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Why Christopher Nolan Almost Didn't Make The Dark Knight After Batman Begins

Christopher Nolan flipped the superhero genre on its head with the grounded, methodical "Batman Begins" in 2005. The director went in an even more inspired direction with its lauded sequel, "The Dark Knight." While speaking with Dax Shepard on the "Armchair Expert" podcast, the filmmaker's brother Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote "The Dark Knight," explained why his sibling was initially hesitant to tackle another Batman flick. "Chris was on the fence about making another one," Jonathan discussed. "I think he didn't want to become a superhero movie director. He was very proud of 'Batman Begins.' 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 one more?'" 

"Batman Begins" was a mature superhero flick that was an inversion of the lighthearted, youth-oriented Batman films from the previous two decades. The Christian Bale-starring origin story was a critical and commercial hit, but Christopher was concerned about being boxed into the genre. Together, the Nolan bros subverted expectations by taking Batman's sophomore story in a grittier direction. "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?" Jonathan said.

"The Dark Knight" went on to gross over a billion dollars and emerge as the duo's biggest hit upon release. Critics were particularly in awe of how the film segued into a different genre, proving that superhero films could be versatile. 

What Christopher and Jonathan Nolan are up to now

It's difficult to imagine a filmmaker other than Christopher Nolan tackling the "Batman Begins" sequel. "The Dark Knight" is filled with scenes that mean more than you think, making it one of the most acclaimed sequels and comic book films of all time. For both Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, the success of the film led to a blank check that allowed them to do whatever they wanted in Hollywood. They followed the sequel up with their trilogy capper "The Dark Knight Rises," which is arguably the best film in the franchise. After "The Dark Knight Rises," the duo definitively left the world of superheroes behind, with Christopher focusing on original, non-franchise fare. 

Christopher Nolan would go on to win his first Oscar for spearheading the 2023 biopic "Oppenheimer," which became a juggernaut at the box office. With his post-"Dark Knight Rises" efforts, Christopher has proven himself as a filmmaker who does more than superhero films. His filmography is vast and diverse, and the director has said he has no plans to direct another superhero project in the future.

Jonathan, meanwhile, has made waves on television, debuting the sci-fi series "Westworld" on HBO. Now, the creative is tackling Prime Video's "Fallout," which is adapted from the hit video game franchise of the same name. For Jonathan, it's a full circle moment, as the "Fallout" video games secretly influenced "The Dark Knight Rises."