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The Dark Knight Rises beat sheet speculation

The Dark Knight Rises Script

Originally published on May 7, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises has yet to open, and since I’ve been analyzing Christopher Nolan’s films for a larger project, especially the first two chapters in his Batman trilogy, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I can’t help but speculate about The Dark Knight Rises beat sheet.

I’ve seen a lot of predictions and theories online as to the story, but not any that attempted to break down the entire film or incorporated Nolan’s signature style of complex story structure, using templates like The Dark Knight and Inception. Below, you can download my Full Story Map for The Dark Knight Rises, before I’ve seen the movie.

I’m using a five-act structure which most closely resembles The Dark Knight, as that seems the obvious parallel, plus there’s so much content advanced in the trailers that a four-acter (my normal Story Maps structure) just won’t cut it. Read more

Story Maps Podcast #2: The Dark Knight (Free Story Map download)

Episode #2 of the STORY MAPS SCREENWRITING PODCAST is here: Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT:

Listen to
the Story Maps Screenwriting Podcast #2:
The Dark Knight
:

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Download the FREE
The Dark Knight Story Map
screenplay analysis by Daniel Calvisi

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Building The Dark Knight screenplay

Christian Bale as Batman - The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is an expert example of building an active story around Theme, one of the main dramatic elements in the “Basic Story Map.”

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In a movie, especially a superhero action thriller, there must be HIGH STAKES with SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES. Life or death. Loyalty or betrayal. Love or Duty.

In The Dark Knight, the screenwriters wisely push the story to the extremes of the conflict. To find those extremes, they began with Bruce Wayne/Batman’s character and mythology and used those elements to push him into an impossible situation.

Here are three “essential truths” of Bruce Wayne/Batman:

  • Bruce Wayne has sworn to protect the people of Gotham City.
  • Bruce’s alter-ego Batman is the only thing that can protect them.
  • Bruce’s one rule is not to kill.

The screenwriters will push Bruce into a position where he has only two options:

  1. Give up his identity as Batman and turn himself in to the authorities, or
  2. Kill The Joker.

In other words: an impossible choice.  This is what great drama is built upon.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight.

The glue that holds it together is Theme.

The Theme of The Dark Knight is “Desperation pushes men to act in self-destructive and chaotic ways.”

Read more

The Dark Knight Screenplay Analysis

Christian Bale as Batman - The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is an expert example of building an active story around Theme, one of the main dramatic elements in the “Basic Story Map.”

  • Download the FULL STORY MAP FOR THE DARK NIGHT Here.

In a movie, especially a superhero action thriller, there must be HIGH STAKES with SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES. Life or death. Loyalty or betrayal. Love or Duty.

In The Dark Knight, the screenwriters wisely push the story to the extremes of the conflict. To find those extremes, they began with Bruce Wayne/Batman’s character and mythology and used those elements to push him into an impossible situation.

Here are three “essential truths” of Bruce Wayne/Batman:

  • Bruce Wayne has sworn to protect the people of Gotham City.
  • Bruce’s alter-ego Batman is the only thing that can protect them.
  • Bruce’s one rule is not to kill.

The screenwriters will push Bruce into a position where he has only two options:

  1. Give up his identity as Batman and turn himself in to the authorities, or
  2. Kill The Joker.

In other words: an impossible choice. This is what great drama is built upon.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight.

The glue that holds it together is Theme.

The Theme of The Dark Knight is “Desperation pushes men to act in self-destructive and chaotic ways.”

Read more