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David S. Goyer Says He Had To Tell Christopher Nolan What The Batman Canon Was For 'The Dark Knight' Trilogy

by Kevin Jagernauth
September 25, 2013 11:34 AM
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While Christopher Nolan certainly deserves the praise he's received for taking Batman, and updating the character with a 21st century makeover, and placing the superhero in a gritty, realistic context, perhaps his greatest asset was not being overly familiar with the source material. And thus, he wasn't beholden to any preconceived notions of what "The Dark Knight" trilogy of films could and couldn't be. But with that being said, there were still rules to follow, and Nolan had a little help in setting up that framework.

Heading to London to participate in the the BAFTA And BFI Screenwriters' Lecture, screenwriter David S. Goyer said that, "Chris had never read comic books. He didn't know the world. So he trusted me on that franchise and with Superman to know what was canon: what could be changed and what couldn't be changed." 

"I identified the ten things that remained sticky about Batman and Superman," Goyer added. "Wrote them up and said to Chris 'These are the 10 things that should be in the movie. Like the Ten Commandments. As long as we honour that, we'll be good.' " But the pair took their dedication to staying true to the character one step further, by meeting the very people who make their living thinking up new adventures for Bruce Wayne—the comic book writers behind the cape and cowl.

"We said, 'What do you think should be in a Batman film, and are there any rules that you absolutely would not break?' It sounds simple, but none of the other writers had bothered to do that," Goyer explained. "They dismissed the comic books and their creators. We earned their trust."

But even then, right down to the details, Nolan had questions. "Early in 'Batman Begins' he said 'does he have to have a utility belt?', and I said 'yes'. And he said 'why?' And then he showed me a design and it was all black. And I said 'it has to be yellow', and he said 'oh…,' " Goyer reveals.

So, the lesson in all of this? You don't have to be a diehard fan to do right by a comic book franchise, and it might just help if you have no attachments at all. Food for thought, and as you likely already know, "The Dark Knight Trilogy Ultimate Collector's Edition" is in stores now. [The Guardian via Yahoo!]

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  • Canalus | November 1, 2013 1:04 PMReply

    Why does everyone keep saying that Nolan's Batman is "gritty"? People don't even bleed from gunshot wounds in his movies, how is that gritty? It's all PG-13...

  • Jack | November 17, 2013 9:45 PM

    Agreed, but most of time it is considered gritty compared to classic superheros like spiderman and old Batman

  • Daniel | September 27, 2013 12:16 AMReply

    Good thing super genius David Goyer was around to explain things to that hack Christopher Nolan, eh? I mean, if it wasn't for Goyer, Nolan would have made Batman's belt BLACK. What a maroon!!!!!

  • Bradley Valentine | September 29, 2013 5:06 AM

    Even as it stands you still have people saying Nolan’s take isn’t a true Batman movie. And that’s with Goyer on duty tending to details you imply are irrelevant, for a reason only you understand. No, Goyer isn’t a Nolan level talent, but Nolan is enough of one to know on a film like this those details matter and he needs a guy like Goyer.

  • Snarf | September 26, 2013 4:49 PMReply

    Did part of his screenwriting lecture explain how to take to script from a previously successful movie, change all the names, and use it as a script for another movie? Man of Steel is the same story as Batman Begins with the names changed, a fact that has been well-documented on the internet.

  • Artbuster | September 25, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    DSG is ... "yes BWANA 1...YES BWANA 2. My check. THX!!!!. A new tatoo in my fat finger. "

    PD: BWANA 1 as J. Robinov
    BWANA 2 as C. Nolan.

  • Nick | September 25, 2013 2:57 PMReply

    David Goyer is decent at story outlines and details, terrible at screenwriting and unfortunately a director.

  • Donella | September 25, 2013 1:00 PMReply

    David Goyer is an excellent screenwriter, but an unfortunate director.

  • Dude | September 25, 2013 12:36 PMReply

    Though he directed some entertaining set pieces and shepherded an iconic performance out of Heath Ledger, what Nolan really did was give the *comic book superhero genre* an unbecoming melodramatic self reverence that year to year is becoming even more ridiculous. Is that at all a good thing really?

  • emiliano | September 28, 2013 2:52 PM

    ever made a movie?!

  • Daniel | September 25, 2013 1:52 PM

    He chose a tone for the movies he made. It's not his fault if other people emulate that tone - which isn't as prevalent as you make it sound, by the way. Neither Iron Man 3 or the Avengers, the two highest-grossing superhero flicks of recent memory, we're more melodramatic or self-reverent than the source material required.

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