It’s been known for a good while that The Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
It’s been rumored that TDKR would be the end of that story as well. That rumor is gaining weight. So enjoy these three Batman films while you can, because it’s due for a reboot.
The ever-accurate Batman on Film had a trusted source tell them that Warner Bros. is already planning the next film — or trilogy, they hope.
They believe that The Dark Knight Rises will leave the Batman franchise in much better shape than it was after Batman and Robin. It’ll be in such good shape that people will want more. The “more” would most likely be a reboot.
This is the complete opposite of what a reboot is usually for. Normally, a reboot comes after a franchise has grown stale. Man of Steel after the atrocious Superman Returns for example, or The Amazing Spider-Man after Spiderman 3.
Nolan and Emma Thomas would most likely produce, but they may not have control over choosing a director and tone, like they do with Man of Steel. In fact, Batman on Film’s source says that most director’s worth their salt probably wouldn’t agree to that so Warner Bros. may even grant some creative freedom to the next director.
The problem with comic book-based films is that eventually they must be rebooted. You can’t let them go on forever. The stars will move on, the stories will have villains and stories that aren’t compelling enough and it’ll begin to flounder (see: Superman Returns). Or, studios will get wide-eyed with money and attempt to make them bigger and better and ultimately ruin the franchise (see: Spiderman 3, X-Men III, Batman and Robin).
Also of note: the source mentions that if Man of Steel flops Warner Bros. could opt for a Justice League film instead of rebooting Batman. I’m not quite sure if a Justice League movie would work as well without successfully introducing each character (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, The Flash) but we’ll see, I guess. [Batman on Film]