Why Christian Bale turned down a fourth Batman film

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Christian Bale as Batman

Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan’s trio of Dark Knight films is still widely regarded as the greatest trilogy in the history of the comic-book genre. 

So it is little surprise then that, after receiving critical acclaim, as well as grossing around $2.5 billion at the box office combined, Nolan and Bale were approached about making a fourth Batman movie.

Bale has now revealed why he turned the chance to return as Bruce Wayne again, insisting that it would have been “overindulgent” to do so. 

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“We never were arrogant to assume that we had an opportunity beyond one film at a time,” Bale recently told the Toronto Sun. “That’s something Chris would always talk about. He’d say, ‘This is it. We’re making one film. That’s all we’ve got’.”

Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises

“Then when they came and said, ‘You want to go make another?’, it was fantastic but we still said, ‘This is it. We will not get another opportunity’. Then they came and they said, ‘OK, let’s do a third one’. Chris had always said to me that if we were fortunate enough to be able to make three we would stop. ‘Let’s walk away after that’, he said.”

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After the success of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, Bale and Nolan were indeed approached about a fourth movie.

Christian Bale in costume as Batman, Tom Hardy as Bane and director Christopher Nolan are seen on the set of "The Dark Knight Rises", 2011 in New York City. (Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)

But Bale refused it by saying, “No. We had to stick to Chris’ dream, which was always to hopefully do a trilogy. Let’s not stretch too far and become overindulgent and go for a fourth.”

Since then Bale has appealed in American Hustle, The Big Short, Hostiles, and Vice, while he can now be seen in Le Mans ’66, which has once again seen Bale touted as a Best Actor contender at the Oscars.