How Writer’s Block for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Led to Christopher Nolan Producing ‘Man of Steel’

The Batman project The Dark Knight Rises was written as the caped crusader’s sendoff in Christopher Nolan’s beloved trilogy.

But although it was the end of Batman’s journey, it marked the beginning of Superman’s in Man of Steel.

Christopher Nolan had help from screenwriter David S. Goyer for his Batman trilogy

Christopher Nolan | Toni Anne Barson/FilmMagic

As is the case with most superhero movies, Nolan didn’t build his Dark Knight franchise alone. The acclaimed director sought help from screenwriter David S. Goyer to nail his Batman films.

Goyer helped co-write Nolan’s Batman Begins, and helped come up with the story for The Dark Knight and Rises. The screenwriter proved instrumental as Nolan’s right-hand man thanks to his knowledge of Batman’s mythology.

“Chris had never read comic books. He didn’t know the world. So he trusted me on that franchise and with Superman to know what was canon: what could be changed and what couldn’t be changed,” Goyer once said on BAFTA And BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture (via IndieWire).

Goyer created a list of rules that both Batman and Superman had to follow when translating them into live-action.

“I identified the ten things that remained sticky about Batman and Superman,” Goyer added. “Wrote them up and said to Chris, ‘These are the 10 things that should be in the movie. Like the Ten Commandments. As long as we honour that, we’ll be good.’”

How writer’s block for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ led to ‘Man of Steel’

” src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>

At one point, developing Rises proved to be a frustrating task for both Nolan and Goyer. The two ran into a little trouble getting over a plot point in the third Batman movie. Because of this, both filmmakers decided to temporarily walk away from the story.

“Chris and I were working on The Dark Knight Rises, working on the story, and we were blocked. We agreed to part ways for a couple of weeks and just see if something had bubbled at the surface,” Goyer once said in an interview with Collider.

While trying to figure out his story, Goyer spent his downtime reading comic books. But although it did little to help with his writer’s block for Rises, this gave way to another idea.

“I was wasting time and procrastinating and took out an archive edition of some of the original Superman comic books, action comic books and started re-reading them because I couldn’t figure out this plot point on Dark Knight Rises. I just randomly sat down one afternoon and wrote up some ideas for Superman,” Goyer continued.

Goyer would eventually share his Superman ideas with Nolan, who was immediately invested in the potential project.

“So I told him and he literally called Jeff Robinov, who’s the head of Warner Bros, while I was sitting there and said, ‘Jeff, Dave just told me this take on Superman and you need to hear it. I’d like to produce it. Can we come in?’ And we went in the next day,” Goyer said.

This led to Nolan producing Man of Steel, with Goyer writing it and Zack Snyder directing the project.

Why setting up the world in the Batman movies was harder than setting up Superman’s world in ‘Man of Steel’

” src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>

Goyer had a hand in developing both worlds in the Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel. But setting up Batman’s world in the movies came with a certain degree of difficulty that he didn’t experience with Superman.

“It was harder with Batman because it’s harder to top yourself,” Goyer told Den of Geek in a 2013 interview. “You can tell the origin story, but then what? Even within Gotham… if you think about it, Batman – apart from the one moment where he goes to Hong Kong – he exists in this little pocket. So you don’t have to deal with the broader geo-political issues of the world.”

Superman’s access to a broader environment in Man of Steel, however, presented its own fair share of challenges.

“But Superman, because he can fly all over the world and could possibly turn up in Syria, or the Horn Of Africa, we are going to have to deal with these issues moving forward,” Goyer said.

RELATED: Christian Bale Was Disappointed by His Performance in ‘The Dark Knight’ Because Heath Ledger ‘Completely Ruined All My Plans’