10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY

10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY

The Dark Knight Trilogy will go down as one of the greatest series of films in history, but there's a lot about these Batman movies you may not know. Hit the jump for ten of the most mind-blowing facts...

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Following the disaster which was Batman and Robin, the Caped Crusader's time as a big screen superhero seemed to be at an end. Warner Bros. tried and failed to get another take going on several occasions, but it was ultimately then relatively unknown filmmaker Christopher Nolan who proved to be the saving grace this franchise so desperately needed. Grounding the Dark Knight in reality with Batman Begins, he changed the superhero movie genre forever and redefined this iconic character for a whole new generation in what would end up being the first instalment in an epic new trilogy.

A sequel followed which was so popular it changed the way the Oscars work, and by the time the finale rolled around, Batman was a $1 billion box office draw and Nolan had become one of only a handful of directors who can sell a film on his name alone (putting him on the same level as Steven Spielberg).

The making of The Dark Knight Trilogy is a fascinating story, and there's a lot you more than likely don't know about it. From scrapped plot points and Easter Eggs to almost countless stories about Heath Ledger's take on The Joker and the many ways these movies could have been very, very different, you'll find all of that and more here. Some loved these movies and others hated the decision to focus more on realism than the source material, but I think you'll all agree that these factoids are pretty damn cool.


10. An Aborted Nightwing Cameo

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Conspicuous by his absence in all of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies is the Caped Crusader's sidekick Robin. The Dark Knight Returns' John Blake shared some similarities to Dick Grayson (the most obvious being the fact that he was called "Robin"), but Christopher Nolan isn't thought to be a fan of the character and decided not to include him in the trilogy.

Things could have been very different though. An early draft of Batman Begins did include Robin. Well, sort of. It revealed that Rachel Dawes was a distant relative of the Grayson family, and while that would have been a neat Easter Egg for fans, Nolan chose to remove it in case they ended up feeling misled when he failed to introduce the sidekick in the sequel.

9. Warner Bros. Had Their Eye On Leonardo DiCaprio For The Riddler

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For whatever reason, The Riddler was rumoured to be the villain in each and every Batman movie since Batman Begins (there was even what appeared to be an Easter Egg alluding to his existence in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice). As it turns out, they almost got their wish as The Riddler very nearly ended up taking on a role in The Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan never considered using him, but, according to writer David S. Goyer, Warner Bros. had some of their own ideas.

They approached him at the premiere for The Dark Knight to talk villains for a possible third instalment, and Riddler's name came up. "Obviously it's gonna be The Riddler and we want it to be Leonardo DiCaprio," is what they told Goyer, but Nolan obviously put his foot down by choosing to focus on Tom Hardy's Bane. Ironically, DiCaprio is one of the only Inception cast members not to take on a role in The Dark Knight Trilogy. That didn't stop the Oscar winning actor from being rumoured to be in the running for this role and others a fair few times though!


8. Michael Caine Was Terrified By The Joker

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The first time Michael Caine saw Heath Ledger's take on The Joker was in the penthouse scene which featured the Clown Prince of Crime throwing Rachel Dawes from the building. The legendary British actor has since revealed that he was so taken aback by the sight of the actor (who was fully in character at the time), that he forget his line when Joker entered.

It's really no wonder that Caine was so freaked out by Ledger's take on the villain. After all, some of The Joker's more unusual and creepy mannerisms included Ledger sucking at his cheeks and licking his lips. These initially came as a result of the actor's discomfort with the scar make-up, but it spooked Nolan so much (meaning that Caine wasn't the only one left somewhat unsettled by his performance), that he had Ledger include it as a character idiosyncrasy.


7. The Dark Knight Caused A Bomb Scare

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One of the most unusual examples of a viral marketing campaign is what Warner Bros. came up with for The Dark Knight. In a bid to tease this new chaos loving version of The Joker, the studio got bakeries across America to hand out a free cake to the first person who would walk in and identify themselves as "Robbin Banks". Those cakes had the words "Call Me Now" written on them with a phone number, and when they called that, it would turn out that there was a phone in the cake.

From there, fans would have to follow a series of instructions to get in touch with The Joker. It was all very clever and perhaps even somewhat overcomplicated. However, things went wrong when a Texas cinema chain decided to emulate this unique marketing idea. Unfortunately, they failed to let anyone know they were promoting The Dark Knight, so when news station KENS 5 TV in San Antonio received a cake which had a fairly conspicuous design and a "hidden bomb" rather than a phone inside it, the building was quickly evacuated and the bomb squad was called in. Next time, just leave it to the experts...

6. Batman Begins Soundtrack Surprise

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One of the most unique and interesting Easter Eggs in The Dark Knight Trilogy didn't appear in the movies, but on the soundtrack for one of them. Hans Zimmer's rousing score defined the series, and his and James Newton Howard's music for Batman Begins was downright superb.

On the CD's track listing, not only are all of the track names Latin variations of the different species of bat, but the first letters of tracks 4 - 9 actually spell out the word "BATMAN". Seeing as the songs appeared on the soundtrack in the order they played in the movie, it's all the more impressive that Zimmer and Howard somehow found a way to get that Easter Egg in there.


5. Heath Ledger Helmed Parts Of The Dark Knight

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Some of the most disturbing scenes in The Dark Knight are the ransom messages that are broadcast to the public by The Joker. Shot with a regular video camera, Heath Ledger was entrusted by Christopher Nolan to direct these himself - the filmmaker wasn't even present for some of them.

He was for the first one of course, but was left so impressed by Ledger's work that he handed him the camera and just said, "Do whatever you want." Ledger got so into these videos, that every single take he did was different from the last. The actor gave his all to the role of The Joker in The Dark Knight in front and behind the camera.


4. Record Complaints About The Dark Knight

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Christopher Nolan introduced The Joker in style when he paid homage to Batman: Year One at the end of Batman Begins by teasing the villain's existence, making way for a great, IMAX-shot opening reveal in the sequel. As if his unmasking at the very start of The Dark Knight wasn't enough, The Joker really made his presence felt in the movie by performing a pencil related magic trick which was both shocking and violent.

In doing so, he also pushed the boundaries of what's allowed in a 12A movie. Over 200 complaints were made to the British Board of Film Classification, the most they received between 2000 - 2010. In fact, roughly 42% of the letters they received in 2008 were from disgruntled and possibly disgusted viewers of The Dark Knight, a clear sign that this version of The Joker was causing chaos both in the movie and the real world!


3. Plans For Two-Face In Batman Begins

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Rachel Dawes was a character newly created for Batman Begins, a decision which baffled fans when Christopher Nolan really had any number of love interests for Bruce Wayne to pick and choose from the comics. Rachel's creation wasn't a bid by the filmmaker to leave his mark on Batman's world though; it was because of Two-Face.

Nolan and David Goyer wanted to introduce Harvey Dent in the first movie, but felt they wouldn't be able to do him justice. As a result, Rachel was created to serve in his place. Based on how well Dent was handled in The Dark Knight, it's likely had he been introduced in Begins, it would have still been an awesome take despite their reservations.


2. The Movies Which Inspired The Trilogy

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Directors often have unusual methods when it comes to preparing their actors for certain roles, but Christopher Nolan's sounds a lot less harsh than most. Ahead of shooting, the filmmaker screened movies for the cast and crew to give them an idea of the direction he would be taking. So, for Batman Begins, they watched Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

The Dark Knight was a much more ambitious film, so the first four days of shooting saw Nolan show even more of his favourite movies. He started with Heat and Cat People on the first day, Citizen Kane and King Kong on the second, Batman Begins and Black Sunday on the third, and then A Clockwork Orange and Stalag 17 on the fourth and final day.

For The Dark Knight Rises, he had literary inspiration in the form of Charles Dickens' A Tale Of Two Cites. However, Nolan would later reveal that his main film influences were Fritz Lang's Metropolis, The Battle of Algiers, Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City, David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, and (for a second time during this trilogy's creation) Blade Runner.


1. Heath Ledger's Joker Journal

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Many actors turn up on set, have their make-up and prosthetics applied (if the part calls for it), and simply get to work. Heath Ledger's role in creating The Joker's look was far more collaborative though. He took an active role in the design, experimenting with different looks before he and Nolan settled on the final version. They were generally inspired by Francis Bacon paintings, and added the red to the scars to give an impression of the smile and the black and white to make him look like what they've since described as a "ragged clown."

After deciding on the right appearance for the iconic villain, Ledger went to extreme measure to prepare, including locking himself up in a hotel room and keeping a diary of The Joker’s thoughts. For example, he jotted down the fact that he believed the character would find topics such as AIDS and land mines extremely amusing. Some believe that going to such dark places ultimately led to the actor's death, but that's really only speculation.

Which of these factoids about The Dark Knight Trilogy is your favourite? Have we missed any which you know about? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. 


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