Yes, Dark Knight Rises is the end
It's an old saying, never say never, but Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale want everyone to know this is the end for their era of Batman.
Yes, it's really too bad they're going to be calling it quits after The Dark Knight Rises (which his theaters July 20), especially considering they saved the franchise. Still, you always want to move forward and try new things, no matter how awesome it would be to devote your life to Batman.
Both Bale and Nolan are a winning combination, and if The Dark Knight Rises delivers, it will be a perfect way to round out the series, so maybe it's best to get out on top. You never know what could come in the future, but as of now, the prospect of Nolan revisiting the caped crusader is an emphatic no.
Indeed, SFX recently asked Emma Thomas, Nolan's wife and producing partner, about whether her husband will even return to the series, and she said, "No. Never. I can't imagine a world in which he would ever want to come back."
As Thomas continued, "At a certain point it's fun to go off and do something different," which Nolan did very successfully with Inception. As GQ reported, the word on the street was Warners let Nolan make, gasp!, an original movie to keep him happy so he'd do the third Batman, much like Paramount reportedly allowed Michael Bay to shoot a smaller flick, Pain and Gain, if he did Transformers 4 in exchange.
Thomas added, "We've spent almost 10 years of our lives making Batman films. He was very excited about this this film, and the story that he'd come up with, but I just cannot imagine that he would get that excited about another version of the same thing.
"The great thing about a trilogy is that it feels like you've got a beginning, a middle and an end. It's just like an extended version of a regular film. Once you get into a fourth film then it's just episodic, and I just can't see him getting excited about making another film where basically you're just wheeling in different villains."
So this should definitely be a good lesson about being in the moment. Let's hope the next Batman rocks the house, and enjoy every minute of it while we're first watching it, because this is indeed the end of the Nolan / Bale era. Of course it will be sad to see it all end, but hopefully Batman will have a dignified exit while he's still on top, because like Johnny Carson said when he finally took his last bow, you simply must know when to get off the stage.