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Fans of Batman will be all in this weekend – all in the theater that is – as The Dark Knight Rises concludes Christopher Nolan’s brooding trilogy in what will no doubt be epic fashion. Although the scale and ambition on display may be a sure thing, the precise events that will unfurl on the big screen this Friday are as mysterious and intriguing as ever.
So, being such cool, perspicacious sharks, we’re willing to put all our chips on the table and provide you with some scrupulously calculated odds on the likelihood of events in The Dark Knight Rises. Please, no mob money.
Bruce Wayne Will Die
Sam’s Odds: 12:1 – Splitting it down the middle might be a cop-out, but going into a superhero movie where your hero is just as likely to end up pushing daisies as living to fight another day is pretty unprecedented. The trailers have been playing a lot into the idea of “The Legend” ending, but who's is it, Batman's or Bruce Wayne's? A reminder that he has not yet given "everything" to Gotham
Simon’s Odds: 12:1 – Yes, the legend will end, but would Nolan go so far as to have the original incarnation of Batman take the dirt nap? At first when the thought was posed, people believed it to be insanity, but now there seems to be two very divided camps that have developed: those who have now accepted there is no other way the series could end and those who refuse to accept the death of Mr. Bruce Wayne. Frankly, I have no idea, but won’t be surprised how The Dark Knight Rises concludes one way or another.
Final Odds: 12:1
Bane is Involved With The League of Shadows
Sam’s Odds: 5:1 – So at some point in the movie, Bruce is being forced to repeatedly climb out of a hole. Sound familiar? It's a punishment way too reminiscent of his origins to be coincidental, and what megalomaniacal villain isn't big on irony? So who knew about young Bruce and the well? There was the Wayne family’s housekeeper Alfred, but more importantly, Ra's Al Ghul, the deceased (we think) leader of The League of Shadows. The clandestine ninja academy set out to destroy Gotham in Batman Begins, so perhaps they've passed the torch on to Bane, who, if given The League's vast resources, may finally burn down Gotham.
Simon’s Odds: 2:1 – The only thing I believe to be more likely than Bane being in allegiance with The League is that the masked-terrorist was a member, and was subsequently expelled for his overreaching and distorted ideals. Remember, despite Ra’s Al Ghul’s own warped outlook, he had Gotham's best interests in mind when he laid siege to The Narrows. Bane just wants revenge and the city in ashes. So yes, for the conclusion of the trilogy’s arc and simply the nature of Bane’s tactics, he is certainly involved with The League of Shadows, though not in the capacity of which that covert association would approve.
Final Odds: 3:1
Bane Breaks Batman's Back
Sam’s Odds: 25:1 – This one seems pretty cut and dry. Bane's introduction to the comics was cracking Batman's spine like a glow stick at a rave, and there's visible signs in the trailers of an infirm Bruce. That being said, while Batman is in for a serious ass-kicking at some point, Bane looks more like he wants to break The Dark Knight spiritually than just physically. Besides, the image of Bane directly breaking Batman's back Wrestlemania-style seems cartoonishly over the top for this franchise.
Simon’s Odds: 25:1 – Considering Bane’s arc for this movie was pulled from the “Knightfall” story in the comics, it would be completely feasible for Bane to cripple Batman in some capacity early on. Thankfully, thanks to Two-Face (and their collective tumble off a building in The Dark Knight) it’s pretty clear Bruce Wayne (and his cane) already has an uphill struggle if he wants to regain his vigilante mantle. This makes it overkill for Bane to snap our hero’s spine. I don’t think Batman wheelchair-ing after his foes would make for very good entertainment.
Final Odds: 25:1
Batman Will Kill (Not Arrest) Bane
Simon’s Odds: 40:1 – Batman is not an overtly violent vigilante, he is a righteous one. But will Bane be the villain that will push a masked Bruce Wayne over the edge in desperation? The “Dark Knight” trilogy has already been liberal in its interpretation of the comic books, so for Nolan to break one of The Bat’s golden rules may be pushing things too far. Also remember, one of the defining moments of his assent to the mantle of Batman was his nearly-carried-out assassination of Joe Chill, the failure of which eventually landed him squarely on the side of good. If The Dark Knight Rises’ intent is to make this trilogy come full circle, his morality must remain intact in the darkest times (even though he may be tempted out of sheer hopelessness).
Sam’s Odds: 90:1 – While I think Gotham General is overflowing with goons who will disagree about Batman not being a violent vigilante, it's hard to envision him breaking the one rule he clung so desperately to in The Dark Knight, even against a monster like Bane. Granted, there's no scenario where I see Bane winding up behind bars, and the straight up torture Batman used when battling The Joker last time is a sign that The Bat loosens his limits with the severity of the given threat. Still, the only way I see Batman ending up with permanent blood on his hands is if it entails a quick demise of his own, a prospect that seems too bleak even by Nolan standards.
Final Odds: 60:1
Jim Gordon Will Die — For Real This Time
Simon’s Odds: 7:1 – Unless the trailers have been fooling us, Bane’s intentions seem pretty clear: cause havoc, destroy Gotham and cripple Batman both physically and psychologically. The final straw needed to lure the city’s protector out of self-induced retirement will need to be the demise of a prominent character – a close friend of Wayne. The very first footage we ever saw gave us a bed-ridden Jim Gordon, rasping his pleas for Batman’s return. Something’s got to give and the death of the loyal and steadfast Police Commissioner seems like as probable motive as any to ignite the inferno.
Sam’s Odds: 15:1 – Sure, the first trailer showed Gordon curled up on death's door, and he's certainly closer to the line of fire than other Bat-posse members Lucius Fox and Alfred. Thing is, they already “killed” Gordon in The Dark Knight, only to bring him back later in a twist that was saved from being groan-worthy because you got more Gary Oldman out of it. It's not impossible that Gordon will go down fighting for Gotham, but it's going to have to be one hell of a conclusive death to get audiences believing that the Commish is dead for real this time.
Final Odds: 11:9
Alfred Will Die
Sam’s Odds: 9:1 – Seeing as Warner Bros. is already set on a reboot following “Rises,” about the only safe person this go-round is spin-off-ready Catwoman. Someone's got to go before Batman and Bane have it out in the finale, so what better way to gut-punch the audience and rip out their hearts than by offing the kindly old butler? Alfred promises Bruce "I won't bury you," but can Bruce say the same? If Bane knows Batman's identity, what better place to strike at than the one last link he has to his parents?
Simon’s Odds: 12:1 – The only thing more potent than the death of Jim Gordon would be the demise of Bruce’s last true ally – his last true friend. While the demise of The Commissioner would be crippling to Batman’s vigilantism, the loss of Alfred would be nearly paralyzing. I think you’ve got something, Sam when you make the point of Alfred being unwilling to bury Bruce. He would rather make the big sacrifice than see his surrogate son hurt any more.
Final Odds: 11:9
Catwoman Will Betray Batman
Simon’s Odds: 5:1 – Considering the anti-heroine persona Catwoman embodies in the comics, the fact that she is a thief by trade (and even possibly a member of The League of Shadows) the questions of her betrayal is more a question of when, than if. My money would be on a mid-film sucker punch followed by a cathartic return to Batman’s side in time for the finale. So, however hesitant as I am in believing Nolan will go for what would be the traditional arc, this minx of an individual is not one to be trusted unconditionally.
Sam’s Odds: 3:1 Take that old fable about the scorpion and the frog, change up the animals a bit, and you get an idea of the Catwoman/Batman relationship: one inevitably screws over the other. Selina Kyle definitely gives off the impression that she's gunning for Bruce Wayne, but when she finds out how he spends his evenings, she'll likely have a change of tune. Cat-burgling through a war zone doesn't come with danger pay, so Bane's plans for Gotham would be at odds with the Catwoman's profession of choice. Expect some betrayal, reconciliation and a Bat/Cat team-up before the final credits.
Final Odds: 4:1
John Blake Will Become Batman
Sam’s Odds: 15:1 – In my mind, only Bruce Wayne or Batman will survive this movie, and if it's the latter, someone will have to take up the mantle. Perhaps this is where newcomer John Blake comes in, as his role in the film has been largely kept a secret. Sure, he probably doesn't have all of Bruce's martial arts training, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt sure looks like he's been hitting the gym with purpose.
Simon’s Odds: 15:1 – It’s becoming pretty clear that John Blake is no ordinary cop when it comes to his importance in the plot of The Dark Knight Rises, but to have him assume the identity of The Caped Crusader after being around for just one film may leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans, unless his character really has something to bring to the table. But I fully agree, it’s either Batman or Wayne who won’t find their way out of Bane’s plan and one way or the other, Gotham needs a protector. The Boy Wonder anyone?
Final Odds: 15:1
Miranda Tate is More Than Just A New Love Interest
Simon’s Odds: 3:1 – Something is up with this gal — I’m just not sure what it is. What I am quite certain of is that Ms. Tate is something more than just a Wayne Industries board member. From peeks at her boarding a camouflaged Tumbler in one scene, to her making more-than-friendly with Bruce Wayne in another, there is more to this new addition than meets the eye. A favorite theory swirling about forever is that she is in actuality Talia al Ghul (daughter of Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul), but if this is true, will she arrive in Gotham with intentions of aiding Batman against Bane, or has she sided with the brute in some capacity?
Sam’s Odds: 7:1 – Of Nolan's sore-spots as a director, among the most prominent is that he basically only has women in his movies so that they can die tragically. Since The Dark Knight already killed off Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character, the addition of Marion Cotillard is no doubt to help maintain the requisite levels of romantic side-plottery the franchise has included thus far. But introducing her just as a Rachel Dawes' replacement is way too simple, and Tate's near complete absence from the marketing is a red flag that something about her is worth concealing. It's hard to imagine that this gal is entirely on the up and up.
Final Odds: 5:1
The Film Will Tease Something About the Movie Future of Batman
Simon’s Odds: 25:1 – We’ve seem split instances of Christopher Nolan giving fans an Easter egg to much on. At the end of Batman Begins we got a tease for the Joker, but the finale of The Dark Knight gave us no such clue to a forthcoming villain. Considering Nolan’s steadfast commitment to make The Dark Knight Rises his final foray into the world of the Caped Crusader, it would make sense he will make his third entry a bookend, not open ended.
Sam’s Odds: 90:1 – This is it, the end, the omega, the conclusion of the legend, one final chapter in the Batman saga. With Nolan and Bale shouting from the rooftops that they're done with The Caped Crusader after The Dark Knight Rises, another villain showing up at the end or anything open-ended might as well be followed by Bats shrugging at the camera and saying "I'm getting too old for this shit," before flying off to a chorus of sad trombones and record-scratches. That's not to say that the film won't end with Batman going off to continue fighting crime, but any sort of serious sequel-baiting would come as a real betrayal to the film's finality.
Final Odds: 40:1