Batman, it’s always about, you know, Batman always saves the day, the city always survives. And there have been some examples in the comic books where they’ve just kind of gone for it a little bit. And I thought why can’t we do that with a movie? Why can’t we destroy Gotham and see what happens afterwards.”

The Dark Knight Rises Could Not Quite Match Its Predecessor

Tom Hardy as Bane and Christian Bale as Batman facing off in The Dark Knight Rises
Warner Bros. Pictures

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy became the most successful big screen run of Batman movies ever, but the director created an almost insurmountable task of attempting to produce a successor to the almost flawless The Dark Knight.

Christian Bale’s Batman brutally taking on Heath Ledger’s chaos-loving Joker, and the most disturbing version of Two-Face depicted in a live action Batman movie came together in what is widely regarded as the greatest movie of the Caped Crusader’s on-screen adventures. For this reason, it seems that the third movie in the trilogy could not afford to simply replay a similar story to that seen in The Dark Knight.


Batman: Every Live-Action Riddler, Ranked

Looking back at every live-action version of Batman’s nemesis, The Riddler.

While The Dark Knight Rises provided a fitting close to Nolan’s time helming the franchise, what the inclusion of the Riddler would have looked like is something that we can only imagine. However, after making quite an impact on Gotham City in The Batman, there is a strong chance that Paul Dano’s version of the character could return in The Batman 2, or one of its spin-off shows. Perhaps for that reason alone, it was maybe best that Nolan’s movies gave the character a miss, so he could make his more impactful return a decade later.

The Dark Knight Trilogy
is currently available to stream on Max.

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