Christian Bale made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut over the 2022 summer in Thor: Love and Thunder, almost a decade after he last donned the Batman suit in The Dark Knight Trilogy. His critically acclaimed take on the villain Gorr the God Butcher was so impressive, it begged comparison to his version of hero Bruce Wayne, which is still a fan favorite out of the many actors who have played him, including Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson.
With Keaton reprising his role in the upcoming The Flash, and Affleck also rumored to be part of the DC multiverse, there are understandably questions about Bale’s chance to see his Dark Knight rebooted. Let’s take a deeper dive into Bale’s Batman legacy and find out if reprising the role is a possibility or just a fantasy, like something out of a comic book. Keep reading, below.
How Many Times Was Christian Bale Batman?
While Keaton made a believer out of skeptics that the character of Batman could be taken seriously, there were still doubts about a dramatic take on the Caped Crusader mythology when Christian signed up for Batman Begins in 2004. “We knew we had to reinvent it,” Christian told The Toronto Sun in 2019. “I literally had people laugh at me when I told them we were doing a new kind of Batman. I think that the reason it worked was first and foremost Chris’ take on it.”
The risk was worth it, as Batman Begins was a huge critical and financial success, which allowed Warner Bros. to greenlight the sequel The Dark Knight. Bale returned for the 2008 blockbuster, this time opposite Heath Ledger’s Joker. Again, gold was struck and Ledger even won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar posthumously, making The Dark Knight the first comic book film to receive a major Academy Award.
Four years later, Bale concluded The Dark Knight Trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises, which also had a star-studded cast in Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon Levitt. The film grossed over $1 billion worldwide and it considered one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Did Christian Bale Do His Own Voice In Batman?
While Bale brought a strong sense of physicality to the role of Batman, he also delivered a distinctive vocal register for the superhero which caused some debate on whether or not it was really his voice. However, an early audition tape shows Bale using the deep tones from the get-go, according to MovieTalk. In it, director Christopher Nolan revealed the voice was always part of Bale’s performance.
“Christian’s voice was a big part of the impression he made in the test,” Nolan said in the video, per the outlet. “He decided that Batman needed to have a different voice than Bruce Wayne; he needed to put on a voice that supported the visual appearance of the character.”
Will He Ever Return As Batman?
Now here’s where it gets tricky. Back in 2019, Bale seemed to suggest there was another film on the table soon after the third one, but he declined because of Nolan. “Chris had always said to me that if we were fortunate to be able to make three we would stop. ‘Let’s walk away after that,’ he said,” Bale explained to The Toronto Sun. “Then when they inevitably came to us and said, ‘How about a No. 4?’ I said, ‘No. We have to stick to Chris’ dream, which was always to, hopefully, do a trilogy. Let’s not stretch too far and become overindulgent and go for a fourth.'” He added with a laugh, “That’s why we, well Chris, stepped away. After that I was informed my services were no longer required.”
However, in June of 2022, Bale appeared to suggest there was never another offer on the table, but that he would still be down for another go at the Caped Crusader. “No. No one’s ever mentioned it to me. No one’s brought it up,” Bale told ScreenRant of a fourth Batman movie. “Occasionally people say to me, ‘Oh, I hear you were approached and offered all this.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s news to me. No one’s ever said that.'”
He went on to say he had a “pact” with Nolan that they would “walk away” if they were lucky enough to make three films. But he added this little nugget that should have fans very hopeful about seeing him in the suit again: “In my mind, it would be something if Chris Nolan ever said to himself, ‘You know what, I’ve got another story to tell.’ And if he wished to tell that story with me, I’d be in.”
Fingers crossed Nolan has another Batman story to tell and Bale will be there to bring it to life!