He pretty much said it last year around this time, but upon the aftermath of "Man of Steel" and a possible expanded big screen DC universe, it probably doesn't hurt to remind us that "The Dark Knight" star Christian Bale has indeed hung up the cape and cowl for good.
"We were incredibly fortunate to get to make three [Batman films]. That's enough. Let's not get greedy," said Bale in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "Chris [Nolan] always said he wanted to make it one film at a time. And we ended up sitting there looking at each other, saying 'We're about to make the third.' We never really knew if we were going to get to be there, but if that was how it was going to be, this was where it should end as well."
But Warner Bros. is greedy. They — along with pretty much every other studio out there — want to be like Marvel. As the owners of the movie rights to every single DC comic book property, they want their own army of stand-alone comic book movies featuring individual heroes that lead up to one big superhero mashup — in the DC universe, that's known as "Justice League."
But don't expect Bale to be involved with any of that. In fact, no one's even asked him to reprise his role as Batman in "Justice League."
"I have no information, no knowledge about anything," said Bale. "I've literally not had a conversation with a living soul. I understand that they may be making a 'Justice League' movie, that's it."
This is certainly in line with "The Dark Knight" and "Man of Steel" screenwriter David Goyer's recent comments that the Batman in any "Justice League" movie would indeed be a rebooted character. And that's more than appropriate, according to the former Caped Crusader.
"It's a torch that should be handed from one actor to another," said Bale. "So I enjoy looking forward to what somebody else will come up with."
If they come up with anything at all. "Man of Steel" is flying high at the box office, which has ensured the eventual existence of "Man of Steel 2." However, Superman teaming up with his Super Friends — including Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter — probably won't happen for a while. If WB wants to do this right, they need to take the time and care to do these characters justice (pun intended) — and, ultimately, stories of mega-beings who can control oceans and travel through space and time via a magic ring are a bit trickier to pull off than that of a "man in a can" (as Tony Stark describes himself in "Iron Man Three") and an ultra-patriotic kid from Brooklyn.
Don't take it from us, though — a flying alien who can shoot red beams out his eyes also acknowledges the challenge Warner Bros. has set for itself.
"'Justice League' could be great if done correctly," said "Man of Steel" star Henry Cavill in an interview with ABC News last week. "It's a very tough one to do because the DC comic heroes are all god-like in their power. So in this real-world universe, real-world setting we're telling our story in, it's going to be tough to achieve that. It has to be done very delicately with a lot of thought."
And, in Hollywood, something that requires "a lot of thought" usually takes a lot of time.
"So, it won't be right away," said Cavill. "I hope it's not, anyway. It may take some time of building up other movies and other characters and introducing them together in one way or another."
We'll see where this takes us. The success of "Man of Steel," which has so far grossed over $520 million worldwide, probably has Warner Bros. rarin' to make more DC movies as soon as possible. Hopefully that prioritizing won't result in a bunch of slipshod rush jobs that crush the Justice League underfoot before they've had a chance to save the world — and dominate the box office.