If Batman is more than just a man, then surely he's more than just any one actor. That's a belief that Bruce Wayne would sign off on, and it's one that Christian Bale agrees with as well.
Fans holding out hope that Bale might reprise his iconic role for upcoming DC Comics-based feature films — like the oft-rumored "Batman/Superman" team-up flick, or even the more ambitious "Avengers"-style "Justice League" — can stop holding their breaths now: the Oscar-winning actor has made it official that his time in the bat-suit is ending.
"It's a torch that should be handed from one actor to another," Bale told EW.com when asked if he would reprise Batman for the rumored "Justice League" movie. "I enjoy looking forward to what somebody else will come up with."
While Bale's latest comments suggest that letting Batman go was an easy decision, his past remarks tell a different story. When MTV News spoke with the actor ahead of "The Dark Knight Rises," Bale spoke to the hot rumor of that moment: that Batman would die at the end of "Rises." Bale admitted that Bruce Wayne needed to fall hard in order for Christopher Nolan's trilogy to have an impact, but he stopped short of saying he wanted to see the character meet his demise.
"Not from an acting point of view," he said with a smile when asked if Bruce should die. "Not from any desire to never have to act again. I've enjoyed immensely playing the role."
But even then, Bale openly admitted that he was "very intrigued to see another interpretation of [Batman] at this point." He added, "I'd be the first one there to watch."
For a time, it appeared that Bale's "Rises" co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt might be the one to take on the Batman mantle. Rumors ran rampant that his character, Robin John Blake, was set to make a Batman cameo in a future DC Entertainment film, leading the way for an eventual "Justice League" starring role. Gordon-Levitt told MTV News back in January that the rumor was entirely false, saying, "It just goes to show how much you can believe rumors."
With Gordon-Levitt out of the running, attention briefly turned back to Bale. A report from Latino-Review.com stated that the billion-dollar one-two combo-punch of Bale and Nolan would return to the WB fold for "Justice League," Bale as the star and Nolan as producer. But that rumor was shot to sunshine when Jeff Robinov, then the president of Warner Bros., told EW.com that Nolan and Bale were uninvolved with "Justice League."
Now, with today's official word from the man himself, it appears the Bale Batman saga is truly at an end — until the next rumor rises, of course.
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."