Exploring John Blake: The Dark Knight Rises’ Boy Wonder

Christopher Nolan frequently said we would never see Robin in his Batman trilogy, so it came as a huge surprise to everyone when the final few minutes of The Dark Knight Rises introduced us to the visionary director’s take on the iconic DC character. Of course, John Blake was arguably a mash-up of all the Robin’s (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and to a much lesser extent, Damian Wayne) and someone far more knowledgeable than myself in Batman-lore could probably point out all of the similarities between them and him. Regardless of which qualities Nolan did or did not take from those mentioned above, John Blake was perhaps one of his best creations yet. A relatable and heroic man, it was hard to have any issues at all with him taking over the mantle of the Bat by the end of the film after Bruce Wayne made the ultimate sacrifice (well, sort of).

It helps that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is such an incredible actor. In a year which has also seen him also take on starring roles in films like Premium Rush, Looper and Lincoln, The Dark Knight Rises was his first foray into the superhero genre. The conclusion of the latter led many to speculate about the future of John Blake; would there be a spin-off of some sort featuring him taking over as Batman or was this just Nolan’s way of showing us all what he has said since Batman Begins; that the symbol of the Caped Crusader is more important than who is behind the mask. This week, the news broke that Levitt may be making a return as John Blake/Batman in Warner Bros. long-gestating adaptation of Justice League (their own superhero ensemble set to rival Marvel’s The Avengers as it brings together the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash in one film).

This has of course caused something of an uproar! Having someone other than Bruce Wayne as Batman in Justice League? Surely not! But why? Would it really be that awful to continue the story of John Blake? If Nolan were writing or directing, perhaps some fans wouldn’t be so against the idea, but many seem to be missing the point here. Who’s to say that when we pick up with this new Batman that he isn’t as seasoned as Bruce Wayne was? That he can’t fill the same role that Wayne would? If having Blake (a character I’ve spent most of this article praising – as many others did back in July) as Batman is so “awful”, does this mean that Wally West can’t be The Flash instead of Barry Allen? Does it have to be Hal Jordan instead of Kyle Rayner or John Stewart? The fans complaining now are probably the same ones who complained that Nolan’s Batman wasn’t faithful enough to the comic books. John Blake is arguably the perfect chance to deliver the interpretation that so many fans want. Setting this movie in the same universe created by Nolan, which is likely to also be the one inhabited by Henry Cavill’s Superman in next year’s Man of Steel, is another thing it’s hard to complain about.

Whether or not Joseph Gordon-Levitt will indeed play Batman in the future remains to be seen. For now, it is nothing more than a rumor. However, think about it for a moment and you may just agree that it would be a damn good idea on Warner Bros.’ part – it’s certainly preferable in many ways than yet another reboot. When Dick Grayson became Batman a couple of years ago in DC Comics continuity, it led to some of the most interesting and refreshing stories featuring the character ever. Just think about it! As has already been pointed out above, Christopher Nolan himself recently said that, “Batman was not important as a man, he’s more than that. He’s a symbol, and the symbol lives on.” Well said Mr. Nolan, well said.

The Dark Knight Rises will available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD, and digital download on December 4th. Check out Batman-News.com’s full review here. For more information about The Dark Knight Rises’ Blu-ray, click here.

Josh Wilding writes for ComicBookMovie.com. Follow him on Twitter. Views expressed here are his own.