With Interstellar from director Christopher Nolan premiering this Friday, early reviews are calling the film the auteur’s most ambitious project yet. With a laundry list of phenomenal works on his resume—including the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception—that bit of early praise is saying something. With all of the clamor in anticipation of his latest work, though, it might be easy to forget that Nolan was pegged by Warner Bros. to be the guiding force behind the film studios’ efforts to create a superhero movie universe to rival that of Marvel. However, despite the WB’s drive to butt up against the Marvel film juggernaut, don’t expect Nolan to follow Marvel Studios’ movie-making blueprint, at least where post-credit scenes are concerned.
As reported by The Guardian, Warner Bros. tried desperately to get Nolan to put in a post-credit scene at the end of director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, a clip hinting at what is to come concerning the expansion of the DC cinematic universe. While the WB has hinted that it will take a different route than Marvel Studios in establishing its own superhero universe for the silver screen, the studio clearly wanted to keep future moviegoers on the hook in expectation of future films. However, Nolan, who has in the past said that he feels a complete movie should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, contended that “a real movie wouldn’t do that”; that is, add a post-credit scene.
I suppose I see his point. From the type of filmmaking sensibility from which Nolan clearly operates, it’s understandable that he would want to create movies that stand on their own merits. Still, I have to go back to the Dark Knight trilogy, one of my favorite superhero franchises of all time. Watched together, the three films make a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. However, I would contend that, taken separately, the only film that stands on its own is Batman Begins, my least favorite of the three. My point? While I understand his perspective, sequels aren’t exactly standalone movies that hold on their own merits. As such, Nolan’s contention that putting a post-credit tag at the end of a film runs counter to making a complete work seems weak. Further, if he and the WB really want to draw in Marvel Studios-size audiences, I feel like they need to play the game and use whatever tricks they have at their disposal to tantalize moviegoers between films.