DetectiveCinema Presents... Christopher Nolan's SHADOW OF THE BAT

DetectiveCinema Presents... Christopher Nolan's SHADOW OF THE BAT

With this July marking the 10 Year Anniversary of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, I've decided to share what I would've liked to see in a follow-up had Heath Ledger not passed away.

Editorial Opinion
By DetectiveCinema - Jul 31, 2018 08:07 AM EST
Filed Under: Batman
To commemorate Christopher Nolan’s achievement with his Batman Trilogy, and in particular The Dark Knight, I’ve decided to share with you guys the way in which I wish he had concluded his series, had Heath Ledger not tragically passed away.
Let me start by saying, I did not by any means hate The Dark Knight Rises. I thought it was good. I saw it in IMAX upon release and I had a great viewing experience, seeing Bane break Batman’s back in 2K was just spectacular. However it is difficult not to imagine what could’ve been had Nolan been able to conclude his trilogy with Heath Ledger reprising his role as the Joker in the final chapter; in SHADOW OF THE BAT.
I’ve heavily drawn inspiration from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, as well as Doug Moench’s Batman: Prey.


A year after the Joker’s reign of terror, Batman, with the help of the mysterious Selina Kyle, must confront Dr Hugo Strange, a brilliant psychiatrist who holds a professional stake and personal obsession in unravelling the Dark Knight’s secrets.

One year has passed since the events of The Dark Knight (2008), the Batman is hunted by the police after Gotham City’s new mayor Rupert Thorne declares him a criminal. Thorne assigns Dr Hugo Strange, a psychologist and the former administrator of Arkham Asylum, to oversee the G.C.P.D’s operation to apprehend the caped crusader; Operation Knightfall.
Batman stops Waylon Jones, a low-level thug on Thorne’s payroll, from murdering Jack Drake, an honest Gotham City businessman who opposes the new mayor. Batman leaves Waylon Jones bound and unconscious for the police, much to Sgt. Cort’s frustration. Cort, frustrated with the Commissioner's clear support of the outlawed vigilante goes to Dr Strange for help in taking down the Batman and police commissioner.
Gordon meets with Batman on the G.C.P.D roof and informs him of Hugo Strange’s appointment in the G.C.P.D, overseeing the operation to capture him. He also mentions a costumed burglar doing the rounds in Gotham City. After a successful night, Bruce returns to Wayne Manor. The next day Alfred informs him he’s been invited to a dinner party with Gotham’s elite, including several persons of interest to the Batman.
Putting on his playboy facade, Bruce attends the party and gets the chance to meet Dr Hugo Strange. He finds the doctor’s obsession with Batman unnerving and keeps his encounter with him brief. He also gets a chance to meet Gotham City’s corrupt new mayor Rupert Thorne and his right-hand man Peter Pauling, who he learns Thorne is lining up to replace Commissioner Gordon within the coming months.
Following the party, Strange starts wearing a homemade Batsuit in his apartment to get inside his enemy's head, concluding that Batman must have been the victim of a tragedy. He begins making regular press announcements about the menace posed by Batman and starts to turn Gotham City against him. He has Sergeant Maxwell Cort put together a profile for who the Batman could be using the G.C.P.D database but Gordon keeps his report stashed in his office in an effort to keep it out of Dr Strange’s hands.
Realizing he’s running out of police officers he can trust, Gordon contacts a young detective from Gotham’s sister city Bludhaven who his estranged daughter grew up with; Detective Richard Grayson.
In an effort to improve his relations with the G.C.P.D, Batman tries to broker a truce with Cort by apprehending Arnold Crimp, a  convicted murderer who’s managed to evade capture. Cort interprets the gesture as a taunt against his competence and opens fire on Batman. However, Batman manages to escape, as does Crimp during the shootout.
That night Cort goes to Strange’s apartment to vent to him about the Batman and to see if he’s any closer to discovering his identity after going through the profile Cort composed for him. After Strange informs him he never received any files from the G.C.P.D Cort becomes further enraged with Gordon’s collusion with Batman.
Strange offers him a drink to help alleviate his stress but slyly adds a variation of Dr Crane’s psychotropic hallucinogen to it, which instead of inducing fear, gives him an irrational amount of confidence, essentially making him fearless. Strange then proceeds to hypnotize him making him believe he can be like Batman but “better”.
Strange gives Cort a costume to wear, very reminiscent of the ninja costumes that members of the League of Shadows have worn. Strange urges Cort to don the costume and go out into the night and hunt down criminals.
Cort leaves Strange’s apartment to drive home but on the way, he begins to feel compelled to don the costume. Calling himself ‘Night Scourge’, Cort tracks down Crimp and after nearly beating him to death, leaves him tied up at the police station with a note: ‘The Night Scourge wants to help too’.
The Gotham Gazette picks up the story about the Night Scourge the next day and Dr Strange publicly denounces the Night Scourge’s violent exploits as a direct result of the Batman existence.
Cort, while pleased with his work as the Night Scourge, believes that he needs to face Batman to prove his worth. So the next night he goes out hunting for Batman but happens upon Catwoman in the midst of a robbery. Cort attacks her but Batman intervenes and the two soundly defeat Cort. Impressed by each other’s fighting ability and teamwork, the two vigilantes consider teaming up.

CHRISTIAN BALE (Batman BeginsThe Dark Knight) … Bruce Wayne
TOM HARDY (Inception, Warrior) … Dr Hugo Strange
HEATH LEDGER (Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight) … Joker
ANNE HATHAWAY (The Devil Wears Prada, Get Smart) … Selina Kyle
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (500 Days of Summer, Inception)… Det. Grayson
MARION COTILLARD (Public Enemies, Inception)… Talia al Ghul
GARY OLDMAN (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight)… Commissioner Gordon
MICHAEL CAINE (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) … Alfred Pennyworth
MORGAN FREEMAN (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight)… Lucius Fox
 BEN MENDELSOHN (Animal Kingdom, The Place Beyond the Pines) … Dr Wolper
 JUNO TEMPLE (Atonement, Mr Nobody) … Dr Quinzel
JOSH STEWART (The Collector, Rehab) … Sgt. Cort
 ALON ABOUTBOUL (Rambo IIIBody of Lies) … Mayor Thorne
AIDAN GILLEN (Game of Thrones, Maze Runner) … Peter Pauling
 CILLIAN MURPHY (28 Day Later, Inception) … Scarecrow
 DANIEL SUNJATA (One for the Money, Gone)… Sanjay
 MATTHEW MODINE (Full Metal Jacket, Short Cuts) … Jack Drake
BURN GORMAN (Torchwood, Johnny English Reborn)… Arnold Crimp
CHRISTOPHER JUDGE (Stargate SG-1, Paradox)… Waylon Jones
JOEY KING (Crazy, Stupid, Love., Bent)… Carrie Kelley
LINUS ROACHE (The Chronicles of Riddick, Batman Begins)… Thomas Wayne
SARA STEWART (Mrs Brown, Batman Begins) … Martha Wayne
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight)

  • Bruce Wayne / Batman
    • Bruce Wayne witnessed his parent's murder at age 8, and later travelled the world for seven years to seek the means to fight injustice, fear and chaos before returning to Gotham City to become Batman, a bat-masked vigilante hailed as the city's "Dark Knight”.
  • Selina Kyle / Catwoman
    • Selina Kyle is a world-class cat burglar and mistress of disguise in search of a fresh start. She’s cunning, devious, and cynical, but has a deep sense of honour.
  • Det. Grayson
    • Richard Grayson is a young detective hailing Gotham’s sister city, Bludhaven, who becomes an ally to Batman.
  • Commissioner Gordon
    • Jim Gordon is one of the few honest cops in Gotham City and an ally to Batman.
  • Alfred Pennyworth
    • Alfred is Bruce Wayne's butler and trusted family friend. He aids Batman in fighting Gotham's criminals.
  • Lucius Fox
    • Lucius Fox is a weapons expert and a high-ranking member of Wayne Enterprises.
  • Dr Hugo Strange
    • A brilliant but insane psychologist and scientist who is driven by an obsession of the Dark Knight.
  • The Joker
    • The Joker is a psychotic and demented anarchist mastermind presenting himself as an "agent of chaos", who rose to dominant power in the criminal underworld by thrusting Gotham City into civil disorder and drawing Batman ever closer to crossing the fine line between heroism and vigilantism.
  • Talia al Ghul
    • The daughter of Ra's al Ghul and heir to the League of Shadows. Talia plotted Gotham's destruction by financing Dr. Hugo Strange’s schemes.
  • Maxwell Cort
    • A corrupt Gotham City cop on Dr Hugo Strange’s payroll.
  • Dr Harleen Quinzel
    • Dr Quinzel was The Joker’s psychiatrist following Dr Wolper’s demise.
  • Mayor Rupert Thorne
    • Rupert Thorne was an influential city councilman who succeeded Mayor Garcia.
  • Peter Pauling
    • Peter Pauling is the right hand of Mayor Rupert Thorne.
  • Dr Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow
    • Dr Jonathan Crane was a corrupt psycho-pharmacologist working as the chief administrator of Arkham Asylum, who developed a fear-inducing toxin.
  • Sanjay
    • Sanjay is Hugo Strange’s assistant.
  • Arnold Crimp
    • A Schizophrenic man who shot three people in a theatre, the media perceives the murders to be inspired by Batman.
  • Waylon Jones
    • A low-level thug, Waylon Jones was born with a genetic disorder giving him reptile-like features and physicality.
  • Dr Wolper
    • The Joker’s psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum.
  • Jack  Drake
    • Jack Drake is a businessman living in Gotham City.
  • Carrie Kelley
    • A young teenager rescued by Batman.
  • Thomas Wayne
    • Dr Thomas Wayne was a surgeon at the Gotham General Hospital and father of Bruce Wayne.
  • Martha Wayne
    • Martha Wayne was the wife of prominent Gotham City physician Dr Thomas Wayne and mother of Bruce Wayne.

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wolverin88 - 7/31/2018, 7:19 PM
I hate to be this blunt, but this story/plot is awful. On paper this would be a massive downgrade to how grand and epic TDK was.

The Night Scrooge? seriously? The amount of great Batman villains and you are creating them?

Hugo strange dressing up as Batman to understand Batman? makes zero sense and is just corny.

Also not sure why you made a big deal of it Ledger was alive when he isn't even used in your plot.

Sorry man, but this is would be maybe a decent tv episode of Batman but for a blockbuster movie to follow up on TDK? good god no.
AyMan - 8/1/2018, 5:03 AM
This needs to be redone, and I'm not being a dick but I feel like for a first act...nothing is drawing me in. Nothing.

What made TDKR work (or maybe didn't, depending on how you feel) is that took the characters on an emotional roller coaster, and the majority of that emotional roller coaster is within the first act. What I am saying is, when you have a man like STRANGE dress up as Batman in the first act out of "necessity to be his enemy", it makes no sense to us, the readers and thus looks corny. Rather than just say "well he wants to be like his enemy" doesn't really give us a good reason why. Also this idea of putting Cort to be a vigilante, it makes no sense.

I like the villain choice, then again I feel like Strange was not chosen in part of the fact that Bane was a superior choice due to the challenge he presented. Strange, presents a challenge similar to Joker where our hero is presented challenges that not always result in just punching and kicking but also in the idea that Batman had to think on his own. One year later, I feel that Bruce should not be himself, or even Batman for that matter because of the events of TDK. Not saying he gives up, but if we were to actually consider him as a "human" character rather than just go ahead with the idea that "he is always going to be Batman", the character could be fleshed out a lot in the first act.

Good attempt, but I feel like character should always be considered first, because whatever that ONE YEAR LATER is, certainly must affect Bruce in some way and shouldn't be deterred into the second act or maybe the third, because it doesn't reflect it here. There is a lot going on in just the first act, in fact way too much and that none of these characters are given moments to breathe into actual characters.

I know it is a treatment, but it isn't something I fully understand as to "why", why are any of these characters compelled to do what they are doing? Why would Gordon call Grayson from Bludhaven if he has an estranged relationship with his daughter? Why would Strange dress in a Bat-suit, what would dressing up like the enemy gain for someone like Strange? Even then, why introduce the idea of another vigilante? Why is the Crane toxin still involved in some way? Why would Strange want to be like Batman, but make up his own vigilante with a mind control potion? It doesn't gel as to WHY? Or even come up as to why it would make sense for all these events to happen.

Do not take this as someone who is shitting on your work, but it just didn't hook me. Not like I thought it would.
TheManWithoutFear - 8/1/2018, 11:10 AM
I liked this. Plus i like the effort. Nice work.
Awest66 - 8/1/2018, 6:18 PM
Not bad for an alternate TDK sequel. I rather enjoyed reading it.

Happy you kept in Catwoman.
brodie999 - 8/2/2018, 8:28 PM
This is a pretty good idea on what would happen if Health Ledger didn't die. But I was thinking more of The DarK Knight IV with Nightwing and Casey Affleck as the Riddler. So I think it would have been as good as the last 3 Nolan Batman movies.
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