So, anyone wishing to avoid even a possible spoiler about the ending to The Dark Knight Rises, beware of everything to follow, as well as David Letterman in general. For those brave (or crazy) enough to voyage into this emotional whirlwind, we suggest you turn down the volume and shield your screen as an act of courtesy for innocent bystanders. And now, as a great man once said, here... we... GO:
On Thursday night, Letterman welcomed TDKR star Anne Hathaway onto The Late Show to discuss her role in Christopher Nolan's upcoming Batman finale. Letterman, who has already seen an advanced screening of the movie, began to introduce a clip, saying, "This is going to be enormous. This is a huge movie. People say, 'I haven't seen the first three or four,' but that's not necessary. It's not essential to see all previous installations of Batman. I think this is it." And without even taking a breath, Letterman added, "And in the end, Batman is dead."
At this point, Letterman paused and awaited response from his guest, who simply gave him a knowing sneer. Letterman laughed, exclaiming to Hathaway and the crowd, "He's not dead! He ain't dead! Just relax, will ya?" almost as if the notion of Batman dying were ridiculous (perhaps he hasn't spent a lot of time on the Internet lately).
The joke Letterman was playing is a classic: the fake spoiler setup. However, in this case, considering the hotbed of speculation on the matter, Batman surviving is just as much a spoiler as Batman dying. If we're meant to take Letterman's latter statement as fact, then this does present quite a blow to some fans who were expecting, and perhaps hoping, to see Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne lose his life at the end of TDKR, perhaps to have his Dark Knight persona usurped by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character.
Whatever ending Nolan grants his characters will likely be one of merit to the themes he has been illustrating since Batman Begins. Letterman's "spoilers" aren't likely to hurt ticket sales, as the host jokes. This is a movie the world has been waiting to see for four years now — on July 20, we will finally find out if Wayne lives or dies, if Batman continues to survey over Gotham or he calls it quits, if evil does prevail or if good trounces it again.