Christopher Nolan Calls 'Dark Knight Rises' His Last Batman Film

'We're very much excited about really finishing a trilogy and giving a conclusion to our story,' filmmaker says on Oscars red carpet.

Over nearly 70 years as the World's Greatest Detective, Batman has followed clues, pursued investigations and pounded out confessions from a diverse rogues' gallery as tight-lipped and unresponsive as they come. But never mind the Joker or the Penguin: If the Dark Knight wanted a real challenge, he should try getting information from his director, Christopher Nolan.

The ever-reserved Nolan was predictably and amusingly coy when asked about "The Dark Knight Rises" on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, where the 40-year-old was a double nominee in the categories of Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for "Inception."

We asked Nolan what the theme of "The Dark Knight Rises" would be, with fear such a major subtext in "Batman Begins" and escalation in "The Dark Knight." "Wow, that's a tricky one. I actually don't have an answer for you today," Nolan smiled, having already finished the script for the film, which is set to begin shooting in a few months. "I'm gonna have to really think about that."

When asked about the casting choices of Thomas Hardy for Bane and Anne Hathaway for Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, Nolan replied, "Once you see the film in 2012, you will completely understand why they were the perfect choice for these characters."

On one note, however, Nolan was incredibly emphatic: This will be his last Batman film.

"Yes," he said when asked if he was done with the franchise after "The Dark Knight Rises." "We're very much excited about really finishing a trilogy and giving a conclusion to our story. And that's what we're doing."

Starring a large cast led by newly minted Oscar-winner Christian Bale, "The Dark Knight Rises" is scheduled to open on July 20, 2012.

Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."

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