Why You"ve Never Heard Of The Secret Fourth Movie In The Dark Knight Series

  • Nolan's Dark Knight series introduced a secret fourth movie - Batman: Gotham Knight - an animated anthology set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
  • Different animation styles and studios were used to tell Batman's crime-fighting evolution in Gotham with lesser-known villains like Killer Croc and Deadshot.
  • Despite not being integral to Nolan's trilogy, Batman: Gotham Knight offers a unique perspective on the Caped Crusader's cinematic journey.
Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise - AKA the Dark Knight series - included a fourth DC movie that you have probably never heard of. Nolan's Dark Knight franchise is the most celebrated adaptation of the Caped Crusader in live-action, flipping the script on the campier rendition of the character that preceded it. The live-action trilogy set a new standard that subsequent DC movies would continue, with darker themes and realism being more prevalent in comic book movies than ever before.
While Batman remains one of the most iconic DC characters brought to the big screen, culminating in his most recent live-action outing in Matt Reeves' Batman trilogy, the animated facet of his cinematic career is often overlooked. There are scores of animated movies that star the Caped Crusader in addition to many in which he features as part of an ensemble. While these are typically canonically unrelated to live-action movies, one of these animated outings is a spinoff of Nolan's Dark Knight franchise.
Dark Knight Series In Order
Release Date
Batman Begins
June 17, 2005
Batman: Gotham Knight
July 8, 2008
The Dark Knight
July 18, 2008
The Dark Knight Rises
July 20, 2012
Batman: Gotham Knight Is A Secret Fourth Movie In Nolan's Dark Knight Series Close Batman: Gotham Knight is an animated Japanese-American anthology movie composed of six animated shorts. It was released on July 8, 2008 - just two weeks before The Dark Knight landed in cinemas - and tells the story of Christopher Nolan's Batman in between the events of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. In it, he tackles Gotham's criminal underbelly including villains that would not appear in live-action in Christopher Nolan's universe such as Killer Croc.
Batman: Gotham Knight Short
Notable Characters (Excluding Batman)
Animation Studio
Have I Got a Story for You
The Man in Black
Studio 4°C
James Gordon, Crispus Allen, Sal Maroni
Production I.G
Field Test
Lucius Fox, Sal Maroni
Bee Train
In Darkness Dwells
Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Crispus Allen, James Gordon
Working Through Pain
Studio 4°C
Deadshot, Crispus Allen, James Gordon, Alfred, Tom and Martha Wayne
The six shorts within Batman: Gotham Knight are depicted with different animation styles. All ostensibly follow the same narrative tract, however, as they flesh out Batman's crime-fighting career in the intervening years between his first two cinematic outings. While characters like Killer Croc and Deadshot would later make their live-action debuts in the DCEU (a franchise separate from Nolan's), these animated shorts suggest that the characters are also canon in Nolan's trilogy - though producers stressed that the stories of Batman: Gotham Knight are not integral to viewing the Dark Knight trilogy.
Why Batman: Gotham Knight Is So Different To The Rest Of The Dark Knight Movie Series The obvious difference between the Dark Knight movie series and Batman: Gotham Knight is the medium through which the stories are told. Not only is Batman: Gotham Knight an animation, however, but they are stories told with distinct styles animated by different studios - none of which involve Nolan. This invariably gives the anthology movie a distinct feel from the original live-action Batman movie franchise, bringing a new spin on the character that is canonically the same as Bale's rendition.
Returning Character
Portrayed In Live Action
Voiced in Batman: Gotham Knight
Batman/Bruce Wayne
Christian Bale
Kevin Conroy
Jim Gordon
Gary Oldman
Jim Meskimen
Sal Maroni
Eric Roberts
Rob Paulsen
Scarecrow/Jonathan Crane
Cillian Murphy
Corey Burton
Lucius Fox
Morgan Freeman
Kevin Michael Richardson
Alfred Pennyworth
Michael Cain
David McCallum
Additionally, all returning characters in Batman: Gotham Knight are voiced by entirely different actors. Kevin Conroy, who portrays the titular hero himself, is best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series in the same role, so it's no surprise that he was enlisted for a very similar job in Batman: Gotham Knight. While their salaries aren't common knowledge, however, it can be safely assumed that this new cast of actors was significantly more affordable for the lesser-known installment than the A-listers in Nolan's live-action franchise.
How Batman: Gotham Knight Improves The Overall Nolan Dark Knight Series Close Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Series was acclaimed for its retelling of Batman's origin story and ultimate retirement in the space of three movies. Nonetheless, a fourth movie that helps flesh out Bale's Batman is not to be sniffed at, especially when it involves him going toe-to-toe with more obscure adversaries. In the same vein, the anthology features other characters that have their characters fleshed out similarly.
Despite this, the movie is another example of how animated movies often go overlooked, even in the comic book movie space. It did not receive a cinematic release, which would have hampered its prominence, but managed to rake in $8.5 million through domestic sales (via The Numbers) while earning a healthy 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. With that in mind, Batman: Gotham Knight is well worth a watch for fans of the Dark Knight series.


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