With "The Dark Knight Rises" out in theaters and raking in cash -- the $160.9 million debut for the film was the largest 2D opening of all time -- it's only logical to start thinking about the next chapter in Batman's story. Spin-off chatter has followed Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Selina Kyle, but it seems unlikely that any future films will include director Christopher Nolan or his awesomely assembled cast of Gothamites.

"My time in Gotham, looking after one of the greatest and most enduring figures in pop culture, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a filmmaker could hope for," Nolan wrote in The Art of Making the Dark Knight Trilogy. "I will miss the Batman. I like to think that he’ll miss me, but he’s never been particularly sentimental." (For her part, Hathaway said she'd be interested in a Catwoman movie, but only with the "right people".)

With that in mind, Nolan has some sage advice for whoever replaces him as the mayor of Gotham City.

"When I first met with Paul Levitz of DC Comics prior to 'Batman Begins,' he explained to me clearly that Batman, of all superheroes, has thrived on reinterpretation and almost is strengthened by it. And I'm talking about over the years in the comic books but also in the movie," he told Empire (via JoBlo.com). "So when the time is right, whenever someone does whatever the next iteration of the character is, they simply need to be true to whatever it is they want to see, to what they believe in, not worry too much about what everyone else is telling them it should be."

The end of "The Dark Knight Rises" leaves open the possibility of continuing the franchise in an exciting way, but were that to happen don't expect Nolan to get behind the camera for a fourth time. Not that he's leaving superheros behind all together: Nolan is executive producer on "Man of Steel," the Warner Bros. reboot of Superman that director Zack Snyder is bringing to the screen next summer. Maybe if everyone asked him nicely, he could do something similar for the studio on the next Batman? Fingers crossed?

"The Dark Knight Rises" is out in theaters now. Leave thoughts on who you'd like to see continue the franchise or reboot the character in the comments below.

[via Joblo.com]

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  • Anne Hathaway As Catwoman

  • Christian Bale & Anne Hathaway

  • Tom Hardy As Bane

  • Christian Bale As Batman

  • Tom Hardy as Bane

  • Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate

  • Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Gary Oldman

  • Christian Bale & Michael Caine

  • The Tumbler

  • Tom Hardy & Christian Bale

  • Tom Hardy As Bane

  • Christian Bale

  • Christian Bale

  • Christian Bale

  • Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

  • Christopher Nolan

  • Christopher Nolan

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Christopher Nolan

  • Gary Oldman

  • Morgan Freeman & Christian Bale

  • Morgan Freeman

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Marion Cotillard

  • Nolan, Freeman, Bale

  • Tom Hardy

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Matthew Modine

  • Tom Hardy

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt

  • Michael Caine

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