EDITORIAL: THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY Timeline!

Many have wondered what the correct timeline for Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is. Many have given their theories, others don't care. After searching I've discovered the possible true timeline. Take the jump to find out what it is! WARNING! WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS!

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By yonny616 - 2/23/2014


Hello ComicBookMovie community! It's been a long time since my last editorial on this website. Well this editorial is about the timeline of Christopher Nolan's Batman films. Many have speculated what the timeline of these films are, and how long Christian Bale's Batman was actually Batman. First I will start with the claim, then I'll tell you why I believe this. So, in the words of Bane, "let the games begin".



Claim: Batman Begins was released in 2005 and has many people believing that is the same year the film is set in, but I don't believe that. Batman Begins, not including flashbacks, takes place somewhere between 2002 to 2005. Bruce returns to Gotham in late 2002/early 2003, takes a couple of months getting his "mission" ready, and begins his caped crusade in late 2003 taking down mob boss Carmine Falcone. By early to mid 2004 Batman is investigating the drugs that eventually lead to Scarecrow, and by late 2004/early 2005 Ra's Al Ghul has come to Gotham to finish his mission. Batman Begins ends in 2005 on the night of Bruce Wayne's birthday.

Why: Bruce Wayne was Batman for 5 years before he got the new batsuit in The Dark Knight. How do I know this? In the the book The Dark Knight Manual it says that Bruce Wayne has been Batman for 5 years and that he needed a new suit. Of course I'm paraphrasing, but it does say he has been Batman for 5 years as clear as day.



Claim: The Dark Knight was released in 2008, and the film is indeed set in 2008. Mid 2008, with it ending in late 2008 to be exact.

Why: As said previously, Bruce Wayne had been Batman for 5 years until he needed the new batsuit. If my last claim is correct Batman's crusade began in 2003, add 5 years to that and it's 2008. Also the photo of the Joker that Jim Gordon holds up to Batman after the bank hiest has the date marked July 2008, the exact date was hard to tell but looked like it was 17. That's not all either. In Batman Begins we get a glimps of Jim Gordon's son. It's the scene where Gordon speaks to Batman before Batman interrogates Flass. We see Jim's wife, Barbara, feeding a child that looks 3 or 4 through the window and in The Dark Knight Gordon's son looks 8 or 9.



Claim: My claim here will be different. The Dark Knight Rises was released in 2012. The film itself is set 8 years after The Dark Knight. It is late 2016, same night of the last confirmed Batman sighting, with the film ending somwhere in early 2017 since Bruce Wanye was in the pit for 6 months and it was winter by the end of the film. Here's my claim: The Batman was still, in some way, active between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

Why: Well for starters they tell us it's been 8 years since the last confirmed sighting of the Batman, keyword: "confirmed". You might be thinking that I'm grasping at straws, but keep reading. Gordon knew the truth, and with the Dent Act there must have been somekind of "war" between Gotham police and orginized crime. If Batman did help, he must've done it from the shadows. Gathering information, interrogating criminals, and giving it to Gordon. Also when Bruce goes down to the batcave, after Selina Kyle steals the pearls, Alfred says that Bruce hadn't been down there in a long time. If Bruce quit being Batman immediately after The Dark Knight, then I believe Alfred would have said something along the lines of: "So you've decided to finally use you batcave".



So in conclusion, the timeline of Christopher Nolan's Batman films start at 2002 and end at 2017. Bruce has been Batman far longer than people actually believe. 5 years between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, as opposed to the generally believed 1 year. Also since the last "confirmed" sighting of the batman was 8 years before The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce could have still been active as Batman for, at least, another 5 years. This gives Nolan's Batman 10 years of crime fighting. This also explains why his body by The Dark Knight Rises is a total mess.

So what do you guys and gals think? Do you agree with me or do you believe I'm wrong? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time ComicBookMovie!
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ComicBookConnections - 2/23/2014, 8:13 PM
good article...from a movie standpoint I loved the movies...but from a comic reader standpoint...i hated the movies...

#BENWILLBETHEBESTBAT
ALmazing - 2/23/2014, 8:15 PM
I think your timeline is wrong, Bruce was away for 5 years training, when he returned to Gotham the events of BB were just a couple of weeks at most. the timeline between BB and TDK is 1 year, and between TDK and TDKR was 8 years.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:24 PM
Yeah, I'd have to agree with AnnoDomini on this. You obviously put a lot of thought into this, but tie-in novels and other promotional materials that appear alongside movies VERY rarely are considered canon.

Plus, The Joker clearly states "Wind the clocks back a year..." and goes on to accurately describe life in Gotham as we saw in Batman Begins. So roughly a year passes between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight takes place over several months to a year, then The Dark Knight Rises takes place 8 years later.

One thing I will say, though, is that Bruce has been actively training and fighting to become Batman for several years. Bruce leaves Gotham in Batman Begins for 7 years, in which time he's thrown into the Bhutanese prison, discovered by Ra's al Ghul, trained, destroys the League of Shadows monastery, and returns to Gotham. Add to that the year of crime-fighting we never see between movies, and then the physical toll of getting shot, stabbed, bitten (all of this happens several times, mind you), and falling from a height of a few stories, and then becoming a recluse for almost 8 years...and it makes perfect sense why Bruce is in the shape he's in at the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 8:25 PM
@ALmight No, they said Bruce was gone for 7 year, that includes his time with Ra's.

@Anno Has Nolan ever said how long it has been between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight? No. Also who said Dent couldn't have been elected by 2005? After all, I said Batman Begins could have ended in late 2004 or early 2005.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:28 PM
And while I wouldn't say there's concrete evidence that Batman has been active between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce certainly has been. He doesn't immediately become a recluse after the end of The Dark Knight. He stays active long enough to build a business relationship/investment with Miranda Tate, construct the nuclear reactor, and then watch the business plan fall apart, causing him to become so disillusioned that he finally retreats from public life and stays shut in at the rebuilt Wayne Manor.

So perhaps since Bruce was up and running around for some time after the events of The Dark Knight, maybe it isn't too much of a leap to surmise that he stays active in his role as Batman as well. Again, nothing concrete there, but it's certainly possible.
ALmazing - 2/23/2014, 8:31 PM
@yonny616-I stand corrected, Bruce trained for 7 years. But everything else I stated is correct.
BubSnikt - 2/23/2014, 8:31 PM
Joker left his calling card at the end of BB. So we are supposed to believe that Batman was trying to chase Joker around for 5 years without them ever even encountering?
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 8:35 PM
@Annoi Who said he was saying that's how long it had been between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. You do know that getting Gotham from where it was in Batman Begins to where it was in The Dark Knight does take more than one year. Taking out the corrupt takes time, becoming a legend takes time. He said that the year before cops and lawyers wouldn't cross them, not that once Batman showed up a year ago, you all got scared. They lost their control of the fear they used to run the city.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:35 PM
I'd probably agree with that Anno. It makes sense that they'd keep referring to the end scene of The Dark Knight as the last confirmed sighting, just because of how high-profile of an event that was: Gordon's family kidnapped, Dent killed, hundreds of officers and police dogs swarming the area...I'm sure that after that, Bruce would take EXTRA precautions that Batman would never be seen by the authorities again (at least, until The Dark Knight Rises when he finally returns and chases down Bane).

So yeah, that definitely leaves it open for Bruce to continue some covert, Batman-style crime-fighting without ever being noticed by the general public, until the Dent Act gained full steam and gradually whittled down the crime in Gotham until it was basically nothing and he could hang up the mask.
ALmazing - 2/23/2014, 8:35 PM
"Let's wind the clocks back a year. These cops and lawyers wouldn't dare cross any of you. I mean, what happened? Did your balls drop off?"

yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 8:37 PM
@BubSknikt Or maybe Batman and Gordon weren't paying attention to Joker. Batman does say "one man or the entire mob, he can wait" when he robbed the bank.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:39 PM
@yonny, I hear what you're saying, but good movies rarely ever make things like that so convoluted. When characters mention the timeframe of certain events, 9 times out of 10 it should be taken at face-value. Why confuse audiences with even more details when it'd just be easier to interpret it as "1 year is the time that passes between the last movie and this one"? There's so much other stuff going on in that scene, it hardly seems fair that Nolan would throw in that line and NOT have it mean what it seems to mean.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 8:41 PM
@Saurons This is Nolan we're talking about. He gave us Memento, which to this day is confusing for me and people I know that watched couldn't follow it. Along with giving us that ending for Inception which did confuse a lot of the general audience.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:45 PM
True yonny...but The Dark Knight isn't exactly Momento or Inception. There's hardly any ambiguity or purposely confusing elements in the entire trilogy, with the exception of how Batman survives the blast at the end of The Dark Knight. It makes no sense that Nolan would choose to make that ONE line by the Joker into this overly-convoluted, tricky, deceiving line in order to fool the audience. It makes no sense when you look at the context of that scene, the movie, and the trilogy as a whole. It's much easier, and much more believable, to just take it at face-value.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 8:47 PM
@Anno Well for starters the city isn't as corrupt. Remember, originzed crime ruled with fear, the mob bosses were scary, until something scarier came along: Batman. Just because one mob boss goes down, doesn't mean all will quake with fear. To make all the mob bosses start having meetings isn't something that can be done in one year.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:50 PM
The city isn't as corrupt in The Dark Knight? The whole movie is about corruption. There's corruption in the police force, in Gordon's unit, in Dent's office, in the Mayor's office...none of that is all that different from Batman Begins. That was the whole point to having Wertz and Ramirez betray Dent and random cops and citizens trying to kill Reese. So no, I'm not sure things are so different between both movies. It certainly is no leap to imagine just 1 year passing between the two.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:51 PM
Anddd Anno pretty much just said my entire comment anyways haha.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:53 PM
I agree man, the Nolan brothers don't put things in their scripts without a reason. It's calculated, well thought-out, and revised and revised and revised.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 8:53 PM
@Anno The reason why they spoke on TDKRises was because everyone kept asking him about the ending. Chris also commented on the ending of Inception.

@Saurons Who said he was trying to make it convuluted? Maybe people misunderstood the line.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 8:54 PM
Well, it might not have ever been confirmed but the big giveaway is the fact that the mob never knew about the marked bills used to track down their money until Dent and his office got involved, as Gordon said. It's been a while since I last saw it, but I don't think there's really any other explanation.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 9:01 PM
@Anno, I really like your comment about the police army in The Dark Knight Rises, I never thought of it that way.

But yeah, same here. Every time I rewatch that movie I catch things I never noticed before. Definitely a sign of a really greay movie, IMO.

@yonny, That's exactly my point. Nolan WASN'T trying to make that convoluted. And I'm not sure that many people misunderstood it, because I'm pretty sure it's generally accepted that the Joker was referring to the roughly 1 year that passes between movies.

The only way that line could be interpreted as being convoluted is if we go along with your timeline. If your timeline is correct, then Nolan purposely included a misleading line that, when taken at face-value, isn't correct. That's pretty much the definition of convoluted. And that's exactly why I don't really buy that theory.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 9:02 PM
@Anno You see a cop shoot down the DA in Batman Begins, Falcone getting his thugs out of jail with the help of Crane who is in a medical institution. Flass helping out Falcone. In the beginning of the film Falcone tells Bruce that there was a judge and some other government officials and that he'd be able to kill him without problem. Gordon even says that in a town this bad there'd be no one to rat to. Just because the never show all the mob bosses doesn't mean its less corrupt.

@Sauron Citizens and Cops trying to kill Reese was Joker making the people desperate. He just said he'd blow up a hospital, and they more likely believed him since he did kill a lot of people to get Batman unmasked.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 9:03 PM
Haha I second comment! I'm seriously tempted to watch all 3 movies in one sitting too.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 9:05 PM
@yonny, Getting cops to abandon their duty and seek to actually murder an innocent, unarmed citizen is textbook corruption. The fact that the Joker threatened to blow up a hospital isn't an excuse for them to do that and NOT have it labeled as corruption.

And one can argue that the citizens seeking to kill Reese is an example of moral corruption, which is also a pretty heavy-duty theme in the movie as well. The climax of the movie dealt with the moral corruption of Gotham's citizens, in the example on the ferries.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 9:10 PM
@Anno @Saurons I watched the Dark Knight Trilogy in one sitting, pretty much what inspired me to do this editorial. :P

@Sauron Yes it is corruption, but like you said, it's more moral corruption since. Even then Joker fails to corrupt the people on the boats.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 9:17 PM
@Anno How? One of the main themes in the dark knight is corruption. Also I never said it was a huge decrease in corruption, but I'm still sticking to it being less corrupt than Gotham in BB.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 9:27 PM
@Anno One of BB's main themes was corruption as well. That's the whole point why Bruce becomes Batman. That's the reason why Ra's want to destroy Gotham. The corruption in Gotham. In TDK Joker and mob bosses want to return that corruption. Well I've always seen it like that.
SauronsBANE - 2/23/2014, 9:28 PM
Man I wish I didn't have to get up early tomorrow, otherwise I'd literally stay here and debate this all night haha. I'll check back tomorrow morning or afternoon to see how this ends up, later guys!
MightyZeus - 2/23/2014, 9:31 PM
I really love Nolan's take on the Batman and his mythos. You've established a well thought out and consisive article and articulated from the evidence from the Batman films and placed them in order to provide better understanding of the timeline and the three films. So just for the amount of work put into the article i'll give you a thumbs up, so good work indeed.

yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 9:35 PM
@Saurons See you! Thanks for reading!

@Zeus Thanks for the support. Much appreciated!
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 9:38 PM
@Anno Yeah I know what you mean, anyways thanks for support and nice discussion.
MrSotoMan - 2/23/2014, 9:46 PM
Will discuss this further in the morning. I am too tired to debate, but will say that this that thought put into this, means that timeline in the movie was ignored due to increasing awareness that Batman has been Batman for such a long time.
MrSotoMan - 2/23/2014, 9:58 PM
In short, I can say that the timeline is a plot-hole within itself. If Begins does take place in 2005, and TDK is set one year later, then the year would be 2008, so that would mean in 2007 is when Batman first came into the limelight in Gotham. Then again Begins has no set time-line on when exact events happen, so in short the only time-line to follow is TDK or TDKR. If we really wanna follow Begins, then Begins began in 2007, which means 8 years later from 2008 it would be 2016 still since it's like Spring when the movie begins, so your looking at roughly in November 2016 is when Batman's legend ends.

The overall timeline is confusing if you look at the years due to the fact that Begins and TDK are far apart from each other from a 3 year span, but logically in the movie it makes sense if in 2000 is when Bruce vanished off the face of the Earth instead of in the late 90's.

That's how I have looked at it, but it is ignorable cause honestly the movies don't really look at the year and time we need to establish what happens like a subtitle letting us know what year, setting and time of day it is like some other movies do.
MrSotoMan - 2/23/2014, 9:59 PM
Good night, talk in the morning.
DatNerdyKid - 2/23/2014, 10:01 PM
Most of what I have to say has already been said but...oh well. Tie-in novels and information books (such as your 'Dark Knight Manual') are indeed rarely considered canon unless it is EXPLICITLY CONFIRMED, which puts your '5 years' theory in jeopardy. The 'Gotham Tonight' virals (I think that's what they were called) I would consider much more likely to be canon, due to the inclusion of actual actors and the fact it ties right into TDK. These specifically highlight the election of Harvey Dent as 'Election 08', therefore the film would be taking place in 2008. These virals also touched upon Jonathan Crane's escape from Arkham, implying a short time period between BB and TDK.
Aside from the Joker's "Let's wind the clocks back...a year" line in TDK which essentially confirms the timeframe, let's think logically for a second. Wayne Manor appears far from rebuilt, and yet time was necessary to create the 'Batbunker'. After some initial power struggle, it would not take long for Maroni to rise to lead the Falcone crime family and assert his dominance. There is still much mystery surrounding Batman, as indicated by the near-opening scene in the MCU. Rachel would need some time to get over Bruce, but enough time in order to begin properly dating Harvey and for Harvey to feel confident enough in asking her to marry him. The initial BB Batsuit was, for all intents and purposes, a 'draft design'-something needed fairly immediately, with not much time for field testing. Thus, it would not need to be the prime example of functionality and effectiveness, but it would merely need to 'do'.
Do you really think it would take 5 years for Bruce to figure out his Batsuit isn't really that...good? That he needs to be able to turn his head and have better, armoured protection? Didn't think so. I think he'd find that out fairly quickly in his escapades. Also, Crane would need a bit of time to establish a drug-running operation, but not long. So, with all things considered, I would say we have two options: the Joker made a HUGE understatement with 'back a year...', and it would have been longer, or the GHOST of Ra's made an exaggeration in TDKR by saying that Bruce spent 'years' fighting the criminals of Gotham. I am heavily inclined to choose the latter. Maybe he meant spiritually, as Bruce's training with the League prepared him to fight his own home-grown demons; perhaps Bruce did some very low-key Batman-ish things after the end of TDK, because he just couldn't leave the job; or maybe he's just a ghost, and gets stuff wrong.
So in conclusion, I concretely believe that 8 years exists between the end of TDK and the beginning of TDKR, and about 10-14 months takes place between BB and TDK (the Joker could have understated a tad, and I am uncertain how impulsive Harvey's desire for marriage was.) Salut to you all.
yonny616 - 2/23/2014, 10:07 PM
@Soto Many believe if Begins is set in 2005 and TDK is set in 2006. Thanks for the support.
JorEllinator - 2/24/2014, 2:13 AM
Nice article, clears up some up the problems I have with the trilogy. I also think that Bruce was active somewhere within the 8 years between the movies. In TDKR Bruce is heavily injured and has no cartilage in his knee. Sure, the damage that he took in TDK was bad, but it's not bad enough to basically scrapple him. He was shot but his armour took that, and he fell but he fell on his back and the armour had to have taken some of the fall. I think that he WAS active as like you said, he didn't have the bat cave in TDK and there would be no point in having it if he wasn't active. Also, only the public, like the mayor and the cops say eight years, Bruce, Alfred and maybe Gordon don't say that, leaving it up to us if he actually DID stay gone for eight years. I think Batman stayed Batman for two or so years after TDK, and realised that things were harder after the police were hunting him and he got the ever loving shit beat out of him, in a Mask of the Phantasm or Year One kind of scene where he got his injuries, the police or maybe Gordon covered this up and Batman quits.
I just want to say how all of the movies have their own colour. Batman Begins is kind of a sepia tone, with a lot of yellows and oranges, showing the corruption and fear. The Dark Knight has more of a blue colour scheme, signifying how dark everything has become, "It was always going to get worse before it got better". The Dark Knight Rises is where it gets better to a point, it's more grey and becomes more white towards the end, showing the daytime more and that's why the climax is in the day, The Dark Knight Rises, the dark night has risen, now it's daytime. It really shows how much thought was put into these movies, and the colour palette kind of shows Bruce Wayne's journey through beginning, falling and rising, this is why I think they should have been called.
The Dark Knight Begins
The Dark Knight Falls
The Dark Knight Rises
Especially because Begins is the only one with Batman in the title. I think it'd be interesting to see someone edit the TDK trilogy into one movie, maybe completely cut Katie Holmes out of the Begins section. Maybe that should be something for a film-school project, "edit this trilogy that has a re-cast and all three movies have a different colour scheme, GO!". I'd watch it.
AC1 - 2/24/2014, 3:20 AM
I don't agree about Batman Begins and The Dark Knight - The Dark Knight Manual may say Bruce has been Batman for five years, but tie-in media like books and fact-files are usually inaccurate. Plus, Bruce is living in his penthouse as opposed to Wayne Manor, which is being rebuilt. The mansion probably would've been rebuilt within that 5 year gap and Bruce would already be living there.

More reliable tie-in media would be the stuff made for the viral marketing campaign, since the filmmakers would probably be involved in some capacity. One of the tie-in videos for The Dark Knight (a GCN report) states that Ra's Al Ghul's attack on the Narrows happened nine months before.

Plus, The Joker himself says to the mob "Let's wind the clocks back a year, none of these cops and lawyers would dare cross any of you" because that was before Batman showed up.

Seeing as TDK is set in mid - late 2008, that would place Batman Begins in 2007.

However, your theories on the 8 years between TDK and TDKR are interesting and very believable. Batman probably would have helped in the war against the mob following the Dent Act before retiring, and this would've also given him a real reason to have equipment in the Batcave (seeing as he didn't actually use it during TDK, and it presumably hadn't been built yet). And, like you said, Alfred also suggests that Bruce has been down there before, so it all adds up.
GliderMan - 2/24/2014, 4:45 AM
*in annoyed wife voice* Well why the [frick] does it matter if it's not gonna be D C C U????

*spits on screen*
BaronZemo - 2/24/2014, 4:58 AM
That image
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