THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY Writer Jonathan Nolans Reveals The Riddler Was Considered (And Why He Didn't Appear)

THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY Writer Jonathan Nolans Reveals The Riddler Was Considered (And Why He Didn't Appear) THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY Writer Jonathan Nolans Reveals The Riddler Was Considered (And Why He Didn't Appear)

The Dark Knight scribe Jonathan Nolan confirms he considered introducing the Nolanverse's version of The Riddler in The Dark Knight Rises and says Christopher was initially unsure about making a trilogy.

By JoshWilding - Apr 08, 2024 11:04 AM EST
Filed Under: The Dark Knight

Jonathan Nolan wrote The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises alongside his brother, filmmaker Christopher Nolan, and he's since shifted focus to small screen projects like Westworld and Fallout

Talking to Josh Horowitz to promote the latter, Nolan confirmed he had ideas for The Riddler in the trilogy's final chapter. However, he explains that, "It did feel like it was close enough to the space of what we'd done with Heath [Ledger] that you really needed to...shift there."

Nolan would go on to explain that they wanted to make The Dark Knight Rises a "post-apocalyptic" movie, making Bane a better fit for the story being told. 

After The Dark Knight was released, we started hearing rumblings about Leonardo DiCaprio playing The Riddler, something David S. Goyer recently confirmed the studio pushed hard for. That could explain why Jonathan started mulling over ideas for the villain.

In a separate conversation with Dax Shepard, Nolan revealed the extent of his involvement with Batman Begins (the one movie in this trilogy he didn't get a screenwriting credit for) and confirmed Chris wasn't initially keen to return for a sequel. 

"I worked on 'Batman Begins' in this slightly arm's length capacity, but it was the one comic book my brother ever given me as a kid, 'Batman: Year One,' for my fourteenth birthday, and ten years later, I was on the set working with him."

"Chris was on the fence about making another one," he continues. "I think he didn’t want to become a superhero movie director. He was very proud of 'Batman Begins,' but to me, it was like we built this amazing sports car, and I’m like, 'Let’s take it for a drive. Don’t you want to make another one?'" 

"We spent an hour telling the origin story, and that’s great, but it’s like, 'What [more] can we do with this?' Can we take the same characters and shift ever so slightly into a different genre? Can we go from an adventure film to a crime film, to a mob movie, and bring that feeling into it?"

You can hear more from Nolan on his early plans for The Riddler in The Dark Knight Rises in the player below. 

THE DARK KNIGHT Writer Jonathan Nolan Says He'd Absolutely Return To BATMAN Franchise If Opportunity Arises
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THE DARK KNIGHT Writer Jonathan Nolan Says He'd "Absolutely" Return To BATMAN Franchise If Opportunity Arises

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PapaSpank54
PapaSpank54 - 4/8/2024, 11:26 AM
Begins [frick]s pretty hard. Great Batman stuff in there.
Vigor
Vigor - 4/8/2024, 11:26 AM
Leonardo would make a killer Riddler!!
TheVisionary25
TheVisionary25 - 4/8/2024, 11:33 AM
@Vigor - he would have.

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I think if Joseph Gordon Levitt could have worked too.
EgoEgor
EgoEgor - 4/8/2024, 11:29 AM
Riddles is probably the hardest villain to write. Could see the parallel with Heaths Joker, but I also don't blame them for shifting to Bane who gives him a much different type of challenge.
McMurdo
McMurdo - 4/8/2024, 11:29 AM
The golden years
TheVisionary25
TheVisionary25 - 4/8/2024, 11:31 AM
Makes sense imo.

Even though TDKR is flawed and my least favorite of the 3 , Bane was the right choice imo and Hardy’s take on it is iconic now (still wish he was the main villain)…

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Plus I’m fine with the Riddler we got recently , I liked him for the most part (especially being a dark mirror to Bruce in that).
Th3Batman
Th3Batman - 4/8/2024, 11:34 AM
People tend to underestimate the importance of Begins due to the massive success of TDK and TDKR, but without that first movie, we may still be talking about Batman & Robin.
RolandD
RolandD - 4/8/2024, 2:53 PM
@Th3Batman - Begins is awesome and works better as pure Batman movie. The Dark Knight is a better movie but Ledger’s Joker steals more than just money, he steals the show.
Doomsday8888
Doomsday8888 - 4/8/2024, 11:53 AM
Wise as always.
MCUKnight11
MCUKnight11 - 4/8/2024, 11:58 AM
Feel like that would've been better. Bane falls into the territory of being fantastical. Other grounded villains like Black mask, Hugo strange, and Penguin could've worked well too.
TheVisionary25
TheVisionary25 - 4/8/2024, 12:07 PM
@MCUKnight11 - I still think this more grounded interpretation worked

Strange could have been interesting , almost a psychological thriller which I hope we get with Reeves

However , the others you mentioned woukd have been too close to the mob/crime genre that TDK did and they didn’t want to just repeat.
Matchesz
Matchesz - 4/8/2024, 11:59 AM
Dark Knight Rises didnt have to be a post apocalyptic story.. it was only the third movie. If Ledger never died I swear we’d have an amazing 6 part series
Th3Batman
Th3Batman - 4/8/2024, 12:10 PM
@Matchesz - Christian Bale said he and Nolan decided very early on that they'd only make 3 movies. It's better to leave when you're on top than to become the next Batman & Robin. Had Batman Forever been the final part in those original movies, that series would be viewed so much more positively today than it actually is.
Nightwing1015
Nightwing1015 - 4/8/2024, 2:37 PM
@Matchesz - I don’t think there would have been more Dark Knight films but I do think Ledger probably would’ve played Joker in the DCEU, or maybe his own movie.
RolandD
RolandD - 4/8/2024, 2:56 PM
@Nightwing1015 - I don’t think either would have happened but I could see Ledger being in Rises much like the Calendar Man in The Long Halloween or the Joker in The Batman.
Awest66
Awest66 - 4/8/2024, 9:29 PM
@Matchesz - Nolan would have wanted to movie on with his career regardless of whether or not Ledger had lived.

The clown did everything he needed to do in TDK anyways, There was no real reason to bring him back.
Se4M4NSt4ine
Se4M4NSt4ine - 4/8/2024, 11:59 AM
I could see an alternative third Nolan movie involving the Riddler play out pretty similar to what we got in The Batman. And I don’t even care if he’s used in the same way Joker was in TDK.

After years of peace in Gotham - the Riddler (knowing the truth of Dent) starts a killing spree of those involved in the corruption. Have the same plot of the Wayne family being shady, have us look at Begins in a different light.

Riddler keeps killing these people and calling out the Batman, who’s been missing for years just like TDKR, but he gets to the last known person involved and that’s Gordon. When Gordon escapes narrowly, hospitalising himself, Batman finally returns to protect his old friend.

Have him be a legit terrorist professional hacker who exposes the truth, and have the people of Gotham turn on the police and Batman creating chaos and riots. Have Catwoman’s story play out exactly like TDKR.

Have Batman be the scape goat for the law, public enemy number one. With the whole city after him, now he’s older he’s a bit rusty. But he has to play Riddler’s sequence of games, in the end defeating him and tying the TDKR ending and The Batman ending into one, him “sacrificing” himself to inspire the people of Gotham to atone for their own mistakes and be better.

Have Blake in the movie still, just give him more to do alongside Batman in regards to detective work, earning the mantle given to him at the end of the movie.
MCUKnight11
MCUKnight11 - 4/8/2024, 12:00 PM
Weren't there also rumors about Depp as well?
MotherGooseUPus
MotherGooseUPus - 4/8/2024, 12:11 PM
everyone loves Chris, as they should, but man, his brother is a pretty damn good screen writer and doesnt get enough credit, imo
valmic
valmic - 4/8/2024, 12:18 PM
Robin Williams should have been Nolan’s Riddler.
Th3Batman
Th3Batman - 4/8/2024, 12:20 PM
@valmic - He was up for both Riddler and Joker back in the 90s.
ModHaterSLADE
ModHaterSLADE - 4/8/2024, 12:46 PM
Would have loved to see Robin Williams as Riddler, especially after seeing One Hour Photo. He had some good acting range.
Fares
Fares - 4/8/2024, 1:59 PM
Sounds pretty American for a Nolan
Fares
Fares - 4/8/2024, 4:08 PM
@TheVisionary25 - The more you know
marvel72
marvel72 - 4/8/2024, 2:00 PM
A Riddler movie from Nolan could have been great but we will never know.
Baf
Baf - 4/8/2024, 2:13 PM
If your gonna do a cinematic Riddler movie, it should be done in the style of Knives Out but with Batman as the Protagonist.
Nightwing1015
Nightwing1015 - 4/8/2024, 2:39 PM
David Tennant would’ve been a great Riddler in TDKR, fresh off Doctor Who
ObserverIO
ObserverIO - 4/8/2024, 3:31 PM
Nolan was the Riddler.
Origame
Origame - 4/8/2024, 4:03 PM
Jonathan nolans?
SummersEssex
SummersEssex - 4/8/2024, 11:19 PM
They totally dropped the ball with Rises. Great concepts and characters, but story elements were out of sync and wacky.
CompanyMan
CompanyMan - 4/9/2024, 7:25 AM
Too late but as long as we're dreaming I wanted Andrew Scott to be riddler after his Moriarty arc in Sherlock.
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