Dark Knight Rises: Is This The End?

Possible spoilers for the third Batman

Ever since The Dark Knight Rises was announced, fan speculation has been rife about how it would be end. Would Batman die to definitively conclude the trilogy? Well, in our huge and utterly comprehensive Batman feature in the new issue of Empire, we have a few pointers. Which may or may not be spoilers, so be warned.

First up, as is only proper, is director Christopher Nolan. "What drew me to Batman in the first place was Bruce Wayne's story, and that he's a real character whose story begins in childhood. He's not a fully formed character like James Bond, so what we're doing is following the journey of this guy from a child who goes through this horrible experience of becoming this extraordinary character. That, for me, became a three-part story. And obviously the third part becomes the ending of the guy's story."

Co-writer Jonathan (Jonah) Nolan adds, "It's the right way to end it - to blow the whole thing up!"

Which sounds like things are going to go badly for the Bat. But then again, that doesn't necessarily mean that Batman's going down (the title, in fact, would suggest the opposite). And star Christian Bale is less emphatic. "My understanding is that this is the last one. I think it's appropriate, I think it's going out at the right time. But...if Chris came to me with a script and said, 'You know what? There is another story' then I would love the challenge of making a fourth one work."

Which would indicate that you can put those Bat-memorial wreaths to one side. The Dark Knight Rises on July 20. Read everything else you could possibly want to know about the film and Nolan's Bat-trilogy in the new issue of Empire, out on Thursday.