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D A R K K N I G H T T R I U M P H A N T

LIGHTNING FLASHES. THUNDER RUMBLES. Then BLACK. SCREECHING


cuts through the air. Thousands of bats explode out of the
DARKNESS, rushing towards the screen... WHITE flickers in
the b.g. through the blackness. The bats silhouetted
against the white of the MOON. They form a shape -- THE BAT
SYMBOL. Growing as more bats mass, swamping the symbol,
consuming the moon. Filling the screen with BLACKNESS...
Then –-

OVER CARNIVAL MUSIC... AGAIN DARKNESS. The following is a


quick succession of shots randomly cutting to black:

EXT. GOTHAM FAIR GROUNDS - NIGHT

We hear yelling and screaming. Then BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!


Errant GUNFIRE... Then vociferous cackling. The JOKER.

More screaming and yelling...

EVERYTHING GROWS SILENT... Only the sound of hard breathing


and running. A quick shot of BATMAN in pursuit... trudging,
badly wounded but enduring.

We're in a “TUNNEL OF LOVE” type amusement ride. Dark and


ominous. Knee high water splashes as the foot chase ensues
down a waterway.

Batman hurls himself, lands hard on top of the Joker...


It's blurry, frantic. Indiscernible. A blinding mass of
limbs and fists... Bodies twisting, grappling. We see
glimpses of a scarred mouth and messy clown makeup...
Glimpses of a dark cowl and cloak... Batman grunts... The
Joker giggling and laughing uncontrollably. The struggle
grows more indistinct. Chaotic. Desperate... Then we hear a
vicious snapping sound!

Everything settles and comes into focus. We find Batman


seated, clutching his abdomen, breathing laboriously, on
the verge of blacking out. He looks across at the Joker,
obscured in the shadows. The Joker giggles.

JOKER
Still won't do it, will you? After all
the things I've done...
(laughs)
2

JOKER (cont'd)
... and you snap my neck... like a
pencil...
(laughs)
Oh, so very disappointing.

Batman considers the Joker for a moment.

JOKER (cont’d)
What’s the matter, bat got your tongue?
(laughs; then)
Do I hear sirens? Yes. Coming close.
They’ll crucify you for this, you know.
This time... It’s like I’ve been saying
all along.

Joker winks, starts laughing. Batman struggles to get up.


Joker’s laughing grows louder, more foreboding. Batman
moves quickly now, stumbling and bleeding. Trying to
escape... The sirens echo through the tunnel.

EXT. FAIR GROUNDS – CONTINUOUS

Tires screech, doors fly open. UNIFORMED COPS pour out of


police vehicles.

INT. TUNNEL OF LOVE – MOMENTS LATER

It’s dark as hell inside. Cops approach the Joker’s wrecked


body warily, weapons drawn. Flashlights play across his
wicked grin. Some cops wince at the sight.

JOKER
Oh, he ain’t pretty no more.

The Joker laughs manically. Enough to freeze your blood.

And we FADE to BLACK –-

INT. INTERROGATION ROOM, PEÑA DURO PRISON, SANTA PRISCA –


DAY

We’re in a decrepit, old style prison, dating back a


century or more.

Meet TALIA AL GHUL. Mid-20s. European with a mixture of


Chinese and Arabic. Real beauty hidden beneath all the
3

seriousness and brooding. She’s seated in the center of the


room, flanked by two massive bodyguards.

Barred doors slide open. A guard unchains a prisoner and


motions him inside the room. The prisoner is NESTOR
MENDOZA, a bear of a man, no-age, darkly bearded,
powerfully built. He stands in the shadows a few feet from
Talia.

TALIA
Nestor Mendoza? Or is it Bane?

No response from Nestor/Bane. Talia rises, steps closer.

TALIA (cont’d)
Do you know who I am?

Again no response.

TALIA (cont’d)
My name is Talia. You knew my father.
Ra’s Al Ghul?

Bane reacts to the name.

TALIA (cont’d)
You were his student once. Groomed to
lead. Destined to conquer...
(re: prison)
But then you ended up here.

A beat to digest this. Talia slowly paces forward.

TALIA (cont’d)
My father is now dead. He was murdered.
I need your help getting the man
responsible.

Bane raises an eyebrow.

BANE
And who may that be?

They stand eye-to-eye. Hold.

TALIA
Batman.
4

INT. APARTMENT – BEDROOM – MORNING

EYES SNAP OPEN. They belong to Bruce Wayne. He sits up,


looks down at the sleeping body beside him... Meet SELINA
KYLE, early 30s, exotic, her body is equal parts muscle and
sensuality.

INT. APARTMENT – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

Bruce stands, shirt unbuttoned, in front of the small


kitchen TV tuned to the news. SUPER ON TV reads:

“Batman: Vigilantism at its Deadliest.”

During this Bruce notices a BLACK CAT leap onto the window
sill. The cat holds his gaze for a beat. An almost evil
stare. Then it HISSES, arching its back.

A hand lands on Bruce’s shoulder. Bruce reacts. It’s


Selina. She smiles seductive, wraps her arms around Bruce.
She follows his gaze to the window sill.

SELINA
(re: cat)
I think Otto likes you.

WAYNE
Otto? “Like” to claw my eyes out,
maybe.

Selina chuckles, slips her hands under Bruce’s shirt. She


glances at the TV.

SELINA
Geez, where were the naysayers when the
Joker had the city on it knees? How
typical of society, shun the hero when
he’s down.

Bruce looks at her, surprised.

WAYNE
You sympathize with that madman?

SELINA
Batman? Sure. Why not? He’s sexy. Dark.
Dangerous. Alone...
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Bruce looks at Selina wondering, then musters a smile.

SELINA
You know, I like you like this.

WAYNE
Like what?

SELINA
With a smile on your face.

Selina plants a kiss on his cheek.

INT. DOOR WAY, SELINA’S APARTMENT – BIT LATER

Bruce watches Selina seated by the mirror, brushing her


hair. Selina notices.

SELINA
Is everything okay with you, Bruce?
Last night you seemed more glum than
usual.

WAYNE
Seeing you cheered me up. I’m fine.
Thanks for asking.

Bruce fills out a blank check as he walks up to her.

SELINA
(re: check)
Hmm, rich as well as handsome.

Selina leans in almost cat-like for a kiss.

SELINA (cont’d)
Mrrow...

They kiss.

EXT. WAYNE MANOR - LATER

The family mansion stands as it once did. Tall, overlooking


Gotham.

INT. KITCHEN, WAYNE MANOR – CONTINUED

ALFRED PENNYWORTH in his butler uniform, seated in the


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mega-sized kitchen, the morning paper in hand, fully


engrossed. His face wrinkles with worry as he reads --

Suddenly we hear the loud ROAR of a motorcycle marking


Bruce’s arrival.

Alfred sets the newspaper down. He sips some tea, waits


patiently on Bruce to enter --

Bruce enters the kitchen. A beat as he and Alfred stare


off, poker faces.

ALFRED
Master Wayne.

WAYNE
Alfred.

Bruce nods, continues on.

ALFRED
Pardon me sir, but is that it? You’ve
been gone a week, Master Wayne. A
bloody week! You were with that Selina
Kyle, weren’t you?

WAYNE
Alfred --

ALFRED
(stern)
If I may sir, you’ve lost the damn
plot!

Alfred tosses the newspaper across the kitchen counter to


Bruce. The front page headline reads “Joker: Broken by the
Bat”.

ON WAYNE

struggling with this, his expression says it slowly.

ALFRED (cont’d)
Master Wayne, when you first endeavored
on your nocturnal forays, I had my
reservations. As a matter of fact, I
doubted the sincerity of it all. But
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ALFRED (cont’d)
overtime, I was won over. I sensed what
you sought to accomplish was for the
greater good. And so I went along with
it... When you absconded from day-to-
day normalcy... The times you broke the
law... When you put criminals on the
critical list with your brand of rough
justice. I believed in what you were
doing, Master Wayne. I believed in what
you stood for. But now you’ve gone too
far. You’ve crossed that fine line,
sir. And I’m rather worried.

Bruce considers his old friend a moment, wearied.

WAYNE
Alfred, you’ve been by my side all
these years, stalwart in your support.
And I appreciate your honesty...
Anytime you feel unable to continue
here at Wayne Manor, you’re welcome
to...

Bruce can’t bring himself to finish the sentence. Alfred is


chastened. A pause. Then Bruce turns, crosses the room and
exits the kitchen. Alfred just stares after him, stung.

INT. LIBRARY, WAYNE MANOR - CONTINUOUS

Bruce enters the library, walks up to a piano in the corner


of the room, taps four notes. The bookcase set against the
far wall swings open. Bruce steps through into the
darkness.

INT. BATCAVE – CONTINUOUS

THE BATCAVE. Dark. Dormant. In one corner of the vast


cavern, a spiraling staircase. In the center: A DUMB-WAITER
lift descends all the way down to the Batcave floor –-

The lift door swings open as Bruce steps out. The automatic

activation sequence engages. Ambient lights come on. A vast


bank of new-state-of-the-art, super computing systems
8

flicker into life. Nearby, a workbench lined with an


amazing assortment of Bat gadgets and equipment.

Bruce walks across the Batcave towards the MAIN CONSOLE.

Several news stories play at once on different computer


monitors.

MONITOR 1 – a news report:

NEWSCASTER #1
The whole of Gotham is still trying to
come to terms over what has transpired
over the last few days. Criminal
mastermind and Batman nemesis, the
Joker, real name unknown, was found in
the Gotham county fair in the early
hours of the morning with his neck
broken...

MONITOR 2 – a talk show:

TALK SHOW GUEST #1


Gotham city can no longer tolerate such
a flagrant violation of the law... How
many charges of assault, battery,
harassment and murder can we add
against the Batman?

TALK SHOW GUEST #2


How are we forgetting the events that
preceded the incident? First the Joker
mutilated and then set alight a school
teacher. Next he...

MONITOR 3 – a news report:

NEWSCASTER #2
... managed to break out several
maximum-security inmates out of Arkham.
During this, he shot and crippled Dr.
Jeremiah Arkham, chief psychiatrist at
the psychiatric facility...

MONTIOR 4 – a news report:


9

TV REPORTER #1
... Police and bomb experts are still
combing through the county fairgrounds
looking for any suspicious packages
said to have been left behind by the
Joker...

MONTIOR 5 – a TV talk show:

TALK SHOW GUEST #3


As president of the Gotham City
Council, it is my opinion that this
town would be a lot safer without the
Batman. That one man is the cause of a
whole host of problems we face in
Gotham...

Bruce watches the screens, somber, his world slowly caving


in.

INT. MAYOR’S OFFICE – CITY HALL – DAY

COMMISSIONER JAMES GORDON sits opposite MAYOR HAMILTON


HILL, 50s.

The Mayor gestures at the paper work piled all around him.

MAYOR HILL
Petition from the Council of Mothers...
This one from the Victims’ Rights Task
Force... all of them demanding Gotham
PD issue a warrant for the Batman’s
immediate arrest.

GORDON
To be fair Mr. Mayor, we don’t know for
sure which incidents of assault are the
work of Batman or copycats.

MAYOR HILL
Dammit Gordon, he’s out of control --
Seventy eight acts of assault in the
past five weeks. The people of Gotham
want normalcy. After all the jolts
10

MAYOR HILL (cont’d)


they’ve lived through... And this Joker
business...
(then)
I issued a cease-and-desist order on
the Batman months ago. An investigative
team was put together to hunt him down.
So how is it he’s still out there?

GORDON
Mr. Mayor, crime has been at record
levels since the beginning of the year.
Not to mention all the Arkham inmates
the Joker set loose three months --

MAYOR HILL
All I’m hearing is excuses, Jim. I get
the feeling you’d rather the Batman do
the policing for us. He’s a loose
cannon, no better than the crooks he
brings in.
(then)
I ran on a law and order platform, Jim.
I won’t let my administration look
weak. I want action and I want it now!
Whatever it takes... Don’t you dare let
me down.

Gordon nods, not liking it...

GORDON
Yes, sir.

EXT. GOTHAM CENTRAL - DAY

Over-aggressive reporters swarm Gordon as he ascends the


stairs.

REPORTER #1
Commissioner, what’s the official
position on the Batman?

GORDON
No comment.
11

VARIOUS REPORTERS
Will the Batman be brought to trial if
caught?

GORDON
(heated)
I said no comment.

INT. GORDON’S OFFICE, GOTHAM CENTRAL - MOMENTS LATER

Gordon enters. He finds his secretary JANE NELSON, 40s.


Also in the room a LAWYER (DANIEL PRATT, 50s) and his
client (ALAN WALLACE, 30s) in a neck brace, arm in a sling,
and one of his legs in a cast.

JANE
(to Gordon)
Sir, Mr. Wallace is here with his
lawyer.

GORDON
Who?

PRATT
Commissioner, my client and I have been
waiting on you for the last hour.

Gordon settles into a desk swamped with stacks of files and


paperwork. He looks Wallace over, then smiles, amused.

GORDON
Sorry but I’ve been rather busy.
G.C.P.D. has its hands full.
(re: Wallace)
There’s vermin loose on our street.
(then)
So what is it I can do for you
counselor?

PRATT
My client has yet to be charged,
Commissioner, and with good reason.

GORDON
Jane, get me the Deputy on the phone.
12

GORDON (cont’d)
(to Pratt)
Mr. Pratt, you’re client was spotted
fleeing the scene of a felony, clown
mask over his face, and he fired on
police men with an illegal weapon.

PRATT
No loot, no robbery and my client has
yet to be identified as having fired
upon your men. As for the weapon,
Batman planted it on my client after
violently assaulting him. My client was
beaten within an inch of his life on
the night of his arrest,
Commissioner... A broken nose, a
shattered femur, three broken ribs, a
badly fractured leg... And that brace
around his neck isn’t for laughs... And
not to mention his emotional trauma.

GORDON
Emotional trauma?

PRATT
The only real crime was committed by
the Batman. You should hunt down that
lunatic Commissioner, instead of
hounding my client.

Gordon rubs his face. This has been a long and exhausting
day.

EXT. PRISON YARD, PEÑA DURO PRISON, SANTA PRISCA - DAY

Bane sits at a table alone eating his meal. He looks up,


casing the place: The yard is about 35 yards wide and 90
yards long. Surrounding the yard are twenty foot walls. A
wire fence with barbed wire on top run atop the walls.
Armed guards patrol along the top of the walls, looking
down at the inmates.

ON BANE
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taking all this in.

A few beats later, Bane reaches for an ALUMINUM MUG sitting


on his food tray, and discreetly slides it under his shirt.

INT. GORDON’S OFFICE, GOTHAM CENTRAL - NIGHT

Gordon is seated behind desk poring over the large stack of


files and paperwork. Occasionally he glances up at the
small television is his office.

ON SCREEN:

TV host MIKE ENGEL, 40’s, and two other guests engaged in a


roundtable discussion.

ENGEL
For months now, criminals have been found
battered and seriously wounded. The
Batman’s methods of capture are
seemingly growing more violent and
brutal. Is Batman dangerous to Gotham?

GUEST #1
Hardly as dangerous as the criminals
he’s putting away. Gotham is a city of
thieves and murderers and people too
frightened to hope. Batman is something
we need.

GUEST #2
Yes, but enough is enough. The Batman
bent the rules, and now he’s broken
them. Is he above the law?

Gordon flips the channel. Another talk show, this time a TV


reporter interviews...

ON THE TV SCREEN

TV REPORTER
What do you think of Gotham city’s most
famous champion, sir?

#1
Most famous champion?
14

#2
Well, he’s sure keeping the hospitals
busy.

#3
He’s putting the bad guys in jail ain’t
he? So what if he’s sending them to the
hospital? They ain’t out on the
streets.

#4
Batman? He makes me sick!

Gordon frowns, shakes his head.

ON SCREEN:

Host of the show EDWARD NASHTON (late 30s, slender build,


off-the-chart smarts, dressed in an OLIVE GREEN suit)
listens to his guest...

GUEST
... he’s given his life to Gotham –-
the city, the people... He’s our
protector.

EDWARD
But don’t you think Batman’s terrorist
actions and explicit law breaking help
create the very evil he’s fighting
against? What was the prevalence of
costumed criminals like the Joker
before the Batman? Clearly there’s a
correlation.

Gordon clicks off the broadcast. He takes off his glasses,


rubs the bridge of his nose. He sits back, lets out an
exhausted sigh. Then he reaches for a cigar in his desk,
lights it. Inhales deep.

Gordon gets up, moves to the open window, looks out.

GORDON
(to self)
How did we let you get this far?
15

GORDON (cont’d)
I don’t know if I can protect you on
this one.

EXT. GOTHAM CENTRAL – CONTINUOUS

We CRANE UP, MOVING UP SEVERAL STORIES...

Finally settling on the DARK KNIGHT, perched atop a


buttress, poised, still as a stone statue, cape snapping in
accordance to the wind. He gazes down at the streets below,
watching like a hawk in its aerie.

INT. EDWARD EDWARD’S OFFICE – NIGHT

A neat and pretentious looking office laden with books,


journals and periodicals. Edward Nashton sits, quiet,
working diligently through a crossword puzzle.

INT. HALLWAY – A BIT LATER

Nashton comes out of his office, continues down the


corridor.

INT. OFFICE OF THE STUDIO EXEC. – MINUTES LATER

Large, regal. The executive producer, TERRY COAKLEY


(silver-haired, mid-50’s), is seated behind his desk. A
knock on the door and Edward enters.

EDWARD
You wanted to see me, Terry?

COAKLEY
Yeah, come in Edward. Take a seat.
(a beat)
We have a problem, Ed. It’s your
ratings. They’re plunging. Down 15
percent compared with last month.
Apparently, and perhaps not
surprisingly, no one’s sold on your
“the Bat made me do it” theory. You’re
trying to turn the viewers against
their caped crusader with your perverse
opinion-spewing, and I don’t think they
appreciate it. What’s more your
16

COAKLEY (cont’d)
advertisers are getting skittish. Like
it or not Ed, the public is on the
Batman’s side.

EDWARD
I think we should give it time, Terry.
After all, the evidence is there. Clear
as day. In fact, I think we should
seriously consider interviewing some
‘Bat’ villains on the show. This way
viewers can better grasp my point.

COAKLEY
(laughs)
Hell, you’re not serious are you? This
a news show, Eddy, not a circus. Keep
it dignified. Conventional. It’s what
the public wants.
(then)
Also, cut out the holier-than-thou
attitude and haughty language. It’s
hugely unappealing. And get rid of the
green suit. Goodness sake. It makes you
look... elfish.

Edward’s jaw tightens.

EDWARD
Let me think it over.

COAKLEY
No Edward. Don’t like it, you can
always resign.

Nashton clenches a fist beneath the table, trying to


control his rage.

INT. EDWARD’S OFFICE – MOMENTS LATER

Nashton strides around in silent rage, a caged lion,


muttering to himself. He slams his desk angrily. Then he
takes a seat in his swivel chair. Beat as Edward collects
himself.
17

PUSH IN ON EDWARD

thinking, thinking. His mind churning over. Seconds turn


into minutes. A dark look crosses over Nashton’s face as
ideas start to flood in and firm...

And Edward suddenly rises from his seat, fetches a coat,


opens the door to his office and exits.

INT. BANE’S CELL, PEÑA DURO PRISON – NIGHT

Dark, dank cell. The only available light is the pallid


moonlight. Bane has the aluminum mug in his hands. Almost
effortlessly, he RIPS off the handle.

He moves to the cell wall. Silent and calm, Bane scrapes


one tip of the mug handle against the concrete wall,
producing a JAGGED weapon.

INT. AISLEWAY, PEÑA DURO PRISON – LATER

It is raining outside. There is an occasional RUMBLE of


thunder that echoes through the silent cell house.

A prison guard walks down the aisleway. He walks by a row


of cells, looking in through the barred doors at the
sleeping inmates as he passes.

The guard reaches near the end of the aisleway, passing


Bane’s cell. The guard stops, sensing something. He turns
and looks down at the ground by Bane’s cell. An aluminum
mug sits on the floor by the barred door. The guard traces
back, looks into the cell at Bane. Bane is perfectly still,
asleep. Everything looks normal. The guard bends to pick up
the aluminum mug. As he rises --

In a sudden violent motion, Bane’s arm SHOOTS through the


barred door, grabbing the guard by the throat with one
massive arm. Bane leans in, whispers...

BANE
(whisper)
I need your keys.

Bane’s other arm shoots out and, with the aluminum weapon
in hand, he stabs prison guard repeatedly in the neck,
18

blood spurting all over. Lightning flashes illuminating


Bane and the prison guard.

INT. VENTILATION SHAFT, PEÑA DURO PRISON - LATER

Bane scales up a ladder rapidly. It’s a 40 foot climb. The


end of the shaft opens onto the cellhouse roof. Iron bars
cover the shaft preventing any exit.

Bane reaches the top of the shaft, steadies himself. He


pulls out a section of pipe from his waistband, slides it
through the iron bars. Using the pipe as a lever, Bane
bends the bars. Then using his hands, Bane bends the bars
further. Muscles bulging, grunting with effort, he widens
the bars enough for him to climb through.

EXT. CELLHOUSE ROOF, PEÑA DURO PRISON – SECONDS LATER

The night is dark and wind strong. Search lights crisscross


the roof. Bane waits a moment in the darkness. He looks all
around. The prison is in the middle of the ocean. There’s
nothing around for miles. But Bane looks on unperturbed.

The lights are turned off and Bane makes a run for the
roofs edge... sprinting... He LEAPS, over a railing,
hurtling into the empty night space...

INT. UNMARKED POLICE CAR – NIGHT

Sirens blaring.

Inside: DETECTIVE HARVEY BULLOCK, late 30’s, crass and


unkept, a little overweight. In the driver’s seat, BERNARD
DUNHAM, 30’s, a wide-eyed ROOKIE detective...

Dunham is in pursuit of a DELIVERY TRUCK.

BULLOCK
Damn that sucker can move! Goddamn
Joker clones... Hey -- eyes on the
road.

DUNHAM
What is that?

BULLOCK
What’s what, kid?
19

Bullock follows Dunham’s gaze... In the sky light, which


catch a glimpse of a large, bat-like figure swinging along
directly above the chase.

BULLOCK
Heh, right on time. Slow down Bernie.
It’s out of our hands now.

DUNHAM
But we’re under orders. Arrest the
Batman on sight.
BULLOCK
Sure. Soon as he’s finished.

ABOVE THE STREETS

Batman swings into view, landing on rooftops, jumping


fearlessly, cape flaring dramatically. He shoots his
grappling gun, swings as if gliding, lowering downwards, a
heat-seeker, honing in on the speeding truck.

INT. DELIVERY TRUCK – CONTINUOUS

Inside, three burly thugs in CLOWN MASKS... Meet BINKY,


LOOPY and POGO.

IN THE SIDE MIRROR – DENIS’ POV

Batman swinging in closer, bearing down like a demon.

BINKY
Christ! It’s him. It’s the Bat!

POGO
Well, lose him!

Binky shifts gears, accelerating.

EXT. STREET – SAME

ON THE TRUCK

as it swerves, bumps, scrapes through traffic.

ON BATMAN

as he swoops down, and then THUMPS onto the roof of the


20

speeding truck. He uses a PNEUMATIC MANGLING DEVICE hidden


in his palm, chops straight through the roof and holds on.

Binky swiftly turns the wheel. The truck veers sharply,


tires screaming. Batman swings wildly on the roof –-

EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE – CONTINUOUS

The truck crashes through a chain-link fence sending dirt


and debris flying. Binky loses control as the truck turns
too sharply and begins to TILT sideways toward the driver’s
side. Batman holds on as the driver side of truck slams
onto its side and slides along. As this happens, Batman
leaps off the toppled truck and out of sight into the
shadows --
The truck SMASHES into an excavator, spews smoke from the
hood. Pogo kicks out the windshield, pulls himself through.
Binky scrambles out through driver door window.

LOOPY
Oh God –- My leg! Help me.

POGO
(to BINKY,
re: LOOPY)
Leave him.

Pogo and Binky make a run for an incomplete, five-story


building.

Soon after, Batman emerges from the shadows, stands over


Loopy, DARK and MACABRE. Loopy stares wide-eyed, terrified
and quaking, frightened out of his mind.

LOOPY
Oh, God... Please, I-I give up. I
surrender... Please!

Loopy screams as he is engulfed in darkness.

ON BULLOCK AND DUNHAM

as they arrive. Dunham spots Batman moving in the shadows,


headed for the building. Dunham pulls out a handgun.
Bullock holds his gun hand down.
21

BULLOCK
Cool it Bernie, let him do his thing
first.

INT. BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION SITE – MOMENTS LATER

Pogo and Binky skulk in the shadows, guns drawn.

BINKY
Damn! I can’t see a thing –-

POGO
Shut up, will ya! And stay close.

BINKY
You got a spare clip?

Suddenly a grapple rope wraps around Binky’s leg and yanks


him down and out a window. Binky screams, freaking as he
disappears into the darkness.

ON POGO

he sees immediately what’s happened and reacts, starts


firing indiscriminately all around him. Then it’s all
quiet. Except Pogo’s nervous breathing and muttering.

POGO
... kill him. I’ll kill him...
(yelling)
I ain’t afraid of you.

Right then a shadow drops in the b.g. -- Pogo whirls round,


aims, squeezes the trigger – CLICK! CLICK! He’s all out.

POGO
(calling out)
What, you gonna cripple me too?

Batman runs up, leaps at him... Pogo’s eyes go wide.

POGO
Holy...

INT. STAIRCASE, BUILDING - SECONDS LATER

Dunham and Bullock scurry up the stairs.


22

Dunham is the first to arrive. He approaches from behind


with his gun drawn.

DUNHAM
Freeze!

Batman rises, stares Dunham down with demonic eyes.

DUNHAM (cont’d)
Uhh -– I mean it. You’re under arrest,
Mister.

Again Bullock pushes Dunham’s pistol down.

BULLOCK
What the hell Bernie, you just get off
the short yellow bus? He’s being
patient with you as it is.
(re: Pogo)
Heh, not a bad piece of work Batto.
Say, y’mind if we take credit for this
one?

Bullock turns. Batman’s already gone.

BULLOCK (cont’d)
(shrugs)
He didn’t say no.

Bullock looks at Dunham, awestruck from the encounter.

BULLOCK (cont’d)
Need to change your pants there,
Dunham?

INT. NEWSROOM, GNN BUILDING – MORNING

A large NEWSROOM swarming with TV PRODUCERS, ASSOCIATE


PRODUCERS, CAMERAMEN, NEWSCASTERS, REPORTERS, EXECUTIVES,
and other TV personnel. Phones ring. Computers hum and
keyboards clack.

Edward comes out of his office, crosses through the


newsroom when he sees newsroom personnel gathered in and
around of Coakley’s office. Something’s going on...

ACROSS THE ROOM


23

Gordon enters, flanked by two officers. They head for...

INT. COAKLEY’S OFFICE, GNN BUILDING – CONTINUOUS

Several news personnel huddled around Coakley’s mahogany


desk. Gordon and his men push through the crowd.

GORDON
Okay, no one touch a thing. What is it?

Gordon looks down at the desk. It’s a small parcel with


question-marks printed all over. No postmark. No stamp.
Just the word “Batman” written with letters cut out from
newspapers and magazines.
EDITOR #1
It’s addressed to Batman.
As Gordon reaches to open it.
EDITOR #2
Wait! Is it safe?
GORDON
This is evidence found at the scene of
a crime.
Gordon tears the package open.
GORDON
How long has Mr. Coakley been missing?
EDITOR #1
Not sure. His wife says he never came
home last night.
Gordon removes a letter from the package, again written
with letters cut out from newspapers and magazines. He
reads it out loud:
GORDON
The man who made it doesn’t want it.
The man who bought it doesn’t need it.
The man who needs it doesn’t know it?
Curious looks around the room...
EDWARD (O.S.)
It’s a riddle.
The entire room turns at this.
24

GORDON
Well, anyone know the answer?
A beat.
EDITOR #2
Coffin... The answer’s “coffin.”
Silence. Gordon again looks into the parcel. There’s a
small DIGITAL TIMER inside counting down.
ON GORDON, deliberating. Then...
GORDON
(talking quickly)
Alright, everyone outside. I want this
room secured and dusted for prints.
Call in every available officer. Tell
them to head to every funeral home,
every crematorium, morgues and
hospitals downtown. Tell them to look
at out for anything out the ordinary.
Suspicious.
Beat as Gordon examines the question mark insignia printed
on the parcel.
GORDON (cont’d)
Tell them to look out for... “question
marks”.
EXT. CEMETARY – LATER
The place is swarming with uniforms. Gordon stands among
them, tense and anxious. Bullock approaches.
BULLOCK
We got nothing, Commish.
Gordon shakes his head at the news.
BULLOCK (cont’d)
So who is this guy?
GORDON
Coakley? Friend of the Mayor.
Gordon and Bullock walk among the headstones.
GORDON (cont’d)
The letter said we had until noon.
(looks down at watch)
25

GORDON (cont’d)
We have less than ten minutes.
BULLOCK
I dunno Commish. Maybe we got it wrong
Maybe “Coffin” ain’t it.
EXT. INDUSTRAL ZONE – CONTINUOUS
A remote, industrial part of Gotham. A four-door sedan
sits, abandoned.
INT. PARKED SEDAN – CONTINUOUS
Coakley wakes. He looks around, alarmed. He’s in the driver
seat, bound to the steering wheel, his mouth taped shut.
Coakley looks up at the dashboard... There’s a bomb with a
DIGITAL TIMER counting down. Coakley’s eyes widen. He
starts to struggle.
EXT. CEMETARY – CONTINUOUS
Gordon looks around at his men. His face wrapped with
concern.
INT. PARKED SEDAN - CONTINOUS
Coakley struggles mightily. But it’s no good. He looks at
the timer... 00:17... 00:16... 00:15... Time’s running out.
INT. NEWSROOM - CONTINUOUS
There is a clot of people gathered around Coakley’s office,
eyes on the wall clock. In b.g., Edward sits alone, quietly
watching everyone.
EXT. CEMETARY - CONTINOUS
Gordon looks down at his watch, sighs heavily.
INT. PARKED CAR
The timer counts down: 00:05... 00:04... 00:03... 00:02...
ON COAKLEY
terrified out of his skull...
EXT. INDUSTRIAL ZONE – CONTINUOUS
ON THE PARKED SEDAN, we wait for the impending explosion --
but nothing happens. Seconds later and we hear the BLARE of
a car horn.
26

EXT. CEMETARY – CONTINUOUS


Gordon stands, feeling helpless, a resigned look on his
face.

INT. NEWS STUDIO – NIGHT

Edward, seated at his anchor desk, pensive. After a


moment...

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (O.S.)


Five seconds...

Edward shuffles his papers. A beat. Edward looks into the


monitor and says:

EDWARD
Good evening viewers. Earlier today we
reported on the kidnapping and sudden
passing of GNN network executive, Terry
Coakley. Details are still sketchy, but
one thing is clear, we have a new ‘Bat’
villain in Gotham. Soon after today’s
fateful events, our network received a
letter bearing this black question-mark
insignia. The letter is addressed to
you, the viewers. It reads: Citizens of
Gotham, allow me to formally introduce
myself, I am the Riddler.

INT. BULLPEN, MCU, GOTHAM CENTRAL – SAME TIME


The room is full of uniformed cops and detectives. Bullock
and Dunham enter.
BULLOCK
They say he was found in a parked sedan
on Koughun street... in the industrial
zone. Get it? Coffin... Koughun...
Dunham scratches his head, trying to makes sense of it all.
A group of cops, both plainclothes and uniformed, are
gathered around a TV mounted on a corner wall. Bullock and
Dunham walk over.

BULLOCK
What’s going on?
27

One of the plainclothes detectives motions with his chin up


at the TV.
ON SCREEN:
EDWARD
I am the one responsible for the
kidnapping of GNN exec, Terry Coakley.
Again, it was I who sent the riddle
which the police were unable to decode.
Regrettably, this duly led to the
demise of Coakley, but do not think of
me as a murderer. Had the police been
able to solve my rather abecedarian
riddle, Mr. Coakley would be very much
alive and not destined for a hole in
the ground. Anyway, why am I here in
Gotham? And what do I want? Simple...
What takes flight at night, what sees
without sight?

Edward pauses a moment, looking up from the note, and back


down again.

EDWARD (cont’d)
I do not crave money, power, influence
or destruction... My motivation is
simply a worthy adversary to my more
cerebral and frankly, more
sophisticated methods of villainy. And
from now on, no more puerile nonsense
and cheap world play... Let’s make
things more interesting.... Until my
next riddle, adieu.

Edward looks up from the note. Complete silence. Millions


of viewers hanging onto every word.

EXT. GOTHAM CITY – NIGHT


Gotham City stands, as always, sinister against the night.
The BAT SIGNAL shines against the dark clouds.
EXT. ROOFTOF, GOTHAM CENTRAL – SAME

It’s a windy night. Bullock saunters out onto the roof.


28

Gordon is there standing by a giant projector beaming the


makeshift BAT SYMBOL.

BULLOCK
He ain’t shown yet, huh, Commish?

GORDAN
Not yet Bullock. Tell you the truth I’m
not surprised.

Bullock gestures at the makeshift Bat signal, amused.

BULLOCK
You know the Mayor won’t appreciate it.

GORDAN
Let him write me a reprimand. I answer
to the people of Gotham, not the Mayor.

BULLOCK
Oh, the Mayor requested your pleasure.
Now.

GORDAN
Figures.

BULLOCK
Probably about the new color scheme for
his office.

Gordon checks his watch. He turns away, disappointed.

GORDAN
(re: bat signal)
Shut it off.

INT. LIMO - NIGHT


Bane sits opposite Talia in the back. He stares out his
window watching city blur past.
TALIA
How did you escape?
Bane offers the slightest of smiles, doesn’t answer
TALIA (cont’d)
I’ve managed to assemble part of your
29

TALIA (cont’d)
team.
BANE
Unnecessary.
TALIA
Then consider them your back-up. You
failed my father once and he spared
your life. I will not grant you the
same leniency.
Bane gives Talia a look that impales.
BANE
I’m a killer, Miss Al Ghul. I would
kill to silence a grating voice. To
darken the light in the eyes that dared
look at me.
(then)
I will not fail you.
EXT. BUILDING - NIGHT
The limo pulls up in front of a tenement-like building.
INT. BUILDING - CONTINUOUS
The freight elevator grinds to a halt as it arrives at its
destination. Elevator doors slide open allowing Bane and
Talia to exit. We’re in a vast room, brick-walled, a cross
between an armory and laboratory.
The three men in the room approach –- meet ZOMBIE, stolid,
slim and sinewy; TROGG, a muscular warrior sporting a
beard/shaved head combo; and finally BIRD, lean and lethal.
Bane nods in greeting, slap hands with all three men.
ZOMBIE
It has been many years, friend.
Trogg hands Bane a crude homemade BALLISTIC FACEMASK with a
SKELETAL image impressed on the face surface. Bane studies
the mask, memories rekindling.
TROGG
We’re ready to begin, Bane.
Bane nods.
BANE
Good. We have plenty to prepare for.
30

INT. GORDON’S APARTMENT – NIGHT


We hear keys twisting and the door swings open. Gordon
enters, weary and haggard. The apartment is dark, quiet.
Gordon stands a moment, waiting, as if expecting... but
he’s alone.
INT. KITCHEN, GORDON’S APARTMENT - LATER
Gordon sits alone at kitchen table over a simple meal.
INT. GORDON’S APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM – LATER
Gordon has fallen asleep in one of the living room chairs.
Mouth agape, snoring lightly. A dark shape enters the frame
and looms over him.
BATMAN
Commissioner.
Gordon leaps out of his seat several feet.
GORDON
Christ! You scared me half to death.
How did you –-
BATMAN
Coakley, he died of a heart attack?
GORDON
(nods)
Yes. Four open heart surgeries in the
last three years. Most recent surgery
was eight weeks ago. All this “Riddler”
had to do was keep Coakley away from
his medication long enough and then
threaten his life, guaranteeing Coakley
a massive heart attack.
(sighs)
The Mayor’s having a fit over this. As
if you weren’t enough. Whoever’s
responsible, he’s very smart and even
more dangerous.
BATMAN
“Thinks” he’s smart. He’s most likely
just another Joker-inspired nobody
trying to impress with his riddles.
GORDON
Well, I wish I could be so sure.
31

Gordon’s phone RINGS. He answers.


GORDON (cont’d)
Gordon here. Yes Jane... What?!
(to Batman)
We’ve just received a letter back at
the precinct... from the Riddler.
(into phone)
Read it out to me Jane... “What’s
Green, whistles and covers a lot of
ground?”... What the hell...? Hold on,
Jane.
Gordon looks across to Batman, still in the shadows.
GORDON (cont’d)
What do you think?
Batman looks down, brows furrowed. Then...
BATMAN
Train?
GORDON
Green? The green railway line? Jesus!
(into phone)
Jane, get the bomb squad on the phone.
And put me through to Gotham Rail.
(turns to Batman)
What’re you going to do -- ? Batman?
Batman is already gone.
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
A new and redesigned version of the TUMBLER weaves
dangerously through traffic, like a sleek black missile,
moving at breakneck speed in hot pursuit.
UP ABOVE, an elevated train blurs along at a high speed.
INT. BATMOBILE - CONTINUOUS
Batman drives, shifting gears, ACCELERATING... He puts the
BATMOBILE in autopilot. Then he presses on a button, the
driver hood slides open, cold air whips around. The seat
transforms putting Batman into a prone position: FIRING
MODE. Batman’s jaw sets. He slams a lever and SHOOTS out
upwards spectacularly like a fighter pilot ejecting...
IN MIDAIR
32

Batman quickly whips out his grappling gun and FIRES the
grappling hook at the train –- where it latches onto the
train roof.
INT. TRAIN CAR - CONTINUOUS
Commuters in the last car ride along in blissful ignorance,
completely unaware. Suddenly a heavy THUD is heard on the
train roof. A moment then the rear door is swung open.
Batman appears, cloak flapping wildly behind. Commuters
gasp as Batman enters the passenger car. He moves down the
aisle, eyes scanning, moving hurriedly --
Batman enters the next passenger car. He recommences his
search, looking under seats, scanning faces... Still
nothing –-
Then he sees an advertisement for a new, slick cellular
phone, posted on the compartment wall. Written below: “So
Sexy, it’ll make you Whistle”. The image gives Batman
pause. He stares a beat, eyes narrowing. Batman moves to
the seat by the advertisement, bends too look... And there.
A bundle of plastic explosive fixed to the underside of the
seat with a timer ticking down –- 01:00... 00:59...
00:58...
Batman reacts, alarmed. He looks over at the passengers.
BATMAN
(roars)
MOVE!!
Commuters scamper, panicking and hollering, trying to flee.
Batman reaches for the explosive and very slowly rips the
tape off, removing the bomb. He stands up, looks around,
moves to the car window.
Batman sets the plastic explosive down on a nearby seat
slams his fist against a car window. THRUSTS an elbow. No
effect.
Next he grabs onto the handrails, starts kicking at the
window over and over, GRUNTING with each strike... until
finally the window cracks and glass explodes all around.
Batman hurls the bomb out the smashed aperture and --
BOOOOM!! The bomb detonates creating a surging FIREBALL
that shatters every window. Batman is flung backwards
brutally like he weighed nothing.
CLOSE ON BATMAN
33

on all fours, covered in glass, bleeding from the mouth,


the batsuit ripped in a dozen places.
INT. TV STUDIO - LATER
Edward is silent a moment. Then he looks up into the
camera.
EDWARD
You know Gotham, we saw this coming.
This whirlwind of destruction and chaos
we’re face to face with. I predicted
this months ago. Months. The Joker
maybe gone, but not long after, just
days... there’s another bat villain...
One who may in fact be much worse. More
diabolical. Certainly more cunning.
He’s got the Gotham PD scrambling
around confused. And the Batman... HE’S
the reason why we’re in this mess to
begin with. One dead. Several injured
after tonight’s attack. How many more
until we realize... Until we figure out
where we’ve gone wrong? Or, I don’t
know, maybe we wait until after this
“Riddler” bombs a school bus or a
church. By putting our faith in Batman,
we are putting ourselves, our children,
all at risk. Now listen to me, Gotham.
Listen carefully. Here’s what I want
you to do. I want to you to get on the
phone to the Mayor, the Commissioner,
your councilman... I want you to write
them letters, send emails. Whatever it
takes. And I want you to say, three
words: Stop Batman. NOW! – Just three
words. Stop Batman. NOW! Before it’s
too late.
INT. BATCAVE - LATER
Bruce is sits on a surgical table, still SHELL SHOCKED. He
struggles to remove his Bat gear. His body suit is drenched
with sweat and blood. Bruce grits his teeth as he removes
pieces of glass wedged in his right arm and abdomen. More
blood pours from the wounds.
INT. ALFRED’S ROOM, WAYNE MANOR – EARLY MORNING
ON ALFRED
34

as he silently packs up some of his belongings into two


suitcases.
EXT. WAYNE MANOR – A BIT LATER
Alfred steps out onto the gravel driveway carrying his
suitcases. A cabbie steps out of a parked cab to help
Alfred with his luggage. Alfred stops, turns, takes one
final look at the towering Wayne Manor. A look of sorrow on
his face. A beat and then he enters the cab.
The cab drives off, passing through the massive gates.
INT. KITCHEN, GORDON’S HOUSE - MORNING
Gordon grabs the coffee pot and pours himself a cup. He
listens intently to a morning news show with EDWARD as the
special guest.
ON TV:
HOST
Some in the media circle say you’re
acting a bit... hysterical.
EDWARD
Well, perhaps I’m misunderstood. You
see, I’m only articulating the many
fallacies in the notion that the Batman
is this cities savior or guardian. Last
night’s events are proof of this.
Regardless of the Batman’s heroics, he
continues to motivate these crazed
lunatics who in turn grow more vengeful
and murderous with the Batman’s
continued presence. What’s more, the
Gotham PD is equally to blame...
HOST
The police?
EDWARD
Exactly. Not only did their gross
negligence lead to the rise of Batman
and consequent Bat-Villans, but they
continue to let Batman run rampant
without prejudice. Batman’s is directly
responsible for the murder of a cop.
The murder of our beloved District
Attorney, Harvey Dent. Yet nothing has
35

EDWARD (cont’d)
been done. Gotham PD, Commissioner
Gordon, all must be held accountable.

Gordon frowns.
EXT. GOTHAM DOWNTOWN – MORNING
Moving over downtown Gotham. The sprawling metropolis
begins a new day.
INT. BOARDROOM, WAYNE TOWERS - MORNING
BOARD MEMEBERS and EXECUTIVES have convened for a meeting.
Standing in the front of the room is one of Wayne
Enterprises chief officers, NORMAN HARRIS (late 50s).
Bruce sits at the head of the table, his mind elsewhere.
HARRIS
Are you still with us, Mr. Wayne?
Bruce looks up. His face is an impassive blank.
HARRIS
We are conferring on whether to shut
down some of our outsourcing for Wayne
Electronics this year and instead
handle operations internally.
WAYNE
Hmm, scale back on outsourcing and run
in-house?
HARRIS
In light of an impending spike in
energy prices and labor costs...
(beat)
Mr. Wayne?
WAYNE
(getting up)
Write up a report and I’ll review it
over the weekend.
HARRIS
Very well, Mr. Wayne. However, failure
to act with expedience may have
calamitous long-term consequences for
the company.
36

WAYNE
Hm-mm, we’ll talk Monday.
Bruce exits the conference room. Around the table,
concerned faces of the executives and board members.
INT. WAYNE’S OFFICE, WAYNE TOWERS - LATER
Bruce looks out his floor-to-ceiling office window at the
Gotham City skyline. Deep in thought. After a moment he
pulls out his cell phone, dials a number.
INT. BEDROOM, SELINA’S APARTMENT – SAME TIME
The phone rings. Selina snatches up the phone in a swift,
feline fashion. A MAU CAT, ISIS, leaps on top of her,
nuzzles her neck.
SELINA
(seductive)
Hello?
INTERCUT INT. WAYNE’S OFFICE/INT. SELINA’S APARTMENT -
CONTINUOUS
WAYNE
Selina. Hi, it’s Bruce.
SELINA
Bruce. Wow, it’s been awhile. Thought
you forgot about me.
WAYNE
Yeah I, uh, I’ve had a busy week. But I
would like to make it up to you. If
you’ll let me?
SELINA
So you find a little room in your busy
schedule for little old me? What’d you
have in mind?
WAYNE
Dinner. Friday night. My place.
Selina reacts, caught off guard.

SELINA
Your place?
WAYNE
I know. It’s out of the blue. Abrupt.
37

WAYNE (cont’d)
But I live in very big mansion, and I
sure would appreciate the company. So
what do you think?
SELINA
(smiles wide; then)
I... Yes, of course. I warn you though,
I don’t do anything on the first date.
Bruce cracks a smile.
WAYNE
Great. I’ll call you later.
Bruce ends the call, his lips shaping the slightest of
smiles. He pockets the cell phone, pauses, then parts his
jacket revealing A DARK SPOT OF BLOOD spreading across his
torso.
INT. OFFICE, GNN BUILDING - MORNING
We’re in the plush, executive size, corner office. Edward
sits opposite SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT in charge of
programming, FRANK ALLEN (50s).
ON EDWARD
brimming with confidence, a strong sense of himself.
ALLEN
You know, Terry wanted you fired? That
should come to no surprise to you. He
hated your guts. And especially hated
that green suit. According to him, you
were dragging down the network single-
handily. But after seeing last night’s
ratings, Edward, I can’t help but
disagree. Thanks to you we have a hit
show on our hands. I was a little
skeptical at first with the Bat
bashing. After all, he’s a monumental
figure. Gotham’s famed caped crusader.
But you’re drawing big ratings. And
this Riddler character’s got viewers on
edge. So I had the Mayor over for
dinner last night, we discussed your
show and its recent success... And he
agreed to your request. Although only
one Bat-villain will be interviewed,
38

ALLEN (cont’d)
Edward. There will be heavy security
around the studio for our safety. This
better run smoothly, Edward, for your
sakes.
Edward smiles a big, evil cat-who-swallowed-the-canary-
smile.
EDWARD
You’ve made right the decision, Allen.
I believe we are seeing a locomotive of
incalculable energy stocking up steam.
Again, you’ve made the right decision.
I won’t let you down.

INT. DINING AREA, RESTAURANT – LATE NIGHT


We’re in a modest, smoke-filled restaurant. No customers.
Just five of hard-nosed crime bosses in a back booth. Armed
bodyguards in suits keep guard.
One of the bosses, JIMMY “NO NOSE” NOVAK, 55, overweight
and thick, nose partially gnawed off. Novak owns the place,
although not on paper. He talks while puffing on a cigar.
CRIME BOSS #1
It’s those Joker clones. Those loons,
they’re like rabid dogs foaming at the
mouth, leaching off of everything. Last
week it was the jewelry store. The
other day it was a shipment from the
docks... We’ve to do something.
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Like what? Go to war? That’ll mean more
bodies on the streets... the Mayor’s
not going to take my phone calls after
that.
CRIME BOSS #2
And dare we forget the Batman.
CRIME BOSS #3
I heard the Bat’s got his own problems,
we don’t have to worry about him
anymore.
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
No. We always got to worry about the
39

JIMMY “NO NOSE”


Bat, the cops can’t stop him. Not that
they’re trying.
Crime boss, UMBERTO MARONI, mid-30s, a big bull with
brutish manners, interjects, slams his fist on the table.
UMEBRTO MARONI
Enough. I am sick and tired of this
constant running and hiding. The
problem is that since the Joker, we’ve
all gone soft. We were the untouchables
once. My father used to run rackets
without a care in the world. But now
everyone’s looking over their
shoulder... Batman. Joker. Scarecrow.
We’ve given in to those masked freaks.
I say no more. We take a stand now.
INT. RESTAURANT – SAME TIME
WE TRACK Bane and his team as they enter the rear of the
restaurant from a nearby alley.
They storm through, entering into the kitchen, past kitchen
staff, waiters, and busboys... As this happens Bane slides
on the skeletal facemask...
INT. RESTAURANT – DINING AREA – CONTINUOUS
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Look, I suggest we consolidate, pool
our efforts. No more territories, no
more wars, everyone working together as
one. And with the right person as
leader –-
UMBERTO MARONI
And let me guess, you’re that leader?
You got guts Jimmy. Don’t forget my
father was the most powerful crime boss
this town’s ever seen.
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Listen kid, daddy ain’t around no more.
What, you think because you got a
driver’s license you’re tough enough to
lead a conglomerate of gangsters?
(howls with laughter)
40

JIMMY “NO NOSE”


You’re making me laugh kid. Look at
you, still got you’re training wheels
on. The Maroni crime family is weak,
vulnerable, your soldiers are
inexperienced --
UMBERTO MARONI
OH! Who do you think you are Novak? No
way am I going to be your salary boy,
jumping through hoops... I’m a Maroni,
we don’t work for nobody.
Suddenly BOOM! Doors burst open as Bane and his men enter
the dining area. Within a split second Zombie and Bird have
the bodyguards sprawled on the ground --
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
What the -- What is this?
Bane bears down on Novak.
BANE
I want only one thing... Batman.
UMBERTO MARONI
Another weirdo in a mask. What, the
carnival in town?
Bane grabs Umberto by the back of the head and slams him
hard against the dining table drawing blood.
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Whoa, whoa, okay... What do you want to
know?
BANE
Everything there is to tell.
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Look, no one knows nothing about the
Bat. He’s just another masked nut job.
Uh, no offense. Only thing we do know
is that where there’s action, he shows
up.
BANE
What sort of action?
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Major action. Drugs, extortion,
41

JIMMY “NO NOSE” (cont’d)


smuggling... Maybe we work something
out? We could, uh, lure him out. And
then you take care of him for us. We
work together. As partners. Whaddya
say?
BANE
A trap? Bring the Batman to us?
JIMMY “NO NOSE”
Exactly. I’ve got a couple of ideas.
Bane stands over Jimmy, towering.
BANE
So do I.
INT. RESTAURANT – DINING AREA – LATER
The dining area is now a crime scene. Detective Bullock and
a dozen uniformed cops assess the room, looking for clues
amongst the bloody corpses. Detective Dunham stands back,
trying to ignore the gory scene.
Bullock scans the room, eyes lock on one body in
particular.
DET. BULLOCK
Oh boy.
A uniformed cop moves alongside him.
UNIFORMED COP
Looks like Jimmy “No-Nose” Novak.
DET. BULLOCK
Jimmy “no nose, no lips, ears and
eyes”... Looks like a piñata.
All of a sudden Dunham throws up violently in a corner.
DET. BULLOCK
Losing your lunch there, Dunham?
UNIFORMED
What do you think, detective?
DET. BULLOCK
(shrugs)
They died hurting. Gang related maybe?
Bit messy though.
42

GORDON (O.S.)
Exactly. This lacks the hallmark of a
mob hit.
Gordon walks up to everyone, hands in pockets.
GORDON (cont’d)
Question is, who stands to gain from
this.
A VIBRATING BUZZ. Gordon looks down at his cellphone.
GORDON (cont’d)
I need some air.
EXT. ALLEY – MOMENTS LATER
Gordon walks out into the alley Bane and his team entered
from. He looks around, lights a cigarette. In the b.g.
Batman drops down behind Gordon.
Gordon turns startled.
GORDON
You know I could die of heart failure
the next time you sneak up on me.
BATMAN
Jimmy Novak’s was running a smuggling
operation coming through the docks.
GORDON
The docks? That could be Waylon Jones,
or Croc as he likes to be known. I’m
sure you’ve heard the name. Makes
sense. Croc’s big. Strong. He would
have little trouble lifting his side of
a grand piano. He’s certainly mean
enough for a job this ugly. He’s got a
four man crew. Operates out of a
secluded warehouse by the docks. We’ll
need a warrant to search the place...
BATMAN
Not me.
As Batman turns to leave...
GORDON
Wait! One other thing. I, uh, I know
you’ve been under some serious strain
43

GORDON (cont’d)
over the last few months. And uh,
well...
BULLOCK (O.S.)
Commissioner.
Gordon looks round.
GORDON
I’m busy Bullock. What is it?
BULLOCK
Uh, the press is here. They’re going
nuts.
Gordon turns forward. Batman’s gone. Gordon sighs.
GORDON
Good. Keep them out.
BULLOCK
With pleasure.
EXT. ROOF – SAME TIME
We find Bane and his team watching Gordon and Batman four
stories below.
BANE
There he is.
BIRD
We should take him now. He suspects
nothing.
BANE
No, not yet. Now would be too easy.
They watch as Batman aims his grappling gun and takes off
upwards.
EXT. ROOFTOP BY THE DOCKS - LATER
Batman lands, crouching, melted in the shadows. Batman
looks through miniature binoculars into the windows of a
derelict three storey warehouse.
ON BANE
not too far away, shrouded in the darkness. He stands
perfectly still, watching Batman.
44

Batman’s head SNAPS around suddenly having heard the


slightest noise from behind. He looks around, alert, into
the shadows, eyes searching. Silence. No movement.
Batman turns forward, puts an earphone to his ear. We hear
filtered voices coming from the warehouse...
CHARLIE (V.O.)
(filtered)
Hey Croc, how comes I always gotta
count the money?
INT. WAREHOUSE - COTINUOUS
We’re in den of sorts. CHARLIE sits by a small table in the
center of the room, counting stacks of money.

Working out on a bench press machine a very large BLACK


MAN... Meet WAYLON JONES a.k.a. CROC. Feral, vicious,
powerfully built, arms as thick as beams, his skin
leathered, hardened and fissured. Croc works out on an old
bench press machine... He lowers the weight on the armrest,
sits up. His deep voice booms.

CROC
You saying I can’t trust you to count
my money, Charlie?
CHARLIE
What? Nah... I mean... yeah sure, Croc.
You can trust me.
Croc lays back, does more reps with little effort. Charlie
turns to MITCH and FLOYD seated by the TV.
CHARLIE
Hey, guys, you think you can turn the
TV down a little? I keep losing count
here.
Mitch aims the remote, turns the TV up. Charlie frowns --
Suddenly the lights in the room go out.
CHARLIE
What the hell?
Everyone reacts. Mitch and Floyd pull out guns.
ON WINDOW --
45

Just then the Dark Knight CRASHES right through, glass and
debris spraying everywhere. Batman rolls across the floor
before hurling two BATARANGS at Mitch and Floyd. They yelp
in pain as their guns go flying.
Charlie reaches for his gun. Starts firing over and over.
The muzzle flash from the weapon strobes the room...
IN THE MUZZLE FLASH: Batman landing a series of kicks and
punches on Mitch and Floyd simultaneously with brutal
physical power. Blood spurts. We hear the crack of bones --
Then CLICK! CLICK! Empty! Everything goes dark.
Croc lunges forward, grabs Batman in a mean bear hug from
behind. Batman reacts quickly, striking the back of his
head against Croc’s face, SMASHING HIS NOSE TO BITS! Croc
is knocked back but recovers quickly. He check his
bearings, goes after Batman again with a GROWL. Batman
ducks and dodges as the large man swings his bear-like
arms, then counters with a crushing kick to the knee and
then a vicious round-house punch to the face. Croc crashes
to the ground.
Charlie reaches for the barbell, the 25.lbs weight discs
sliding off. Batman turns as Charlie charges at him. He
jumps back as Charlie swings away. Then Batman SIDE-STEPS
and grabs the barbell with both hands, forces Charlie
backwards towards a low window and –-
EXT. WAREHOUSE – CONTINUOUS
-- Charlie SMASHES through the window! Batman reacts
quickly, grabbing Charlie by the foot before he plummets.
Charlie screams and yells.
BATMAN
Stop... struggling...
INT. WAREHOUSE – CONTINUOUS
In the b.g. Croc regains consciousness, begins to rise. A
wicked grin crosses his face as he approaches the
distracted Batman... SUDDENLY he is grabbed from behind by
Bane and pulled away into the darkness.
ON BATMAN
unawares, struggling mightily until finally he manages to
haul Mitch up into the building.
46

Batman scrambles to his feet, breathing laboriously. He


looks back. Croc is splayed across the floor, unconscious.
EXT. ACROSS THE STREET – SAME TIME
We see a reflection of Batman in binocular lenses. Bird’s
head moves back from the binoculars.
PULL OUT FURTHER... Bird and the others are seated in a
unmarked van parked not too far away. Bird gestures at the
approaching Bane.
The van doors slide open and Bane hops in, he removes his
mask, a puzzled expression across his face. Beat.
BANE
Batman... He does not kill.
BIRD
Why did you let him go?
BANE
(stern)
I let him live. There is a difference.
(beat)
This is a strange enemy. Complex. A
stalker of the dark, a predator, a
figure of fear... Yet he doesn’t kill.
There is more for me to learn about
Batman. Much more.

INT. BULLPEN, MCU – NEXT DAY


The room is packed with detectives and uniformed cops,
going over case files, drinking coffee. Incessant CHATTER
and TAPPING KEYBOARDS.
Secretary Jane crosses the room to her desk by Gordon’s
office. She finds a medium-sized box placed on the desk.
JANE
(re: box)
What’s this?
A uniformed cop looks up from paper work.
UNIFORMED COP
Box came in for the Commissioner.
JANE
How long ago?
47

UNIFORMED COP
Ten minutes.
Jane examines the box, sees a ‘question-mark’ insignia in
one corner! Her eyes widen.
JANE
Oh my GOD --!
Jane quickly dives away from desk, and -- BOOM! The box
explodes in a shower of paper...
Jane slowly looks up as bits of paper rain down all around
her. She looks around, confused.
INT. ROOFTOP, GOTHAM CENTRAL – NIGHT
Gordon stands by the makeshift bat signal. He looks tired,
his face creased with anxiety and worry. Bullock stands not
too far. He reads from the letter sent by the Riddler:
BULLOCK
“... Generally my leaves aren't turned
at night... Usually I'm full of worms
by day... Lots of words but deathly
quiet”... I think you got it right the
first time Commissioner. Cemetery.
Ain’t it?
GORDON
I want a second opinion.
BULLOCK
May as well pull the plug on the light.
He ain’t coming.
The roof doors open and six casually dressed officers tear
out onto the roof. The leader of the ensemble is LIEUTENANT
ELLEN YINDELL, 37, poised, no-nonsense demeanor.
YINDELL
Commissioner Gordon. Lieutenant
Yindell. I’m heading a special
taskforce unit assigned by Mayor.
Gordon looks at her extended hand.
GORDON
The Mayor? What’s your assignment?
YINDELL
Batman, sir.
48

GORDON
And it occurred to you that you find
him up on the roof waiting?
YINDELL
We saw the signal, we figured it was a
good a place to start as any.
Gordon walks over to the bat signal and turns it off. He
turns to Yindell...
GORDON
You figured wrong, lieutenant.
Gordon takes one final look from the roof and then walks
across to the exit.
CLOSE ON THE BATSIGNAL
we notice the letter Bullock was reading, is now placed
within a section under the modified spot light.
INT. GOTHAM UNIVERSITY LIBRARY – NIGHT
Pitch black. Way past closing time. A window creaks open
and Batman drops through.
Everything is perfectly still. Almost haunting. Batman
looks across the vast space of the deserted library... Over
at mahogany tables and chairs... The tall bookshelves... Up
at the balconies surrounding the room on all four sides.
Batman pulls out a mini-flashlight, angling it as he walks
down the main aisle, looking down the bookshelf aisles.
Batman pauses, points the flashlight at the nearby notice
board. He scans the notices with the flashlight... stops,
the light beam landing on one notice in particular. Below a
scribbled question mark, it reads:
I run but cannot walk, sometimes I sing
but I never talk. I lacks arms, have
hands; I lack a head but have a face.
Batman straightens, frowning. A moment. Then Batman lifts
the flashlight, scans around, then up... finally settling
on the CLOCKTOWER overhead.
INT. CLOCK TOWER SHAFT, GOTHAM UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
Batman looks up the clock tower shaft, FIRES his grappling
gun and shoots upwards through a spiraling staircase to the
49

top –-
and Batman lands gracefully in a crouch. He rises, looks
all around, The entire place is lined with SCAFFOLDING and
POLYESTER SHEETS.

ON BATMAN

eyes carefully scanning.... And then he finds what he’s


looking for. He walks up to a gleaming STEEL CASE placed by
the CLOCK FACE. Batman carefully opens the case which
automatically sets off the BOMB’S TIMER. It reads: 05:00.
Then flips to 04:59 and begins counting down: 04:58...
04:57... 04:56...
Next to the timer is a SMALL KEYBOARD and SCREEN carefully
laid over the complex wiring. The screen reads:
When is a formal affair like an
explosion?
A moment to think and then Batman takes out a mini wire
cutter from one of his belt compartments. He tenses up,
cautious. His hands waver over the wires, and then finally
stopping over A RED WIRE with BLACK STRIPES. Batman holds
the wire with his fingers, CUTS IT –- the timer stops at
00:04!
EXT. LIBRARY – TWENTY MINUTES LATER
The entrance to the library is a tangle of police cruisers
and TV news trucks.
Gordon stands behind the yellow tape surveying the scene.
He hears a SCRAMBLE in his POLICE RADIO. Then a Morse code.
EXT. ALLEY – A BIT LATER
Gordon stands with Batman in the shadows.
GORDON
(reading)
“When is a formal affair like an
explosion?”
BATMAN
When it’s black-tied, and red all over.
GORDON
But how’d you know the bomb was in the
library?
50

BATMAN
Leaves as in pages. Bookworms. Words.
Quiet. Generally... Usually... Lots...
The acronyms for G.U.L... Gotham
University Library.
Gordon shakes his head, even more confused.
GORDON
So what about these bombs he leaves
lying around?
BATMAN
The Riddler is nothing more than a
scheming trickster.
GORDON
You think someone else is planting the
bombs?
BATMAN
A demolition expert. I found traces of
cyclonite mixed in with the explosives.
GORDON
Jesus. Could be ex-military? The
department has a few on file.
Batman turns to leave.
GORDON (cont’d)
One more thing, the Mayor’s assigned an
anti-vigilante taskforce unit to hunt
you down.
Batman stops.
GORDON (cont’d)
Name’s Ellen Yindell. She’s an up-and-
coming lieutenant within the
department. She will be heading a team
of six. She’s a tough one. Very
aggressive. Committed. Once she latches
on... She won’t be deterred until you
are brought to justice... Listen, we
can’t keep meeting. I’m a cop first.
Batman turns, shoots his grappling gun.
BATMAN
Thank you.
51

Batman rises, pulling farther into the shadows.


INT. MULTI-LEVEL CAR PARK - NIGHT
DING-DING. Elevator doors slide open and out walks former
M&A consultant lawyer, REESE. He looks thinner, wearied, a
few grayed hairs.
He walks straight to his car parked all the way down. A van
on the other side of garage starts and pulls out. It
approaches, gradually building up speed. Reese notices as
the van gets closer. As he nears his own car, the van
SCREECHES to a halt beside him. Reese reacts but it’s too
late. The van doors slide open and he is yanked in as the
wheels PEEL out, burning rubber.
INT. BUILDING – LATER
ON REESE
in a dim-lit room, tied to a chair and his head encased in
a burlap sack. Everything is quiet.
REESE
Hello?
Suddenly the burlap sack is removed. Reese is sweating
heavily, his hair and clothes disheveled. Bane stands in
front of Reese, his face hidden in the shadows.
BANE
Mr. Reese?
REESE
Yes? Who -- Where am I? What’s going on
here?
Bane steps forward, pulls out a chair and sits down
opposite Reese, leans in so that they’re almost face to
face.
REESE
Wh-what do you want?
Bane grabs a finger, bends it in a direction it can’t go
and –- SNAP!! Reese howls in pain, tears streaming from his
eyes.
BANE
I ask the questions, Mr. Reese. Your
mind is in possession of this city’s
52

BANE (cont’d)
best kept secret: The true identity of
the Batman.
Reese looks at Bane, twitching and sweating.
BANE (cont’d)
Now, what I want is for you to share
that very secret with me. Do you
understand my words?
REESE
I-I can’t –-
BANE
You will.
Bane takes another finger and slowly bends it until it
breaks. Reese screams in unimaginable agony.
REESE
I-I...Buh-B-Batman!
BANE
No, BANE!
Bane breaks another finger. Reese screams. He is close to
blacking out. Bane slaps him across the face.
BANE
You will not pass out on me, Reese. We
have ways of keeping you awake.
Reese musters the strength. And finally...
REESE
B-Bruce... Wa-ayne...
Pause. Bird lets out a hearty laugh. Bane looks up at him.
BIRD
C’mon? Bruce Wayne?
BANE
Who is Bruce Wayne?
BIRD
Billionaire playboy. Richest man in
Gotham. He dates models. Drives sports
cars. He ain’t no Batman.
REESE
No! It’s the honest truth. Please.
53

Bane regards Reese a moment. Then he rises.


BANE
Keep trying, Mr. Reese.
REESE
No, wait! I-It’s the truth. I swear it!
Bane exits the room leaving Reese alone with Zombie and
Bird.
REESE
Please!!
INT. ARSENAL/LAB - LATER
Bane examines newspaper articles on a big screen computer
monitor.
CLOSE ON MONITOR: A Gotham Globe article. A photo of a boy,
aged 10, a haunted look on his face -– a young Bruce Wayne.
A headline reads: “WAYNES MURDERED!”
Bird enters whilst wiping blood off his hands onto a cloth.
BIRD
Well, he won’t change his story. The
Batman must really have him spooked.
(re: screen)
What’s this?
Another article downloads into view: “MISSING MILLIONAIRE
RETURNS TO GOTHAM.” Below that a recent photo of Bruce
Wayne.
BANE
Reese wasn’t lying.
BIRD
So? Doesn’t make it true. Maybe he’s
confused.
Other images download on the screen: Bruce at a black-tie
function, Bruce emerging from the revolving doorway of
Wayne Towers, Bruce hosting a charity function at the
Manor... Then back again to a picture of young Bruce.
Bane leans in closer to the computer monitor, eyes
searching, looking for the slightest hint.
BANE
Perhaps.
54

INT. NEWS STUDIO - NIGHT


Edward Nashton at his desk, shuffling his notes, looks to
his right, tonight’s guest: DR. JONATHAN CRANE a.k.a.
SCARECROW.

CRANE
Nervous?

Edward ignores him, looks up for his cue.

INT. COMMISSIONER GORDON’S OFFICE - NIGHT

Gordon is at his desk, sifting through stacks of paper


work. He looks exhausted. The phone goes off.

GORDON
Jim Gordon speaking... WHAT!?

INT. TV STUDIO – NIGHT

Edward and Crane sit across from each other, Crane looking
comfortable.

CRANE
You see, the Batman represents an
aberrant psychotic force terrorizing
the economically disadvantaged and
socially misaligned... The effects of
his presence here in Gotham are far
from positive. Clearly. He’s a danger
to every citizen of Gotham with his
excessive force, assault, reckless
endangerment, creating a public
hazard... Simply put, the Batman is
dangerous.

NYGMA
Would you argue Doctor, the Batman is
the root of many of Gotham’s problems?
Perhaps, the Batman creates many of
Gotham’s “problems”?

CRANE
You’re referring to the Bat-villains,
such as myself? I think it could be
55

CRANE (cont’d)
argued that Batman has spawned a new
generation of criminal, confused and
angry, mentally divergent... criminals
who have no real motive in the
traditional sense.

EDWARD
No motives, doctor? Not even revenge?

CRANE
Well, without getting overly
hysterical, some of them may indeed
harbor grudges over real or imagined
slights.

EDWARD
Slights?

CRANE
The police, judges, persecutors,
orderlies, wardens, anyone they feel
may have treated them unfairly or
inflicted harsh treatment... Even
parents.

Nashton stiffens, then a slight twitch, facial tic... as if


he’d received and electrical shock. Then he’s composed
again.

EDWARD
And the Batman?

CRANE
(smiles)
Oh, him especially.

INT. STUDIO CONTROL ROOM – SAME TIME

Gordon dives in the room, breathing hard. Bullock is there


with Dunham and two uniformed officers. Also in the room,
various TV personnel (technical director, production
assistant, lighting director, audio man, etc.,) manning a
double bank of monitor screens.
56

GORDON
What the hell’s going on here? Who
authorized this?

BULLOCK
The Mayor did. Relax Commish.
Everything’s under control.

Gordon doesn’t look so sure. All eyes on the show monitor


screen.

INT. TV STUDIO - CONTINUOUS

CRANE
The Bat villains have one primary
target, one idée fixe: and that would
be Batman. Now, were there to be no
Batman. No one for them to pin their
deep-seated ill will...

EDWARD
You know what I find most upsetting?
It’s the arrogance he has shown with
his terrorist actions. He’s like a
demon hell-bent on shock and pain. How
can we condone behavior that’s so
blatantly illegal? What about due
process and civil rights?

CRANE
His motives may be pure. His intentions
may be honorable –- but his guilt in
unmistakable.

INT. STUDIO CONTROL ROOM – CONTINUOUS

ON GORDON, deeply concerned.

GORDON
This is madness.

INT. TV STUDIO – CONTINUOUS

EDWARD
So... Batman’s to blame?
57

CRANE
Absolutely. I’m a victim of the
Batman’s psychosis.

EDWARD
Batman’s psychosis?

CRANE
That’s right. The Batman’s sexually
repressed. Can’t you tell?

Edward forces out a laugh.

EDWARD
Let’s take some phone calls.

INT. STUDY, WAYNE MANOR – SAME TIME

Wayne, working on his dress shirt and bow-tie as he watches


Edward’s news show.

All of a sudden, the door bell goes.

INT. DINING ROOM, WAYNE MANOR – EVENING

Candles, roses, dimmed lights, fire place blazing. An


intensely romantic setting.

ON SELINA

seated at one end of the fifty foot long dining table. she
looks absolutely breath-taking. But Bruce is seemingly
disinterested, preoccupied with other things.

Selina rises from her seat, pulls her chair all the way
across, sauntering sexily, and right next to Bruce. She
taps on his glass.

SELINA
Earth to Bruce.

Selina sits then seductively reaches across to Bruce’s


plate. She carves out a piece of his dinner and takes a
bite.

WAYNE
Sorry, my mind is elsewhere.
58

SELINA
Must be. This is my best outfit.

WAYNE
You look beautiful.

SELINA
That’s better.

They kiss.

EXT. PATIO, WAYNE MANOR – LATER

Selina and Bruce walk out into the patio, hand in hand.

SELINA
Didn’t you say something about a
surprise?

WAYNE
Did I?

Selina punches him playfully. They lean over the balcony,


staring out into the distance.

SELINA
Bruce, why do you stay in Gotham? I
mean, it’s so dreary and miserable.
Crime ridden. The jet-setting playboy
who can have it all... Why not leave?

WAYNE
I left once... I was gone for a long
time. But I was drawn back.

Selina looks at Bruce puzzled.

SELINA
Bruce Wayne, the profligate wastrel and
selfish elitist playboy who sleeps all
day and indulges in high profile
debauchery. But that’s not you at all,
is it? You have all the money in the
world. That there is virtually nothing,
nothing at all, you can’t have if you
wish for it.
59

WAYNE
I don’t like to flaunt my wealth.

SELINA
What would it take to let go, Bruce?
Let go of it all.

WAYNE
Honestly?

SELINA
No, lie to me.

They kiss.

A loud BOOM across the sky. Selina breaks away from the
kiss, looks up. She sees the fireworks, a mesmerizing
display of pyrotechnic splendor that brightens the sky.

SELINA
Oh! I love fireworks...

She looks at Bruce, realizing. She pulls him in for a deep


kiss...

They gaze into each other’s eyes.

SELINA
What’d I to do deserve the attention of
Gotham’s most sought after bachelor?

WAYNE
I’m the lucky one.

Bruce tilts up her face. They kiss again, lit by the


fireworks blast above.

SELINA
I know places, Bruce. Things we could
do... together...

They kiss, more passionate –- Bruce swallows her up in his


arms.

INT. KANE COUNTY MORGUE - NIGHT


Batman and Gordon stand over the body of Reese laid on an
autopsy table. Batman reacts.
60

BATMAN
Reese?

GORDON
What’s left of him. According to
forensics Reese was held captive and
tortured for about two days before he
died. We know this because the decay on
the cuts and wounds were forty-eight
hours old and some fresh. He has a
skull fracture, ribs and fingers all
broken... And they were only getting
started. They put his eye out. Smashed
his toes with something blunt, maybe a
hammer. They found burns of the
electric variety. He was slowly cooked
alive while they carried on working on
him... Ears, nose...
(pause)
Now, the question is who and why? What
was in Reese’s possession for someone
to go through all this trouble.
Gordon looks at Batman.
GORDON (cont’d)
He did know your identity. Something
criminals in this town crave most.
BATMAN
Where did you find him?
GORDON
In a dumpster behind a grocery store on
Goggins Avenue. Forensics went over the
place with tweezers, found nothing. Not
a hair. What do you think?
CLOSE ON BATMAN
still staring, very troubled.
INT. CORRIDOR – A BIT LATER
Gordon and Batman walk down the long stretch of corridor.
BATMAN
Any word on the Riddler?
GORDON
He sent us a codeword to help us
61

GORDON (cont’d)
distinguish him from the crank calls.
The codeword is Oedipus. Solver of the
riddle of the sphinx. He’s a fanatic.
I’ve already got offers from every news
channel to interview –- should we ever
find him.
(then)
But whatever his game is, we have to
play for now.
BATMAN
I found our weapons expert... Name’s
Joseph Rigger.
INT. BATCAVE – FLASH BACK
Batman, bent over his lab table, studying material
extracted from the bomb in the library.
BATMAN (V.O.)
I traced the explosive from the bomb in
the library. The manufacturer had a
break in over a month ago.
INT. CORRIDOR, FACTORY BUILDING – FLASH BACK
Batman drops through a ceiling vent landing on the corridor
floor.
INT. STORE ROOM, FACTORY BUILDING – FLASHBACK
Batman sifts through a pile of files in a file cabinet in
the corner of the room. He extracts one file, sets it on
the desk and reads through.
BATMAN (V.O.)
A former employee. Discharged from the
military for personality disorder. He’d
been employed with at the manufacturing
plant. Was let go early last year.
Reason unknown.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM, MCU, GOTHAM CENTRAL - LATER
Seated inside is JOSEPH RIGGER, 40’s, black, rawboned and
hardened... Gordon is seated across from him leafing
through some paperwork.
RIGGER
When can I go home?
62

GORDON
In a moment, Mr. Rigger.
(then)
You hear about the train bombing last
week?
RIGGER
Heard about it.
GORDON
You know who was responsible?
RIGGER
Nah. I don’t watch much TV. Never got
the time.
GORDON
Tell me, Mr. Rigger, do you like
riddles?
RIGGER
What?
GORDON
Riddles? Like, “where’s a fish keep its
money?”
(then)
A river bank.
RIGGER
Look, I don’t have time for this –-
GORDON
Here’s another riddle... You have a
daughter with special needs enrolled in
one of the best private schools in the
city. You have a minimum paying job.
How are you able to afford that?
RIGGER
Have you seen where I live? What kind
of car I drive? Every penny I earn goes
to my daughter. Each and every penny.
Gordon studies Rigger’s demeanor.
INT. BULLPEN, M.C.U. – LATER
Yindell watches as Dunham leads Rigger out of the building.
63

INT. PARKED SEDAN – CONTINUOUS


Edward watches with concern as Rigger descends the stairs
of Gotham Central.
INT. LIVING ROOM, EDWARD’S APARTMENT – LATER
We find Edward seated, brows furrowed. He has a gun in his
right hand which he twirls around calmly.
INT. BEDROOM, EDWARD’S APARTMENT – A BIT LATER
Edward, studying his reflection in the mirror. He now wears
a HALF-FACE MASK that covers his nose and mouth. In one
black-gloved hand, he holds a RETRACTABLE STEEL BATON...
Edward practices fast-drawing deleterious weapon, over and
over...
Edward reaches for a FEDORA HAT, places it on his head.
EXT. UNMARKED POLICE CAR - NIGHT
Two plainclothes detectives keep watch outside of a five
story apartment building.
Yindell opens the passenger side door and enters.
DETECTIVE #1
So why are we here lieutenant?
YINDELL
(gestures)
Waiting on him.
The detectives follow her gaze to see:
Rigger, across the street, walking up to an apartment
building and entering.
YINDELL
(re: Rigger)
Where he’s going, Batman won’t be too
far behind.
INT. RIGGER’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS
We hear keys turning in the lock and the front door opens.
Rigger enters his apartment and is immediately grabbed from
behind with a gun pointed at his head.
EDWARD/RIDDLER
Inside.
64

Rigger is shoved inside. He looks round providing us with


the perfect view of --
THE RIDDLER
trench coat, fedora hat, half-facemask, sun glasses, black-
gloved hands.
EDWARD/RIDDLER
You talking to the cops, Joe?
RIGGER
What? No, man. I told them nothing.
They got nothing. It’s the God’s honest
truth.
EDWARD/RIDDLER
There’s going to be a change of plans.
I won’t be requiring your service any
longer.
RIGGER
Whoa, hey, slow down man.
RIDDLER
How about a riddle? What’s sweaty,
scared and totally expendable?
RIGGER
Oh, God...?
EDWARD/RIDDLER
Getting warmer.
BATMAN (O.S.)
(half-growl)
Riddler.
Edward/Riddler turns to see Batman leap out of the shadows
and land on top of him in one deft movement. Rigger
scrambles away from the ensuing melee.
Batman hauls Riddler up to face level.
BATMAN
End of the line Riddler.
RIDDLER
But it’s just the beginning for me --
And Riddler releases the retractable baton from down his
sleeve, swings it hard, aiming for Batman’s head -- Batman
65

blocks the blow with his gauntlet and knocks Riddler down
with a vicious punch.
SUDDENLY FROM BEHIND
Rigger emerges, now wielding a FLAMETHROWER! He OPENS FIRE,
spraying a jet of LIQUID FIRE, bathing the entire living
room with fire –-
Batman raise his cape, shielding himself and the Riddler
from the hellish flames... Then he FIRES the SCALLOP BLADES
out of his GAUNTLET... one of the blades punctures one of
the FILLER CAPS and --
EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING – CONTINUOUS
Yindell and the detectives witness the EXPLOSION OF ORANGE
that rips through Rigger’s apartment. Flaming debris rains
all around.
YINDELL
That’s Joseph Rigger’s place!
The detectives scamper out of the car and head for the
building.
INT. RIGGER’S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS
Smoke wreathes the room. Riddler pushes himself up. He
looks himself over. He’s unscathed. He finds his gun,
points it at the badly burnt Rigger...
RIGGER
M-My daughter...
Riddler smiles pityingly.
RIDDLER
Question: Why do people think having
family gives them more of a right to
live?
RIGGER
P-Please?
RIDDLER
Sorry friend. Just trying to ease the
overburden of over population --
-- BANG! Rigger goes limp.
Riddler turns to Batman, buried under a heap of debris,
smoldering but undamaged. The Riddler aims his gun. A beat.
66

Batman comes to. Silence. They eye each other. The Riddler
lowers his gun.
RIDDLER
No. You’re time will come soon enough.
Riddler quickly makes his way to the door and bolts down
the hallway.
Batman staggers to his feet, his mind swimming with
dizziness. He suddenly hears Yindell and her team make
their way down the hall and to the apartment.
INT. CORRIDOR, APARTMENT BUILDING - CONTINUOUS
Yindell and Detectives #1 and #2 approach the apartment
door cautiously. Yindell gestures for the detectives to
follow her in --
INT. APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
As the detectives burst in, they find only Rigger’s smoky
remains. Suddenly they hear a noise coming from the
bedroom. Yindell is quickest to react as she moves across
the room, down the corridor of the small apartment –-
INT. APARTMENT – BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS
Yindell levels her weapon at the DARK FORM that quickly
moves out the window and scrambles up the rickety FIRE
ESCAPE to the roof.
YINDELL
Meet me on the roof!
Yindell holsters her gun, FLITS in the direction of the
window after the caped crusader.
EXT. APARTMENT ROOFTOP – SECONDS LATER
Yindell reaches the top of the roof, her eyes are wide,
almost frantic as she tries to control her breathing. She
draws her gun, looking all around her. It’s dark and hard
to see.
SILENCE.
Advancing carefully, she doesn’t notice the DARK FIGURE in
the b.g. leap down from a rooftop POWER SHACK. The BLACK
APPARITION rises slowly, looming, NIGHTMARISH...
Yindell hears a flapping cape behind her and whirls round
to face the GREAT SHADOWY FIGURE, her gun pointed –-
67

but Batman is quickest to react. He SWATS the gun away


catching Yindell completely off guard.
Batman stares Yindell down a beat. Fierce. A moment and
then Batman turns away. Yindell is frozen in place, unable
to move. She snaps out of it when detectives #1 and #2
barge through the “EMERGENCY EXIT” doors. They follow
Yindell’s gaze to see Batman standing on the roof ledge,
his cape open –- then he GLIDES, soaring across the 30 foot
expanse to another building.
Yindell curses softly to herself as Batman disappears into
the night.
EXT. SELINA’S APARTMENT – NEXT DAY
A ROLLS ROYCE pulls up by the curbside outside of Selina’s
building. Bruce steps out, hurried, a small brown paper bag
in hand.
INT. SELINA’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS
The door bell goes off a third time.
SELINA (O.S.)
Two seconds.
Selina enters the frame. She opens the door to find Bruce.
WAYNE
Hey. My flight out of Zurich got
delayed. I tried to call but no one
picked up. I’m sorry.
SELINA
What do you think, Otto?
She's addressing Otto, who non-committally licks a paw.
WAYNE
I brought muffins. Blueberry... And
something.
SELINA
Bruce... This is not working out. Last
night... I decided we were over.
WAYNE
Oh. Okay.
A beat and Bruce turns to go. Selina grabs Bruce by the
collar and leads him inside.
68

SELINA
Jesus Christ, Bruce. You could at least
stay for breakfast.
WATCHING FROM DOWN THE STREET: Bird, clad in black, on a
parked motorbike. He speaks into a cell phone.
BIRD
Pretty lady looked mad but one glance
at the Rolls parked outside of her
building, all was quickly forgotten.
Ain’t that always the way.
INT. ARESNAL/LAB – SAME TIME
BANE
Bird, go in loud. With a bang. I want
him disorientated and off balance. But
don’t kill him.
INTERCUT EXT. STREET/ INT. ARESNAL/LAB - NIGHT
BIRD
What? Why not?
BANE
Because Bird, the Batman is mine. Mine
to crack. Mine to break.
INT. ROLLS ROYCE – LATER
A whisper-smooth ride. Bruce sits silently, contemplating.
THROUGH THE BACK WINDOW: We see Bird on the motorcycle
accelerate towards the limousine, closing fast. And then he
swerves right and around the Rolls, overtaking, then taking
off like a torpedo.
EXT. STREETS – SECONDS LATER
Bird whips the bike around bringing it to a SCREECHING halt
in the middle of the road. Bird dismounts, waits.
WINDSHIELD POV: THE DRIVER sees Bird standing 100 yards
ahead, unassuming. Then calm as you like, Bird pulls out an
M16 ASSAULT RIFLE and trains it on the Rolls before firing
off a long BURST of SEMI-AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE –- BBRRRDDDTT!
INT/EXT. LIMOUSINE – CONTINUOUS
The windshield shatters as bullets rain in and a blizzard
of tiny glass shards blast through the car. The Driver
69

involuntarily SLAMS on the brakes, yanks the wheel sharply


to one side... The limo vaults violently off the sidewalk
and goes into an ass-over-tea-kettle ROLL down an
embankment...
The Rolls settles with a thump, lying on its roof. Smoke
billows.
EXT. OVERTURNED LIMOUSINE – CONTINUOUS
The passenger door is pushed open and Bruce pulls himself
out. He is bloody, still dazed. An easy target.
In the b.g. Bird approaches, rifle in hand –-
Bruce rises, still trying to orient himself. He turns to
face his assailant. Bird gives him the once over. Pause.
Then he tosses the rifle aside. He gestures.
BIRD
(points)
Bruce Wayne?
WAYNE
Wha –-
Bird lunges forward with a vicious side kick to Bruce’s
mid-section. Bruce goes flying backward several feet,
landing painfully on his back.
Bird saunters forward. Regaining his breath, Bruce tries to
pull himself up. But Bird launches another attack, sending
a couple of low kicks to the knee and torso in quick
succession. Then an elbow to the face. Bruce goes down.
Bird smiles, motions for Bruce to get up. As he rolls his
sleeves...
BIRD
Better fight back, Mr. Wayne. Otherwise
you won’t last five minutes.
Bruce pushes himself up, wincing in pain. He gets into a
combat stance. Bird regards him, amused –- Then he charges
but this time Bruce ducks, dodges and blocks, then slams
Bird in the chest, shoving him back.
Bird approaches again, more cautious, right leg slightly
cocked, ready... Bird lets one fly but Bruce blocks with
his arm. Bird makes another attempt with right but it’s a
FEINT... he quickly switches over to his left, foot coming
out like a shot, and knocking Bruce on the side of the
70

head. Bruce goes down one knee. Bird throws a knee but
Bruce quickly blocks and rolls away.
Bruce rises, breathing hard. Bird circles, assessing.
WAYNE
Who are you?... What do you want?
Bird just smiles, contemptuous. He gets into a martial
stance, a predator ready to pounce --
He throws himself at Bruce, unleashing punch after punch.
Bruce beats back the attack and then counters with a flurry
of his own. The matchup is fast, dirty, brutal, as both
fighters exchange harder, faster punches and kicks --
Locked together now, they grapple until Bruce flips Bird
over his shoulder with a karate move and leaps on top of
him...
They wrestle furiously. Bird manages to get Bruce in a
guillotine chokehold. Bruce struggles. Bird holds, strong
and determined. Bruce fights on. He picks himself up, lifts
Bird and drives him back several feet before dumping him
hard on his back.
Bruce follows up -- a knee in the ribs, then a left hook
catching Bird hard. Bird rolls away awkwardly... Bruce
throws a kick, Bird catches the kicking leg, drives Bruce
back and down to the ground. They wrestle. Animalistic.
Relentless. The two men tiring now...
Until finally Bruce gets Bird in rear naked chokehold using
his legs as hooks for leverage...
CLOSE ON BRUCE
as he tugs hard, using all his strength. Until finally Bird
slumps...
Bruce pants for air. He forces the body off and pulls
himself up.
Bruce stands there, still in shock. Breathless. He stares
down at Bird’s sprawled form. Then he half-sits, holding
his ribcage.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM, MCU, GOTHAM CENTRAL – LATER
Bullock sits across from Bird.
71

BULLOCK
So, you know who he was, don’t you?
That you attacked? Bruce Wayne. You’re
never gonna see the light day, you know
that? Maximum lock-up. And fellas
inside’ll have you singing a whole
opera.
Bird bursts out laughing.
BIRD
Do I look worried? Your country clubs
don’t scare me, fat man?
Bird laughs again. Bullock also laughs... Then suddenly
jumps on top of Bird, pounds into him like a punching bag.
Dunham and two officers burst in the room. They grapple
with Bullock, trying to restrain him. Bird keeps on
laughing, impervious to the pain.
INT. PRECINCT – OFFICE – SAME TIME
Still stunned, Bruce sits waiting. He is bruised up, looks
very tired and dirty.
Gordon enters.
GORDON
Mr. Wayne?
Bruce rises. They shake hands.
WAYNE
Commissioner Gordon.
GORDON
How are you doing?
WAYNE
I’m fine. Still jittery but managing.
GORDON
This “Bird” came at you with an assault
rifle. I’d say you’re managing pretty
well.
(then)
You have a martial arts background?
WAYNE
Some Aikido. I took self-defense in
college.
72

GORDON
Princeton, right?
Bruce nods. Gordon sizes him up. Then...
GORDON
Well, he’s not talking. He’s most
definitely a stooge, under orders from
someone.
WAYNE
Do you have any idea who?
GORDON
None. His lips are sealed. Such loyalty
is a rarity among hoods.
EXT. PRECINCT – A BIT LATER
Bruce moves past swarming photojournalists and over-
aggressive TV reporters. As he descends the steps he sees
Alfred standing before him.
INT. BAR/RESTAURANT – LATER
A low-ceilinged cottage pub. Bruce and Alfred sit at a
corner table.
ALFRED
So, what’d this “Bird” character have
to say for himself?
WAYNE
He’s tight-lipped about everything.
ALFRED
What do you think he wanted?
WAYNE
I don’t know. What’s even more strange
is that he just hurled away his weapon
before coming at me.
ALFRED
You’re saying he wasn’t looking to kill
you, but to fight?
WAYNE
I’m saying he maybe knows who I am,
Alfred.
Alfred reacts, shocked.
73

ALFRED
How? We’ve been so careful.
WAYNE
Reese was found dead. He was tortured
and badly beaten.
ALFRED
You think there’s a connection?
WAYNE
I think so. What’s more, I’m certain
I’m being watched. Also followed.
A beat to digest this.
ALFRED
I hear that another task force has been
assigned to take you down.
BATMAN
Had a run in with them not too long
ago.
ALFRED
You can’t keep doing this, Master
Wayne, going against criminals and the
police. You look quite drained.
Bruce nods, smiling, appreciative of his long time friend’s
concern.
WAYNE
I should go. Thank you, Alfred.
ALFRED
Anytime. Oh, by the way, I forgot my
Lee Enfield rifle back at the manor.
Would there be a suitable time for me
to stop by...
WAYNE
You still have the keys? Stop by
anytime.
ALFRED
Thank you. I will.
WAYNE
See you Alfred.
Bruce nods and then exits.
74

INT. UNMARKED VAN – CONTINUOUS


Zombie sits in the driver seat, Trogg in the passenger
side. In the back, Bane watches Bruce exit the
bar/restaurant.
BANE
This Bruce Wayne is nothing but a
mask... A mask that soon will no longer
serve any purpose.
TROGG
Shall we go after him now.
BANE
No, continue your surveillance. Now is
not the time. But soon. Soon the Batman
will be ready to fall.
ZOMBIE
What about Bird?
BANE
Bird can manage on his own. We’re
closing in our prey, there should be no
distractions.
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
We see a man integrated in the shadows. He wears a trench
coat and a fedora hat. A black-gloved hand reaches down to
pick up a NIGHT CLUB FLYER.

INT. NIGHTCLUB - LATER


Dramatic décor, spinning strobe lights and pounding music.
The place is packed with hundreds of people, bodies
thriving against each other.
Edward is the middle of it all, moving through the mass of
moving bodies.
ABOVE
HARLEY QUINN exits a VIP booth and saunters down an empty
hallway. She wears white make up with a black domino mask
over her eyes. Her untidily kept hair is dyed black and red
and runs over the sides.
We follow as she makes her way down the narrow hallway...
WATCHING FROM DOWN THE HALL
75

The Riddler. Collar up, hat pulled down low. He waits for
Quinn to turn down another corridor and then he follows.
DOWN THE CORRIDOR
Quinn reaches her destination, opens the door and enters.
Riddler follows close behind. Edging closer, he removes a
.22 from inside his trench coat. He stands a moment by the
door, reaches for the door knob and twists --
INT. OFFICE – SECONDS LATER
As Riddler enters two men in clown masks grab him from
behind and force him inside. Quinn seated as if waiting on
him.
CLOWN #1 seizes the gun and looks inside.
CLOWN #1
It isn’t loaded.
QUINN
Sit him down.
CLOWN #2 reaches for the Riddler’s face mask.
QUINN
No. Leave it. Whatever’s underneath is
just another layer. Besides, I’m not
interested in the man behind the mask.
(to Riddler)
Do you know who I am, mystery man?
Riddler nods almost imperceptibly.
HARLEY QUINN
Interesting. You know who I am, yet you
come here with an unloaded .22 caliber.
Hmm... You’re either hopelessly naive
or just incredibly stupid. Either way,
Mister, uh...
RIDDLER
Riddler.
HARLEY QUINN
Aah... Was wondering when our paths
would cross. Little sooner than I had
hoped. So riddle me this, Riddler...
(leans in)
76

QUINN (cont’d)
... what does Gotham’s most wanted
criminal mastermind want with me?
Riddler raises his hands slightly in a peaceful gesture,
then with a sudden FLICK of his right hand and the
retractable steel baton POPS out and into his hand and he
strikes CLOWN #1 and #2 with vicious abandon.
HARLEY QUINN
Impressive.
RIDDLER
You will be even more impressed when
you hear my plan.
HARLEY QUINN
(smiles)
I’m all ears.
INT. GRAND HOTEL BALLROOM – NIGHT
A luxurious BANQUET, lavishly decorated, filled with
wealthy, generally important people elegantly dressed in
formal attire. Waiters circulate with HORS D’OEUVRE and
flutes of champagne. A signboard reads “G.C.P.D. Widows and
Children Relief Fund”...
Mayor Hill stands in one corner with his retinue of lackeys
and two discreet security men.
Guests are mingling, chatting, being pleasantly social.
Wayne stands on his own, his mind elsewhere.
MAYOR HILL (O.S.)
At last, the most elusive Mr. Wayne?

Wayne turns to see the Mayor stepping over.


WAYNE
Mayor Hill. Glad you could make it.
MAYOR HILL
Well it’s for an important cause. You
know, Gotham’s widows don’t have too
many people to turn to for financial
support.
WAYNE
Gotham’s been good to me. I’m just
returning thanks.
77

MAYOR HILL
Indeed. You know, so much has been
overlooked over the years, and we
certainly appreciate your generous
donations --
ALLEN
(interrupting)
Mayor Hill, allow me to introduce
Edward Nashton. Edward, your greatest
fan, Mayor Hill.
Everyone turns to see Edward walk up...
EDWARD
It’s an honor, Mr. Mayor.
MAYOR HILL
Aah, Mr. Nashton. The Mayor’s office
certainly appreciates your work. Wish
we had more like you, in fact. This is
Bruce Wayne, one of the founders and
chairman of the board.
WAYNE
(nods in greeting)
Gentlemen.
Edward extends his hand. Bruce takes it.
EDWARD
Gotham’s favorite son. It’s a pleasure.
MAYOR HILL
Edward here is on the forefront of the
anti-Batman movement that’s been
gaining traction of late.
WAYNE
So you’re the rage?
EDWARD
Well, I’m merely providing clarity.
What about you, Mr. Wayne, you’re not a
fan of the Batman, are you?
WAYNE
Well, I’m hardly abreast with the
latest views on the matter. But from
what I hear, Batman’s got the got the
criminal’s running scared. Albeit
78

WAYNE (cont’d)
through illegal means. But surely,
there is a need for the Batman’s
continued presence here in Gotham. Who
else is going to battle these masked
crazies? This Riddler fellow for
example?
EDWARD
But you see, it’s the Batman’s
continued presence that attracts this
particular brand of criminal, one who
claims no particular agenda and makes
no specific demands... That kills out
of lust and not greed.
WAYNE
So how do you suggest we cope against
this new brand of criminal without the
Batman if, as you have claimed many
times on air, the Gotham Police aren’t
up to it?
MAYOR HILL
Well, I think with the right amount of
funding and training for law
enforcement, we could have more
successful policing to combat this more
violent criminal element.
GORDON (O.S.)
And perhaps that’s where I come in.
The CAMERA SWINGS to Commissioner Gordon as he steps over.
MAYOR HILL
Commissioner?
GORDON
Gentlemen. Mr. Nashton, according to
you, once the Batman ceases to be,
masked criminals will respond in kind.
But what if that isn’t the case? What
if you’re wrong?
EDWARD
Well, clearly the status quo is
unacceptable. So either we change
things, remove Batman entirely, or we
79

EDWARD (cont’d)
watch Gotham continue to devolve into
something akin to absolute anarchy.
WAYNE
You make a fair point Mr. Nashton.
However, what’s often overlooked is
that crime was eating Gotham alive
before the Batman. Yes, he’s breaking
the law, but his methods have worked.
Maybe there’s a middle ground.
Edward smiles icily while conjuring up a response.
EDWARD
Mr. Wayne, I think it’s frightening you
see things that way. Pinning our hopes
on a flying rodent --
WAYNE
Bats aren’t rodents, Mr. Nashton.

Edward, jaw rigid, looks at Bruce like he wants to reach


and rip his throat out. But he doesn’t. He just smiles.
Mayor Hill interjects.
MAYOR HILL
Gentlemen, this is party. Shall we save
the debate for another night?
INT. BALLROOM – A BIT LATER
Wayne is up at the podium. He hands over a novelty check to
a city official. Musters a smile for the cameras. In the
crowd, he notices --
GORDON, approached by a uniformed officer, and then exiting
the ballroom.
INT. CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS
Gordon has gathered of group of cops from the party. They
discuss quietly, careful not to alert anyone. Gordon looks
troubled.
ON WAYNE
watching discreetly from afar.
EXT. STREET
Several marked and unmarked police cars accelerate past.
80

OVERHEAD
Batman swings into view, leaping onto rooftops, landing
perfectly, keeping pace with the speeding police cruisers.
EXT. EMPTY ROOM, INDUSTRIAL BUILDING – MOMENTS LATER
A dozen uniformed police, Bullock, Dunham and Gordon stand
before another bomb placed in one corner of the empty room.
CLOSE ON GORDON’S HAND
an envelope with a question mark. Gordon pulls out whatever
it is in the envelope... A PHOTO of the bomb sitting before
them.
ON GORDON
perplexed.
GORDON
A deserted tenement. No one, nothing
even close to the vicinity... No
riddle! Just an address. The question
mark insignia. A photo of the bomb.
This doesn’t make a lick of sense.
BULLOCK
Could be another hoax, sir.
GORDON
No, the Riddler sent us the codeword.
This is the real thing. But something’s
amiss.
BATMAN (O.S.)
The bomb’s a fake.
Everyone’s twists round, guns aimed. A large shadow
detaches itself from a wall... Batman!
GORDON
Hey... HEY! Lower your weapons dammit.
Batman approaches. He produces a nifty, HAND-HELD DETECTION
DEVICE and then a small card which he swipes against the
surface of the bomb. Then he inserts the card inside the
detection device.
A moment. Batman reads the display.
BULLOCK
Well?
81

BATMAN
Riddler threw us a curve this time. Why?
GORDON
He’s never done anything like this
before.
BATMAN
He wants to prove that he’s smarter
than we are.
GORDON
And I doubt a simple false alarm would
suffice.

Batman consults the computer connected to the bomb


detonators.

BULLOCK
Hey, careful.
INT. HOTEL BALLROOM – SAME TIME
SUDDENLY the powers goes out. Everything is shrouded in
darkness...
ALTERED P.O.V.
SEEN THROUGH NIGHT VISION GOOGLES, observing the panicked
guests. Then focuses on the mayor, seated, surrounded by
his bodyguards. The observer calmly but quickly moves
across the room through the scrambling crowd, headed for
the mayor --
ANGLE ON THE OBSERVER -- HARLEY QUINN
in a HAREQUIN MASK and three cronies in clown masks and
dressed in black suddenly descend upon the Mayor and his
bodyguards from several direction at once like hungry
wolves...
Harley moves acrobatically. She disarms one bodyguard with
a blow to the neck and then spins into the second with a
brutal kick to the midsection followed by a reverse elbow
strike to the face.
The Mayor sits up now, panicked, preparing for the worst
when suddenly --
A HAND
grabs him from behind and YANKS him forcefully OFFSCREEN.
82

INT. CITY HALL - LATER


Commissioner Gordon stands in front of a mic-jammed podium
addressing the gathered press.
GORDON
... Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for
coming. Mayor Hill was kidnapped by an
unknown in the late hours of last night
while he attended last night’s charity
ball.
Murmurs go up, shocked voices, cellphones get keyed.
GORDON (cont’d)
As of yet we’ve received no telephone
calls, ransom demands or any other
communication. Now I want to emphasize
that this investigation is ongoing, and
we continue to pursue a number of leads
as we gather useful intelligence
related to the kidnapping. I’ve
cancelled leaves, put extra men on duty
and double shifts... We will follow
every lead, exhaust every possibility.
Be assured that those responsible will
be brought to justice.
BULLOCK (O.S.)
Commissioner?
Gordon turns. Bullock motions for Gordon to follow him out
the room.
INT. OFFICE, CITY HALL – MOMENTS LATER
Gordon and other officers gather around a TV in one corner
of the room.
ON TV:
HARLEY QUINN (O.S.)
Are we on?
Harley moves so that she’s before the camera. She wears the
harlequin, waves at the camera. Behind her we see the Mayor
mouth-gagged, hands tied back to a chair.
HARLEY QUINN
Evening Commissioner, people of Gotham,
pardon the interruption but the
83

HARLEY QUINN (cont’d)


following is of utmost importance...
Mayor Hill has been kidnapped... by
ME!... Harley Quinn. The Joker Queen.
The price is 20 million. And the Joker
released to St Luke’s Hospital where he
can get the right kind of medical care.
You have 48... No, 36 hours. Or I start
carving.
Quinn slides behind the Mayor. She looks up at the screen
trains a blade across his mouth. The Mayor struggles.
QUINN
Now, now, Mr. Mayor, how about a smile
for the camera’s.
Quinn laughs, haunting. The image cuts to static.
ON GORDON AND OTHERS
stunned looks all around as a silence envelopes the room.
INT. APARTMENT – LATE NIGHT
We’re in an empty, dark apartment. The door knob twists...
As the door swings open --
WALLACE (O.S.)
Hey guys, it’s crazy out there. Cops is
–- Hey!
Wallace looks across at the empty apartment. There’s no one
around. Then, from behind...
BATMAN (O.S.)
Your friends left... Knew I would track
them down.
The doors SLAMS behind as Wallace turns... His eyes widen
in terror –- and Batman grabs him by the lapel and lifts
him up so that his feet are off the ground.
BATMAN
You remember me, don’t you? You
remember what happened that night? I
was feeling mellow then. But not
tonight!
Batman hurls Wallace sending him crashing to the floor.
Batman descends on him like a cloaked nightmare, throws a
punch.
84

WALLACE
No! Get away from me --
BATMAN
The Mayor’s been kidnapped. I know
you’re very concerned about that.
Wallace tries crawling away.
WALLACE
No... Stay back! Stay away!
BATMAN
Give me the Joker Queen!
WALLACE
What? No man, she’s just a rumor! There
is no Joker Queen. She doesn’t exist.
Batman lifts Wallace by the neck then KKERRASH! -- puts
Wallace through a window HEAD FIRST! Wallace screams and
yells –
Batman pulls him out then dumps him on the floor and clamps
a gloved hand around his throat.
BATMAN
Next time you go flying out.
WALLACE
Oh God. Ha-Harley Q-Quinn -- S-She’s --
No one sees her. She’s behind the
scenes, orchestrating --
BATMAN
WHERE IS SHE?!
WALLACE
M-My arm -- Help me!
BATMAN
WHERE?!
WALLACE
I-I don’t know -- No one knows -- S-She
just shows up... The pain... Please?
After a moment Batman releases Wallace. He rises, turns,
disgusted with himself. Wallace weeps uncontrollably. A
beat.
Batman exits the apartment.
85

EXT. ROOF, APARTMENT BUILDING – MINUTES LATER


Batman is caved forward against a wall, mask off, his face
in a grimace of affliction... an inner turmoil we couldn’t
begin to comprehend. Bruce’s right hand clutches at this
chest as he draws long breath and lets them out slowly.
ON TROGG
watching from several rooftops away.
TROGG
(into mic)
He’s at the end of his rope. He don’t
know which way to jump.
INT. BUILDING – CONTINUOUS
Bane and Zombie review a blue print of Wayne Manor.
BANE
The moment is drawing close. Keep us
informed, Trogg.
ZOMBIE
(re: map)
This area below stretches across the
entire Wayne estate.
BANE
He’s got something under there.
ZOMBIE
A war room perhaps. If so, it will more
than likely be rigged with a
sophisticated security system in order
to prevent all measures of
infiltration.
Bane considers the map. Thinking.
INT. GORDON’S OFFICE - NIGHT
Gordon is seated in his office. Yindell enters, takes a
seat.
YINDELL
The Bat-Signal’s been on for over an
hour.
GORDON
You have your men posted on the roof?
86

YINDELL
Absolutely.
Gordon regards Yidell a moment.
GORDON
You have a problem with me, Lieutenant?
YINDELL
I don’t like that you’re consorting
with a rogue vigilante, Commissioner.
All due respect. I don’t like that you
constantly apologize or even come to
his defense. He’s murdered cops. A city
official. That’s according to you.
GORDON
It was dark Lieutenant, all we saw was
a masked man in a cape. Could’ve been
anybody.
YINDELL
Perhaps.
GORDON
It was my family that was kidnapped
that night, lieutenant. Many often
forget.
YINDELL
I know.
(then)
The Mayor has me in mind to replace
you. I thought you should know.
GORDON
I’m aware.
Tense beat.
YINDELL
I wonder Commissioner, what would it
take for you to turn on Batman.

Gordon looks at Yindell as she rises and exits. He looks


out the window, wonders to himself.
INT. WAREHOUSE – NIGHT
Harley Quinn sits across from the Mayor. She wears the
harlequin mask to conceal her identity.
87

HARLEY QUINN
You’ve been using mob money to further
your political ambitions, Mr. Mayor.

The Mayor reacts, surprised.

HARLEY QUINN (cont’d)


I can prove it too.

The Mayor regards Harley Quinn with disdain.


MAYOR
You won’t get away with this.
HARLEY QUINN
Oh, but I will. We’re several steps
ahead on this one. And thanks to you,
Batman has been marginalized.
The Riddler walks in a huff.
RIDDLER
What is this? I said the Commissioner.
Not the Mayor.
Quinn walks over, calm as you like.
QUINN
What’s the difference?
RIDDLER
The difference? Look, everything was
planned and arranged, intricately. To
be executed precisely. Everything.
QUINN
(laughs)
That’s the problem with criminals in
Gotham. With all you’re planning and
scheming... You don’t realize you’re
playing into Batman’s hands.
RIDDLER
(raging)
So obvious and tactless. That’s your
problem.
QUINN
It’s the way we do things. The way the
Joker would’ve wanted it.
88

RIDDLER
The Joker’s insubstantial, dammit. He’s
a cripple.
In a flash of an eye, Harley Quinn lashes out, chops
Riddler in the throat. He staggers.

QUINN
That’s where you’re wrong, Riddler. The
Joker’s the nightmare Batman can’t
awake from. The rest of you are just...
practice.
Quinn turns and walks up to the Mayor. One of the clowns
hands her a POUCH full of FEAR TOXIN.
RIDDLER
Wait, what’re you doing?
QUINN
Mr. Mayor needs to know what abject
terror feels like.
Quinn walks up to the Mayor, leans in.
MAYOR
What is that?
QUINN
Fear toxin... A very potent dose.
Something for you to remember us by.
The Mayor is shaken to his very core.
INT. BATCAVE - NIGHT
Wayne consults a TACTICAL MAP on the computer flat screen
closely. He appears depleted, he hasn’t slept for hours.
Wayne looks across, at the location of the Riddler’s first
attack. He taps the keyboard to mark the location. Then he
moves on to the location of the second attack. Taps the
keyboard and then again until he has all four locations.
Then a realization hits...
Again he types quickly on the keyboard, working intently
now.
ANGLE ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN:
the computer draws up a discernible pattern... WE PULL BACK
TO GET A CLEAR VIEW OF THE COMPUTER MONITOR and see what
89

looks like a large QUESTION MARK.


Wayne reacts. He ZOOMS IN on the final point on the map...
EXT. CENTER OF FAIR GROUNDS - LATER

It’s dark. The place is deserted.

Batman stands, glancing around, eyes roving, deducing. His


attention is drawn to a notice board in one corner. He
walks over.

There’s an envelope marked with a question mark pinned on


the board. Batman pulls it down and opens it. The note
inside reads:

I am the only thing that always tells


the truth. I show off everything that I
see. I come in all shapes and sizes. So
tell me what I must be!

Batman looks up, across. His eyes land on the HALL OF


MIRRORS.

INT. HALL OF MIRRORS – CONTINUOUS

Batman enters. It’s dark, eerily quiet. Batman examines his


surroundings with a PENLIGHT. Nothing out of the ordinary.
He walks through, cautious. The mirrors are of various
geometric shapes, curved, concave, convex... It is darker,
more distorted as Batman steps further into the
LABYRINTH...

SUDDENLY... INCESSANT LAUGHTER coming from all


directions... JOKER CLONES, menacing and burly, approach,
wielding an assortment of deadly weapons –- baseball bats,
switch blades, tire chains, lengths of pipe, crowbars,
etc...

ON BATMAN

his eyes narrow, harden. He glances from one side to


another as his assailants close in.

They attack all at once. Batman JUDO-FLIPS one into a


mirror, roundhouse kicks one across the jaw knocking out
teeth. Batman SWEEP KICKS knocking another off his feet...
90

Batman ducks a swinging tire chain, STRIKES a Joker Clone


in the throat and then DRIVES a fist into his nose.

Another Joker Clone emerges with a FLAMETHROWER, aims the


nozzle at Batman and squeezes the trigger... the gas-fed
stream of flame forces Batman back and then –-

Batman steps onto TRAPDOOR, falls through!

INT. BASEMENT ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Batman lands hard, his ankle TWISTS beneath him.

Ankle high water splashes all around as Batman reorients


himself. He looks all around at his surroundings... We’re
in a bright, fluorescent lit room. There’s a CHAIN LINK
fence about four feet from the floor on all four corners.
ICE COLD WATER seeps through the many NOOZLES in the
ground.

Computer SPEAKERS and two security cams are seen mounted


high on the walls. Through the speakers:

RIDDLER (O.S.)
Welcome Batman. Welcome to this
protracted tale’s final chapter...
Welcome to the ultimate death trap.

Batman staggers to his feet with a pained expression.

INT. UNKNOWN - CONTINOUS

We’re in a dark room. Location unknown. Edward as the


Riddler watches Batman through a monitor. He speaks into a
microphone.

RIDDLER (O.S.)
This is the king of keen-witted
conundrums. This is... the Riddler.

INT. BASEMENT ROOM - CONTINUOUS

RIDDLER (cont’d)
I went through pains with its design
and implementation. It’s a bit of a
rush job but it’ll get the job done.
91

Batman notices the Mayor curled in a ball in one corner,


trembling with fear.

RIDDLER (cont’d)
Oh, don’t mind Mr. Mayor. He’s been
pumped so full of fear toxin, he’s
hallucinating like sunburned hippy.

MAYOR’S P.O.V.: Batman, hellish and fierce,

The Riddler laughs, then...

RIDDLER (cont’d)
So here’s the setup: the chain links
all around the wall are electrically
charged. The water’s flowing through
the nozzles in the ground
continuously... To stop the water, you
will need to answer my riddles,
correctly... Now here’s the nasty
part... Answer wrong, and the level
keeps rising and rising until they
touch the voltage in the fence and fry
you. Ha, pretty good, don’t you think?
Now, you can’t go back because the
trapdoor is now blocked. You can’t dig
your way out because you’re on a
concrete floor... There isn’t much a
point to all this I suppose. You
joining the halo and harp crowd is
something of an inevitability.

INT. UNKNOWN - CONTINOUS

RIDDLER
It’s merely a matter of when. You’re
always so calm and even keeled... It’s
going to be fun watching you squirm.
Are you ready, Batman?

Batman looks up at the mounted camera, jaw grinding.

RIDDLER
Let us begin, shall we. Question,
92
93
94
95
96
97

INT. DRAINAGE SYSTEM – CONTINUOUS

Batman climbs down into this labyrinth of round PIPEWAYS.


He shines the penlight and splashes onwards with the Mayor
in tow.

INT. EDWARD’S APARTMENT – SAME TIME

Edward slowly sits, his head in his hands. A long beat...


Then all of a sudden Edward EXPLODES -- he grabs one end of
the table and hurls it up in the air as he rises... the TV
goes flying, crashing into the ground and into a million
pieces.

INT. ARSENAL/LAB – EARLY MORNING

We find Bane in the middle of strenuous work out. Zombie is


in the b.g. standing over a lab table mixing a concoction
of chemicals into tubular glass vials.

Meanwhile, ON TV:

NEWS ANCHOR
... Mayor Hill was found in the early
hours of the morning seated on the
steps of City Hall looking pale and
sick. The Mayor was quickly rushed to
an undisclosed location for immediate
evaluation...

Bane abandons his workout and walks up to the TV.

NEWS ANCHOR (ON TV)


Unidentified sources claim that Batman
was seen on a ledge over the entrance
of the newly named council building
opposite City Hall. Whether that
denotes direct involvement in the
kidnapping or rescue of Mayor Hill
remains to be seen.

A cellular phone next to the gym equipment rings. Bane


answers.

TALIA AL GHUL (O.S.)


One of your team was arrested.
98

INTERCUT INT. ARSENAL/LAB / INT. UNKNOWN - CONTINUOUS

BANE
Bird. The situation is taken care of.
He knows not to talk.

TALIA
I’ve seen to that.

QUICK SHOT of Bird collapsed, convulsing, FOAM running down


his mouth.

BACK TO:

Bane’s face contorts, showing the slightest bit of remorse.

TALIA
Time is running out for you. I want
Batman dead. If you can’t manage that
then I can find someone who can. Are we
clear?

Bane’s face grows angry and hard.

BANE
Yes.

Bane hangs up the phone. Zombie hands Bane a gas-powered


pistol-injector with a vial inserted. Bane presses the
injector against his neck –- he tenses, grits his teeth,
neck muscles contracting and bulging. Bane fights to keep
his body thrashing as the serum enters his bloodstream. The
pain is excruciating but he keeps it together...

When it's over, Bane turns and walks over to the gym
equipment. He hits the weights hard, raging like a bull --
pushing and heaving, muscles pulsing, mad, frenzied,
powerful, grunting loudly as he exerts.

INT. STUDIO, GNN BUILDING – MORNING

Edward sits amidst all the usual bustle and activity,


staring into the distance, thinking.

INT. ALLEN’S OFFICE – MINUTES LATER


There’s a knock on the door.
99

ALLEN
Come in.

EDWARD
Allen. You know I was thinking maybe we
could look into getting another Bat-
villain to interview.

ALLEN
Not a chance Edward. Too much red tape.
Especially after what’s happened with
the Mayor.

EDWARD
But Mayor Hill assured me --

ALLEN
Mayor Hill has been hospitalized. God
knows what’s been done to him. It’s too
dangerous right now. We have to be
careful. Matter of fact, you’re going
to need to tone it down on the Batman
rhetoric. Gotham is a ticking time bomb
at the moment. We should refrain from
stoking the flames of fear and hysteria
into a roaring inferno.

Edward fumes like a scolded teenager.


EDWARD
Maybe so. But why should you care. So
long as the viewers are tuning in...

ALLEN
What viewers? You’re rating are sinking
Edward. Engel is back on top now.

EDWARD
Engel?

Edward’s face loses all its warmth and it seems as if his


flesh was carved on granite.
INT. DRESSING ROOM – LATER

Edward watches a recent recording of Engel’s show.


100

CLOSE ON EDWARD

his face burning red with fury.

Suddenly a cellphone rings from somewhere. Edward removes a


cellphone from his breast pocket, looks at it hesitantly.
Finally he answers...

EDWARD
Hello?

HARELY QUINN (O.S.)


(discreet)
What the hell have you done?

EDWARD
Sorry? Who is this?

INT. UNKNOWN LOCATION - CONTINUOUS

CLOSE ON HARLEY QUINN

Minus the Harlequin mask. For the moment we only see the
back of her head.

HARLEY QUINN
You know who this is. What were you
thinking? I told you not to harm the
Mayor until after I gave the go ahead.

INTERCUT INT. DRESSING ROOM/ INT. UNKNOWN LOCATION - NIGHT


EDWARD
Uh, I think you have the wrong number.

HARLEY QUINN
Joker always said, you have to do
everything yourself.

EDWARD
(angry)
Now you listen. This was my plan all
along. And next time you ought to check
where your men’s loyalties lay. They
were practically throwing themselves at
me soon as I through a little money
around.
101

HARLEY QUINN
And next time we meet Riddler, I’m
burying you in a hole so deep no one
will ever get close to digging you out.
Do you understand me?

ON EDWARD

as Quinn hangs up abruptly. He looks increasingly agitated.

He looks back to the TV monitor playing the recording of


Engel’s show. A dark cloud passes over his face. His month
twists into an angry snarl.

INT. LOCKER ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Harley Quinn puts the cell phone away. Her back to us, her
face hidden. A moment and then she turns around... And it
strikes us how soft and innocent she looks. She slides on a
white coat and glasses, checks her reflection in the mirror
and exits.

INT. CORRIDOR, HOSPITAL – CONTINUOUS

Quinn enters the corridor and immediately blends in with


other doctors and nurses. She smiles and nods to patients
as she makes her way down the hall.

Her attention is drawn to the TV mounted on the wall,


blaring the latest news:

ON TV:

NEWSCASTER
... Latest reports indicate that all
deals are off with the terrorist group
known as the “Joker Clones.”

CUT TO:

GORDON
The Mayor is in an undisclosed
location. Safe. I see no reason we
should bow to their demands. The Joker
will be returned to Arkham as soon
possible.
102

REPORTER
But are the facilities at Arkham are
suitable enough for a quadriplegic?

GORDON
To my knowledge, yes. The Joker will
have access to the same health services
you and I get. Courtesy of our tax
payers. What more can one ask for?

ON QUINN

shaken. Emotions ripple across her face.

VOICE (O.S.)
Hey doll, what’s eating you?

Quinn turns. A male nurse drapes one arm around her.

MALE NURSE
I know just what you need to put a
smile back on that face.

QUINN
(smiles)
So do I.

INT. LOCKER ROOM, HOSPITAL – CONTINUOUS

Quinn leads the male nurse into the locker room. They smile
and giggle. The male nurse leans in to kiss but Quinn ducks
her head playfully, leading him by the hand to her locker.

QUINN
I want to show you something. But I
warn you, once you see this, there’s no
turning back.

MALE NURSE
I like where this is going.

Quinn opens her locker. There’s a duffel bag which she


pulls out and lays on the floor.

QUINN
There’s something about masks...
Something that fascinates me.
103

Quinn removes the HARELQUIN MASK. The male nurse looks at


the mask confused.

QUINN
The harlequin’s associated with the
Italian Theater form, commedia
dell'arte, a forerunner to the
Whiteface clown... Typically regarded
as a clumsy personality, a buffoon
constantly playing fool... But in
actual fact he’s meant to be a more sly
and sinister character... very dark and
dangerous.

Harley smiles at him just the way a predator might. She


puts on mask.

QUINN
What do you think?

MALE NURSE
Uhh...

Quinn raises an arm and a small puff of GAS sprays from her
sleeve. The male nurse recoils, coughing and choking. Then
he looks up at Quinn. Through his eyes:

The Harlequin mask turns DEMONIC, horned, with sharp teeth


and glaring eyes...

QUINN
What about now?

The male nurse stares -- glassy eyed -- coming apart.


INT. ENGEL’S APARTMENT - NIGHT
A knock on the door. Engel looks through the peep hole and
lets out a slight guffaw. He opens the door. It’s Edward.

INT. LIVING ROOM, ENGEL’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Edward sits across from Engel. Engel laughs as he pours


himself a drink.

ENGEL
So you watched last night’s segment? It
104

ENGEL (cont’d)
was a good one too: “Edward Nashton,
Entertainment fluff or dangerous mind?”
(laughs)
Don’t think what you’ve done has gone
unappreciated, Eddy.

Engel waves around a TV magazine with Edward’s face on the


front cover.

ENGEL (cont’d)
You’ve changed the face of TV news,
Eddy. With your feverish, heavily
emotional style. It has resonated well
with viewers. Controversial yet
popular. You’ve achieved a lightning-
rod status that no other news anchor
has ever acquired. You should be proud.

No response from Edward. Engel laughs, rises and moves


across the room to the mini-bar to get more drinks.

ENGEL
Something to drink, Eddy?

Again no response. Engel regards Edward a moment, then


laughs.

ENGEL (cont’d)
You know, Eddy, there’s something about
you I find unsettling. You haven’t said
but two words since you walked in.
You’re not one of those
introvert/extrovert types we get on the
radio, are you? Quiet off air but
raging like a wildfire on air.

Engel laughs again. Nothing from Edward. He fixes Engel


with a dead stare, jaw twitching slightly.

ENGEL (cont’d)
Seriously Eddy, I can just about hear
your gears grinding. Whatever’s on your
mind, better to let it out.
105

Edward’s mood suddenly lightens up. He laughs harshly,


slaps a knee gleefully. He laughs and laughs, wheezing now.

Engel grins nervously.

ENGEL (cont’d)
Something funny, Eddy?
(gestures)
What’s in the bag?

Still laughing, Edward wipes away tears. He zips the duffel


bag open.

EDWARD
Well Engel, a couple of things...
First...

Edward removes the fedora hat. Puts it on has he stands.

EDWARD
Second...

Edward slides on the black hand-gloves as he strides over,


cool as they come. Engel giggles nervously.

ENGEL
Eddy?

EDWARD
And third...

Edward flicks a wrist and steel baton slides down one


sleeve -– Edward swings, STRIKES Engel across the face. And
then a second time on the head. Engel tries to speak but
his jaw is broken.

EDWARD
What’s that Engel? Why? Life’s full of
questions, isn’t it? Though naturally I
prefer to think of them as riddles.

Edward swings a third time, slashing Engel across the back.

EDWARD
So you like riddles, Engel? Here’s a
good one...
106

Edward lashes out again.

EDWARD (cont’d)
How does an unpopular TV pundit
suddenly become Gotham’s most
celebrated personality? Hmm? I’ll give
you a clue, shall I?... I confound with
conundrums, unnerve with enigmas, I
perplex with puzzles. I entrap with
riddles...

Edward follows as Engel tries crawling away.

EDWARD (cont’d)
See what I’ve done Engel? It’s so
brilliant, so Machiavellian, I had to
tell someone about it... Otherwise I’d
have suffocated... But now I have to
kill you Engel. I can’t let this get
out. It would ruin me. And I’m just
getting started.

And Edward begins to lose it. With a sudden violence, he


attacks, vicious, unleashing a TORRENT of kicks and
strikes...

And then it ends. Edward stands, breathless, eyes wild. He


stares at Engel’s lifeless form for a moment, watching as
Engel’s blood seep slowly across the floor.

INT. COFFEE SHOP – NIGHT

Bullock and Dunham talk over coffee and donuts.

DUNHAM
You know what Harvey, I don’t get it.
Batman’s a murderer. And yet you sit
there, nonchalant, not giving a damn.
Worse, you just stood there and watched
when he beat on those joker thugs.

BULLOCK
All I know is since he’s been around, I
ain’t have to work half as hard as I
used to.
107

DUNHAM
That’s nice. That’s the kind of
attitude we need here in G.C.P.D.

BULLOCK
If having Batman around means I get to
go home without a bullet in my head,
well...

DUNHAM
So you don’t care that he’s killed
cops? Gordan said --

BULLOCK
I know what Gordon said. But listen
Dunham, you gotta learn to look beneath
the surface. I mean c’mon, the Mayor’s
been on his ass about it and he ain’t
even raised a finger.

DUNHAM
So what’re you saying?

BULLOCK
All is not what is seems. Gordon’s a
cop first. He ain’t letting no cop
killer go scot-free, breaking the
law... That’s what I’m saying.

Long beat as Dunham thinks.

INT. UNMARKED POLICE CAR – CONTINUOUS

Bullock and Dunham hop in. Dunham still has perplexed look
on his face.

BULLOCK
Jesus, Dunham, you look like you’re
having aneurysm.

We HEAR THE RADIO go off...

DISPATCH (RADIO)
All units respond... Hostage situation
at 45th and Sprang... St Luke’s
Hospital... All units respond.
108

Dunham floors the accelerator.

EXT. ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL - NIGHT

Police cars, Ambulances, Emergency Response teams...


Swirling red and blue lights bathe everyone and everything
in PSYCHEDELIC PATTERNS.

Yindell, Bullock, Dunham and other cops stand behind a LINE


OF COP CARS.

UNIFORMED COP (O.S.)


That’s the last of the hostages
Lieutenant.

YINDELL
Good.

A squad car pulls up. Gordon jumps out strides forward with
purpose.

GORDON
What’s the situation, Bullock?

BULLOCK
Some fifteen people are unaccounted
for. Nurses, doctors. Some patients.
One of the hostages who managed to
escape claims a group was lead into the

GORDON
By whom?

YINDELL
The Joker Queen. Or Harley Quinn as she
says she likes to be call.

GORDON
What does she want?

COP
Tactical is moving in, Lieutenant.

YINDELL
Good. Let’s end this now.

Gordon looks at Yindell, incredulous.


109

EXT. HOSPITAL – SAME TIME

SWAT OFFICERS pour out of vans and race for the corner
entrance.

INT. 5TH FLOOR, HOSPITAL - CONTINUOUS

ON QUINN

watching from above. She holds a remote in one hand.

QUINN
Tick, tick, tick, tick....

Quinn presses down –-

EXT. HOSPITAL – CONTINUOUS

–- BOOOOM!! A fiery explosion erupts taking out the whole


ground floor.

The police take cover behind their cars.

ON YINDELL,

as her face loses colour.

BULLOCK
Jesus...

There’s laughter coming from somewhere. One of the officers


produces a radio. Hands it over to Gordon. He raises the
radio to his lips.

COMMISSIONER
What do you want, Joker Queen?

QUINN
Please, call me Harley, Jim. I told
that bitch lieutenant I wanted the
Joker released into Gotham University
medical facility... NOW! Someone needs
to tell Lieutenant Yindell how things
work here in Gotham. Us masked crazies
are not to be toyed with. Do as I say
or I start hurling bodies out of the
window.
110

Gordon shakes his head.

GORDON
More madness.

BULLOCK
Want me to put in the call into Arkham
Commish?

Gordon thinks long and hard. Then a CRACKLE in the radio:

BATMAN (V.O.)
No more moves, Jim. I’m going in.

Everyone looks up as a dark figure swoops down overhead...


Batman! Cape open –-

INT. 3RD FLOOR, HOSPITAL - CONTINUOUS

And Batman crashes through the glass, landing roughly.

Its pitch black inside. Batman snaps on the NIGHT-VISION


and moves down the corridor --

Something clatters on the ground then WOOSH –- A STUN


GRENADE goes off!

Batman reels from the flash. Suddenly he is attacked from


behind... HARLEY QUINN, wielding a large AXE! She attacks,
ferocious. She knocks Batman down with the hilt, over and
over again.

HARLEY QUINN
Hi, I don’t think we’ve met.

Batman rolls away, quickly gets back on his feet. Quinn


swings away, barely keeping her balance but driving Batman
backward.

Batman ducks one swing, then another, then several more --


Then he catches the axe hilt mid-swing. They wrestle.
Batman flips her over his shoulder. Quinn lands hard on her
back.
She crawls away then turns over, getting up on her feet.
She gets in a martial arts stance, hurls a flurry of kicks
and punches. Batman deflects. Then catches both arms by the
wrist.
111
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116

INT. ALLEN’S OFFICE, GNN BUILDING – DAY

A knock on the door and Edward enters.

EDWARD
Allen, you wanted to see me?

ALLEN
Yes, come in Edward. I’m pulling you
off the air, Ed.

EDWARD
What? Why the hell?!

ALLEN
Engel was murdered last night. Things
are getting dangerous.

EDWARD
No. You can’t do this to me. I’m the
face of the network.

ALLEN
It’s done Edward. Nothing you can do
about it.

For a moment Edward just stands there, jaw clenched, barely


concealed rage.

EDWARD
You can’t do this to me Allen. I won’t
let you.

ALLEN
What’s that supposed to mean?

EDWARD
You’re trying to get me quit. I won’t.
I have the highest rated show on the
network. I should be celebrated.
Instead you’re casting me out like --

ALLEN
I think you better leave, Edward,
before I have you thrown out.

Edward stares, staring angrily at Allen. Smoldering.


117

A moment then Edward wheels away in a rage.

INT. ENGEL’S APARTMENT – LATE NIGHT

Engel’s apartment, the scene of his demise, now surrounded


by yellow police tape.

Batman, moving about the room among the shadows, silent as


he investigates. His eyes become set on something on the
coffee table --

PUSH IN ON

a TV magazine with Edward’s face on the front cover.


Batman’s eye’s narrow, a thousand thoughts firing at once.
And then sudden realization.

INT. BATCAVE - LATER

Bruce, still in his Bat suit, glares at the computer


monitor, watching a recording Edward’s interview with Dr.
Crane a.k.a Scare Crow. He rewinds and resumes playback --

ON COMPUTER MONITOR:

CRANE
Well, without getting overly
hysterical, some of them may indeed
harbor grudges over real or imagined
slights.

EDWARD
Slights?

CRANE
The police, judges, persecutors,
orderlies, wardens, anyone they feel
may have treated them unfairly or
inflicted harsh treatment... Even
parents.

Wayne studies Edward’s reaction to Crane’s comment. Rewinds


and watches again, his mind reeling.

EXT. ARKHAM ASYLUM - NIGHT

Gotham’s famous insane asylum. Grim. Gothic.


118

INT. DR CRANE’S CELL, ARKHAM ASYLUM – CONTINOUS

We find Crane lounging in a small cell with padded walls.


He is dressed in orange pajamas, surrounded by books. A bat
shadow looms. Crane smiles...
CRANE
Well, well... What took so long? You
know, there’s an empty cell adjacent to
mine. And the food is just murder...
Highly recommended.
Batman finally emerges from the shadows...
BATMAN
You did your homework on Edward Nashton
before your interview?
CRANE
Oh, extensively.
BATMAN
Tell me.
CRANE
Not so fast. What can I expect in
exchange? Let’s see what’s under that
mask?
BATMAN
(through gritted
teeth)
How about I rearrange your facial
cartilage?
Batman slaps a STICKY BOMB on the glass.
CRANE
Whoa, easy there.
BATMAN
Nashton’s personal history is
inaccessible.
CRANE
But not to me. As a former psychiatrist
I still have my contacts in the mental
health arena. Well, where to begin.
Edward Nashton. Raised in orphanage.
Unrealized genius at eleven. Bullied
and beaten to a pulp by his peers.
119

CRANE (cont’d)
Funnily though, he relished it. The
attention. An ostentatious fellow. And
then his mother resurfaces only to meet
her end soon after in the most peculiar
of ways.
BATMAN
How peculiar?
CRANE
The mother was found bludgeoned and
strangled. And the boyfriend found with
a bullet to the head. An apparent
suicide but no note.
BATMAN
What reason would Nashton have to
murder his own mother?
CRANE
I can think of several. But you’ll have
to ask him that.
Crane regards Batman cannily.

CRANE
So many questions... I wonder.

Batman turns and walks away, disappearing in the shadows.

INT. BEDROOM, EDWARD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT


Edward enters, opens the bedroom closet. He runs his
fingers along the wall seams, presses on something... the
BACK WALL of the closet SLIDES OPEN revealing a small
secret compartment. Edward removes a small case from the
compartment and lays it down on the bed.
Edward opens the case revealing: a fedora hat, gloves, a
trench coat, shades, half-face mask, shades, the
retractable steel baton, a pistol...
Edward puts on the fedora hat, then picks up the
retractable steel baton, moves to the bed. He pulls a
pillow from the head of the bed and then proceeds to STRIKE
the pillow in an aggressive fashion... And then he hears a
noise –-
Edward looks up, alerted.
120

INT. EDWARD’S APARTMENT – CONTINOUS


Edward exits the bedroom, gun first, cautious... SUDDENLY
FROM BEHIND, BATMAN lunges, knocks the gun away, grips
Edward by the collar, feet hanging off the ground. Batman
sends Edward flying across the room --
Batman stalks toward Edward as he scrambles to his feet.
Edward rises, throws a punch... Batman catches his fist,
elbows Edward across the jaw then punches him in the SOLAR
PLEXUS. Edward doubles over then falls to his knees --
Edward whips out the retractable steel baton and lunges.
Batman blocks two strikes then grabs Edward by the wrist,
exerting pressure to turn his hand over... until Edward
releases the weapon. Then Batman SLAMS Edward into a wall,
knocking the air out of him.

Edward lets out a whimper as Batman grabs a fistful of


shirt and pulls him in close so they’re nose to nose.
BATMAN
No more riddles, Riddler?
RIDDLER
Ha, just one. Why did the cluster crave
a credit card? So he could CHARGE!
Unobtrusively, Edward raises a hand revealing a TASER and
puts it to Batman’s chest between the plates of armor.
Batman convulses. Then against Batman’s torso... Batman
drops to his hands and knees as the electric current SURGES
through his body. Edward seizes the moment, escapes into
the kitchen.
Batman struggles to pull himself together. He shakes any
residual effects of the shock... Suddenly all the lights in
the apartment go off.
Batman tries the night-vision in his cowl. It short
circuits. Batman forges on without it. When all of a sudden
the several TVs in the apartment all turn on simultaneously
playing several of Nashton’s interviews in HIGH VOLUME.
Batman maintains his composure as he slowly moves through
the apartment.
ON EDWARD
as he tracks behind, a NAIL GUN in hand. He follows,
121

bearing down on Batman, seen in silhouette... and finally


squeezes off two shots --
But Batman doesn’t budge. Edward looks on perplexed. He
stalks closer to the dark figure. TV blaring loud in the
b.g... Edward reaches for the cape, grabs at it, it
collapses to the floor. Edward pulls the cape away
revealing a COAT RACK!
ON EDWARD
as he realizes he’s been had.
Right then a blurry shape descends on top of Edward --
Bruce without his cape and cowl. In the darkness he pummels
Edward with a flurry of punches. Then he moves away, slides
on his cape and cowl before Edward can look over.
Edward starts to giggle as Batman’s shadow slowly drapes
over him.
BATMAN
What’s green, narcissistic and bruised
all over?
Edward is not laughing anymore. He curls into a ball on the
floor as Batman’s shadow completely envelopes him.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM, MCU, GOTHAM CENTRAL - LATER

The usual one-way mirror and table. We find Edward seated,


calm. Bloodied lip, bruise on his nose. Gordon sits
opposite, waiting for Edward to speak.

Then Edward musters a smile, nonchalant...

EDWARD
A magician was boasting one day at how
long he could hold his breath under
water. His record was six minutes. A
kid that was listening said, “that's
nothing, I can stay under water for ten
minutes using no types of equipment or
air pockets!” The magician told the kid
if he could do that, he'd give him
$10,000. The kid did it and won the
money. Can you figure out how,
Commissioner? No?
122

Edward sits back, smiling proudly.

EDWARD (cont’d)
I filled a glass of water and held it
over my head for ten minutes. And
that’s how it all started. I’ve always
been a step ahead of everyone.

GORDON
You grew up in orphanage?

EDWARD
Which is not such great place to grow
up. I would get beat up on occasion,
for being too smart. Even my teachers,
when I would show just how small minded
and pathetic they were. They were all
jealous of me. And they made me know
it. Every day. But regardless, I
persisted. I thrived on it. On my
genius. Flaunted it every chance I
could. So that they would all know...
Ultimately that led to work on TV. I
needed an audience, I suppose. But they
tried to ruin me. So I did what I had
to...

GORDON
You mean murder all those people?

EDWARD
No no, what I did was compose a game of
intellect, all very solvable and thus
preventable. Unfortunately I
overestimated the detective skills of
Gotham’s finest.

GORDON
And what about Engel?

Edward’s lips curl in a wicked smile.


EDWARD
Well sometimes when sheer brilliance
isn’t appreciated as it should, things
123

EDWARD (cont’d)
can go wrong.

GORDON
And Batman? How does he figure in into
all this?

EDWARD
Well, Batman was the main draw. If I
could baffle Gotham’s dark knight
detective, even for a moment... And I
had done. More than once.
(snorts)
He must’ve cheated to get to me, you
know? Or got lucky. In many ways Batman
was like the bullies at the orphanage.
(points at head)
They don’t have what it takes up here
and so they use brute force and
intimidation to get their way. But that
didn’t work against me. Not against my
scheming and chicanery.

GORDON
Yet here you sit?

Edward’s smile slowly fades.

EDWARD
You know I had Batman at my mercy? I
had my gun pointed and there he was,
helpless. So don’t heap praise on the
man. He’s not deserving of it.
(then)
There are no ultimate ends, only games
and more games. The winner this round
is the loser next round...

GORDON
So what was the motive? Not money.
Ratings?

EDWARD
Maybe in the beginning.
124

GORDON
Batman’s identity?

EDWARD
Oh no. No no no... It was much too soon
for that. Truth is Commissioner, I
haven’t a clue? None. Whatsoever. It
started out as one thing then
completely turned into another. But the
thrill of it was exhilarating. It’s
only later that I realized that this
was my life’s work. Everything, every
trick, every puzzle, all of it, led me
to this point. To Batman. It all
centered around him.
(laughs)
Imagine it Commissioner, the face of
prime time TV is also Gotham’s most
wanted criminal...
(a very dark
laugh)
The pathos. The cunning. The genius.

Edward leans back on his seat.

EDWARD (Cont’d)
What an epic of larceny and murder...
Once upon a crime hahaha...

Gordon adjusts his glasses and rises.

GORDON
You know Nashton, I watched your show
on occasion, and I have to admit you
were right some of the time. About
Batman. Gotham is a city with complex
problems. And lone wolves and
vigilantes belong out west, not here.
But your antics over the last few days,
kidnapping the mayor, murdering Engel,
well you’ve proved why Gotham needs
Batman. To stop the likes of you.
125

Gordon turns to go then...

GORDON (cont’d)
You certainly are a genius, Mr.
Nashton. But you’re the worst kind
there is.

Gordon exits the room.

ON EDWARD’S FACE

his smile and casual demeanor fading... He looks at the


one-way mirror and then he leaps to his feet, fists
flexing, marches over --

EDWARD
That’s right. I am a genius. The worst
kind? Oh no... the kind that has the
likes of you eating out his palms. The
kind that has you running around like
headless rats in a maze. Gotham’s
finest? Pfft... more like –-

Suddenly, a fist BANGS on the one-way mirror. Through the


INTERCOM --

BULLOCK (O.S.)
HEY! Sit down, shut up!

Edward pipes down.

INT. OBSERVATION ROOM, MCU, GOTHAM CENTRAL – CONTINUOUS

Bullock and Dunham watch Edward.

BULLOCK
(re: Edward)
Goddamned glory hound.

INT. INTERROGATION ROOM, MCU, GOTHAM CENTRAL – CONTINUOUS

Edward steps back from the one-way mirror. Then turns,


walks back and sits, his disposition now docile, cold
realization slowly dawning.

INT. HALLWAY, M.C.U. - CONTINUOUS


Gordon walks down the hallway. He talks into hidden a mic
126

in his coat.
GORDON
Did you get all that?

EXT. ROOFTOP OVERLOOKING GOTHAM CENTRAL – CONTINUOUS


Batman, crouched low. He listens through an ear piece in
his cowl.
BATMAN
Loud and clear.
Batman clicks off. He slumps against a wall, looking
wearied, close to exhaustion.
WATCHING FROM AN ADJACENT BUILDING
TROGG is spying on Batman through a pair of miniature
binoculars. He looks up and reaches for a tiny phone.
TROGG
He looks whipped. We could take him
now, finish him off. Wouldn’t take
long.
ZOMBIE (O.S.)
Not yet.
INT. PARKED VAN - CONTINUOUS
Zombie sits in the back, a headset over his ears.
INTERCUT EXT. ROOFTOP, BUILDING/ INT. PARKED VAN - NIGHT
TROGG
Dammit... What are we waiting for?
ZOMBIE
For Bane. Remember He wants Batman all
to himself. Batman represents his
greatest foe.
TROGG
Bane is obsessed. And obsession clouds
judgment. We should go in alone. We’re
ready. Finish Batman off. As was
instructed.
ZOMBIE
Bane wouldn’t like that.
Trogg takes another look through the binoculars... Batman’s
127

gone!
TROGG
What the -- !
Suddenly from behind...
BATMAN (O.S.)
Looking for me?
Trogg whirls round... The Dark Knight, crouched in the
shadows before Trogg. Trogg grins.
TROGG
Oh yeah...
THROUGH THE RADIO:
ZOMBIE
Trogg? What’s happening? Trogg?!
Trogg switches the radio off. Rises.
BATMAN
Why have you been following me?
Trogg just smiles –- then he hurls himself at Batman with
ferocity and skill, swinging his massive arms. Batman is on
the defensive, blocking and weaving --
Batman beats back the attack, spins round and knocks Trogg
high on the side of head with an elbow strike. Trogg
falters. Batman whirls again, catches Trogg with a back
fist strike. Trogg’s head spins as he reels backwards.
Batman wastes no time and leaps at Trogg, fist cocked back.
This time Trogg reacts quickest, he lunges out, grabbing
Batman by the throat and hurling him several feet through
the air.
RIGHT THEN
The stairwell door BURSTS OPEN revealing the sinewy Zombie.
He sees Trogg and a subdued Batman.
ZOMBIE
I thought you were in trouble. Bane is
on his way.
TROGG
He should hurry. There won’t be much
left.
Batman rises to his feet. Trogg smiles fiendishly.
128

TROGG (cont’d)
Too late...
Trogg BULL-CHARGES... tackles Batman’s midsection and they
go straight over the parapet --
They PLUMMET two stories, Batman atop Trogg... They crash
through the wooden roof of a storehouse -–
An explosion of glass and wood! Dust swirls for a moment.
Batman pulls himself up. Limps forward, his entire body
pulsing with pain. Batman finds Trogg splayed on the floor,
unconscious from the fall.
Batman winces, feels at his ribs. Two, maybe three are
broken. He looks up...
UP ABOVE
Zombie descends soundlessly, travelling quickly, with such
fluidity, leaping acrobatically down sections of building,
through the bored opening and into the storehouse –- and at
Batman... we hear the SHING of a sword being unsheathed --
Batman is barely ready as Zombie swings his blade with
blinding speed. He spins away at the last minute. Another
blow arcs for him and he parries with his gauntlet,
striking sparks.
The relentless onslaught continues. ZOMBIE MOVING FAST TO
KILL. He leaps at Batman, sword held high. Batman falls
back under this attack, letting Zombie land on top of him -
- using the soles of both feet, Batman tosses Zombie over,
sends him sailing...
Zombie lands on his back but quickly reorients himself,
wheels round and sends a hail of shuriken at Batman. Batman
blocks, ducks and twists away from some of the shuriken,
but at least three find their mark, striking flesh.
Zombie is a BLUR as he drives in again at Batman. Advancing
at full speed like a whirlwind, blade moving in a blur in
all directions... Batman blocks and parries... More SPARKS
dance... Zombie strikes downwards at his head... Batman
blocks with his arm, trapping the blade in the scallop. He
twists, wrenching Zombie’s blade from his grasp.
Zombie draws a short, ANGLED BLADE and brings it slashing
down at Batman’s neck... Batman intercepts, whirls round
and knocks Zombie down with vicious side kick.
129

Batman then catapults forward... and he connects with a


flying knee, smashing Zombie as he rises, full in the face.
Zombie is out cold, down for the count.
Batman drops to his knees, exhausted and hurting.
EXT. WOODED PATH - LATER
Leaves swirl as the Tumbler II speeds past.
INT. LIBRARY, WAYNE MANOR – EARLY MORNING

Bruce steps through the bookcase portal, body aching.

Right then, a large shadow comes to life, detaches itself


from a wall, stepping into the dim light... it’s BANE!
Bruce reacts to the skeletal mask.

WAYNE
You! You’re the one who’s been
following me... How did you know?

BANE
Reese. But after it made perfect
sense... a victim of a crime committed
in the darkness. Lost to the night in
terror and pain... Mysterious and
seemingly aloof. But with enough
wealth, the means and the
opportunity... You could be no one
else.

Bane just stands, seeming scarcely to breathe as he stares


Bruce down.

WAYNE
Who are you?

Bane strides forward.

BANE
A warrior who hurls himself
unhesitatingly into combat. I am...
Bane.

WAYNE
What do you want?
130

BANE
To break you. So that there will be
nothing left to piece together.

A sudden blur of action and Bane soars forward. He attacks


strongly, SWIFTLY, his strength appalling. Bruce defends
himself as best as he can, ducking blows, using his arms to
block and parry. Bruce tries to beat back the attack but
Bane is strong, his reflexes superb.

Bruce draws Bane in close and they grapple, Bane


overpowering Bruce and then slamming him savagely against a
wall. Then with an arm twisting around Bruce’s throat, Bane
cuts off Bruce’s WINDPIPE. Bruce throws a fist but Bane
just catches it...

BANE
I will take my time... Make sure you
feel every blow. Every crack. Every
break.

Bruce puts a hard foot into Bane’s chest, sending the big
man backwards.

Bruce SPRINGS forward. Bane swings an arm and connects with


a back-handed fist. Bruce crashes backwards with a grunt of
pain.

Bane grabs Bruce, with incredible strength he HOISTS him


him over his head like he weighed nothing and hurls him
through the bookcase. Bruce lands by the dumb-waiter lift
with a crunch. He is hurt. Winded. After a moment he crawls
inside dumb-waiter lift, pulls the lever and with a
mechanical whine, the lift descends...

INT. BATCAVE - CONTINUOUS

Bane races down the winding staircase after Bruce, moving


like an express train, murderous rage in his eyes.

Bruce finds his feet, stumbles out of the dumb-waiter lift.


Trying to focus. Bane is approaching fast -- as Bruce turns
to face him, Bane bolts forward, charging forward like a
bull and –- WHAM!! Bane sends Bruce hurtling in the air...
and CRASHING over a work station, tumbling violently.
131

Bane stalks toward Bruce.

BANE
You’ve spent your nights fighting evil.
But you’ve never face anything like me.

As he talks, Bruce discreetly produces the gauntlet and


fires off the double blade scallops into Bane’s torso! Bane
growls in pain as he reels backwards. He looks down at
himself, at the blade scallops entrenched in his abdomen.

Bruce regains his bearings. Bane moves towards him like an


angry beast --

Bruce rolls away awkwardly on the floor, quickly reaches


for TWO ESRCIMA STICKS –-

He pounces on his feet, lets fly with a dazzling barrage of


strikes and maneuvers, STRIKING FORCEFULLY. Bane only
manages to block some of the blows with his forearms but
otherwise looks unperturbed.

Bruce attacks with increased furor but Bane again dominates


with his incredible strength. Then he catches Wayne by both
hands, pulls him in close and HEAD-BUTTS him!

Bruce falters, staggering backwards. Bane pounces, moving


with monstrous swiftness, his massive muscles working with
astounding fluidity as he delivers crushing blow after
crushing blow.

EXT. WAYNE MANOR – SAME TIME

Alfred walks headed for the kitchen door. He stops,


suddenly alert. The kitchen door hangs slightly ajar –- the
LOCK’S been smashed. Alfred furrows his brow. Something’s
up.

INT. BATCAVE - CONTINUOUS

Bruce stumbles away as fast as he is physically able. He


seems no match, the awful truth dawning on us.

Bane lands several crushing blows...

Wayne is backed into a wall, blocking and parrying


desperately.
132

BANE
You’re slow... Giving me all the time I
need...

Bane using his fists and knees with enormous force. Bruce
ducks one punch, gets clipped by the next...then a vicious
shot that breaks three ribs. Wayne tries to throw a left
hook out of desperation, dropping his guard –- and Bane
unleashes his own left hook connecting hard with Wayne’s
jaw. Wayne crashes to the ground with a sickening thud.

Bane appraises Bruce.

BANE
Disappointing.

ON WAYNE

bruised, bloody and beaten. Barely conscious as Bane looms


closer. Bane pulls Wayne up by the hair, leaves him
standing on his own. Bruce stands in obvious pain, tries to
attack. Bane avoids the halfhearted assault deftly.

BANE
(smirks)
You are already broken.

Wayne throws a left and right, Bane intercepts, get Wayne


in an armlock and –- SNAP! Bane breaks Wayne’s arm. Wayne
reels back, landing on one knee, clutching his throbbing
arm in agony.

BANE
It’s over. Finished. You. Are. NOTHING!

Bane grabs Batman around the back of the neck with one
hand, hauls him to his feet... And he drives a FIST
savagely into Bruce’s back producing a sickening sound!
Batman screams, a violent shock against his spinal cord!
Bane drives his fist in a second time with even more brutal
force -– CRACK!!

Bruce crashes to the ground, beaten, blood sodden, lying


inert, motionless.

Bane stands over Bruce crumpled body. He removes his mask,


133

starts to speak.

BANE
I am here to kill you, but death would
only end your agony, silence your
shame. You are nothing. No more. I have
broken you.

Then suddenly from behind –-

ALFRED (O.S.)
Oi, bastard!

Bane turns round, sees Alfred COCKING a LEE ENFIELD .303


CALIBRE RIFLE --

ALFRED
Get your dirty mitts off!

Alfred squeezes off a shot. And then another. Bane just


staggers like a wounded bear. Then he growls, turning, eyes
fixed madly on Alfred, he takes several steps towards him
like some creature on an unstoppable path. Alfred fires a
third shot...

Bane stumbles back, then with a feral roar he falls back


and down into the BATCAVE CANYONS.

ON ALFRED

on his expression when he sees what’s left of Bruce. He


rushes to Bruce’s side.

ALFRED
Master Wayne...?

Bruce opens his eyes, tears glinting.

WAYNE
Alfred?... You came back?

Bruce struggles to keep his eyes open, eventually slips


into unconsciousness...

And FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:
134

INT. WAYNE’S ROOM, HOSPITAL ICU - DAY

Bruce opens his eyes, a two day growth on his face.

ALFRED (O.S.)
Well it’s about bloody time.

Alfred approaches, smiles reassuringly. Bruce tries to


speak.

WAYNE
Bane...?

ALFRED
That beast of a man? Gone. Down the
canyons. If that didn’t kill him, then
the four bullets from my rifle surely
did.

WAYNE
How... am I?

ALFRED
Rather poorly, I’m afraid Master Wayne.
But you’re alive.

WAYNE
No feeling in my legs... It’s my back,
isn’t it?

Alfred looks at Bruce but can’t find the words.

WAYNE’S FACE

taking this in, tears forming.

INT. SELINA’S APARTMENT - DAY

Selina on the couch, picks up her cellphone and dials a


number. A MACHINE picks up.
VOICEMAIL
Hi, this is Bruce. Sorry I’m in Cabo.
Or Dubai. But attractive ladies do
leave a message.

SELINA
Oh, c’mon...
135

Selina hangs up, frustrated. Isis mews, rubs against


Selina’s leg.
SELINA
Yes, Isis, mommy’s mad. Very mad. How
about something to drink, huh?

Selina gets up and moves towards the kitchen.

INT. KITCHEN, SELINA’S APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS

Selina walks over to the fridge and grabs a bottle of


water. She takes a drink and pours the rest into Isis’s
water bowl.

SELINA
Men. They’re not worth the trouble
Isis, I promise you. Hmm, where’s Otto?
(calling out)
Otto?

Suddenly Selina is yanked by the hair from behind. A bear


of man throws an arm around her neck as he pulls her
backwards. Selina fights valiantly. Like a tigress. She
wrestles her way out of the hold and then flips the man
over.

Two more men come from out of nowhere, bigger and more
menacing. Selina gets into a martial arts stance. As they
near, she lets loose with a barrage of kicks and punches,
knocking them off their feet.

Applause off screen and then --

VOICE O.S.
What a wonderful display of audacious
skill, acrobatic prowess, athletic
ability... All gung-ho yet so graceful.

Selina’s blood turns cold at the sound of the voice,


realization dawning.

A man comes into view. His face remains UNSEEN. This is


BLACK MASK, dressed in an expensive suit. We notice his
gloved hand move back and forth in a stroking motion and
then we realize he has a cat under one arm.
136

Black Mask takes a seat opposite Selina. She stands, frozen


with fear. Black Mask regards her a moment then opens his
mouth to talk again, his voice dangerously calm...

BLACK MASK
My dear Ms. Kyle, you’re shaking.
Please, sit.

SELINA
I’d rather stand, thank you.

BLACK MASK
No, I think you better sit.

Selina sits after a moment. Black Mask’s men get back on


their feet, groaning and sore.

BLACK MASK
Now, there’s the matter of diamonds you
stole from me. Twenty million dollars
worth. We will forget that happened for
the moment. Move on to other things.
Times are chaotic. A lot of rumours
flying around. And certain
opportunities have to be seized. You
have an expertise I am very interested
in making use of. The mob in this town
has frittered away. Every major mob
boss is either dead or locked up. Crime
families are now a thing of the past.
There now exists a power vacuum so
vast... What’s more, Batman has
deserted Gotham. The city is on the
brink. So, the moment to act is now.
(then)
So, Ms. Kyle, I need you to do two
things. One, you will return my
diamonds to me. All of the diamonds.
Two, you will work for me, for as long
as I need your services. Is that
understood? Wonderful. I can see you’re
having one of those Road to Damascus
moments as I speak.
137

Black Mask flings the cat off screen and we realize it was
dead all along. Black Mask rises. We still don’t get a
clear view of him.

BLACK MASK (cont’d)


They say when you cut a monsters head,
a new one grows back. I’m that new
head. And this town, all of it, is mine
to take.

Black Mask heads for the door. For an instant we catch a


glimpse of his face/mask: he wears a BLACK/SILVER MASK from
MEDIEVAL times.

BLACK MASK (cont’d)


I’ll be in touch, Catwoman.

Black Mask exits the apartment.

INT. WAYNE’S ROOM, HOSPITAL ICU - MORNING

Bruce on his back staring up at the ceiling. Alfred is also


in the room, seated in one corner, leafing through the
GOTHAM GLOBAL NEWSPAPER.

WAYNE
What are you reading there, Alfred?

ALFRED
You should be resting.

WAYNE
Your concern is appreciated Alfred. But
I would like to know. I need to know.

ALFRED
Later. For now Master Wayne, you must
focus on you.

WAYNE
So how did explain this one to the
doctors?

ALFRED
Told them you were involved in a car
wreck. The Lamborghini.
138

WAYNE
The Lamborghini!?

ALFRED
Hm-mm... Had to use a sledgehammer.

WAYNE
What!?

ALFRED
And then I pushed it off a cliff.

WAYNE
Alfred!?

ALFRED
Had to make it convincing, y’see. You
were driving reckless, and as the
Lamborghini veered off the road, you
jumped out as it went of the off the
verge...

Wayne thinks a moment, smiles.

WAYNE
You got worried when I didn’t show up
back at the Manor –- and you came out
looking for me.

ALFRED
Found you on the roadside. Very badly
hurt.

WAYNE
The Porsche wasn’t available?

ALFRED
I like the Porsche.

Bruce allows himself a smile. Then...

WAYNE
Thank you, Alfred.

ALFRED
That’s better.
139

A beat.

WAYNE
Any word from Selina?

ALFRED
(shakes head)
No. Nothing.

INT. TENEMENT BUILDING - FLASHBACK

Alfred enters Selina’s building. Removal men move in and


out Selina’s apartment carrying furniture, belongings in
boxes, etc... Alfred looks on, puzzled.

ALFRED (V.O.)
I went by her apartment yesterday.
There was a moving van parked out
front... Removal men were moving in and
out of her apartment, carrying
furniture and such...

INT. WAYNE’S ROOM, HOSPITAL ICU – PRESENT DAY

Bruce looks away in sad reflection. Then...

WAYNE
I owe you an apology Alfred. I sent you
away because I thought I needed to be
alone. To face what Gotham has
become... alone.
(then)
I become consumed Alfred... Consumed by
the violence. Causing pain... Just so I
didn’t have to feel my own. I lost
myself somewhere along the way. After
Rachel.

Bruce opens a hand, revealing THE NATIVE AMERICAN ARROW


HEAD given to him many years ago by Rachel...

ON WAYNE

memories of Rachel flooding back. Emotions overwhelming.

Alfred gets up, walks over.


140

ALFRED
Master Wayne, you never have to
apologize to me. Ever. We clear?

WAYNE
Maybe this is the end, Alfred. Maybe...

ALFRED
No, Master Wayne, not yet. The war goes
on. And so must you.
(smiles heartily)
Now let’s focus on you getting better.
We have a city to take back.

EXT. PORCH, HOSPITAL – DAY

Bruce is alone, seated in wheel chair taking in the light


breeze.

VOICE (O.S.)
Accident while spelunking, Mr. Wayne?

Bruce turns his head, sees LUCIUS FOX smiling warmly.

WAYNE
Lucius! It’s good seeing you again.

FOX
I wish it was under better
circumstances. Alfred not around?

WAYNE
I gave him the day off. Truth is he was
getting on my nerves.

FOX
Alfred’ll do that.
(beat, then)
I’m sorry Bruce.

WAYNE
It’s only a setback Lucius, not the
end.
(re: newspaper)
What do you have there?
141

FOX
Nothing but bad news.

Bruce gives Fox a look.

FOX (cont’d)
Shouldn’t you be resting, Mr. Wayne.

WAYNE
I’m rested enough.

Fox regards Bruce a moment.

FOX
Okay then.
(pause; then)
On the front page there’s a detailed
breakdown on the rise violent crime in
Gotham... In particular, batman-
inspired crime.

WAYNE
“Batman-inspired”?

FOX
(reading)
“The rate of crime has risen
exponentially and is virtually out of
control... This is attributed to the
sudden disappearance of Batman...”
(turning the page)
Mayor Hill refuses to declare there’s
an all out war on Batman... Gotham PD
is understaffed... The editorial on
page four argues that the degeneration
of the Joker clones and its apparent
leader, Harely Quinn “has produced a
power vacuum at the worst possible
moment, when Gotham is on its hands and
knees”... Let see... “Where is our Dark
Avenger? ...Without Batman, our city
continues to fall apart”... Looting,
rioting, burning fires going
142

FOX (cont’d)
unchecked... A city wide curfew is
under consideration.
(beat; amused)
And yet another costumed character has
emerged.

INT. JEWELRY – NIGHT

We find a FIGURE IN BLACK dressed in form fitting black


armor, facing off with three burly THIEVES.
In a dazzling display of acrobatic agility and maneuvering,
the shadowy figure gives Thief #1 a roundhouse PUNCH to the
head, Thief #2 a spinning back kick and Thief #3 a side
kick to the sternum. All three men go down like bowling
pins!
MOVING IN CLOSER
and we learn the shadowy figure is none other than
CATWOMAN.
A bound and gagged NIGHT GUARD watches the event unfold in
wide-eyed surprise. THIEF #4 appears from out of nowhere
with a SHOTGUN, aimed at Catwoman. The guard mumbles
something indiscernible -- Catwoman turns, spins on her
heels... She descends on Thief #4 with a whirlwind of
acrobatic kicks and punches slamming him down on the
ground.

WE HEAR POLICE SIRENS APPROACHING...

Catwoman moves to an opened SAFE. She reaches inside, grabs


a handful of bright, glittering DIAMONDS and stuffs them
into a bag.

The guard looks on surprised but can do nothing. Catwoman


blows him a kiss and then she BOUNDS out the EXIT –-

EXT. JEWELRY STORE – CONTINUOUS

Catwoman leaps acrobatically onto a dumpster and then a


fire escape ladder as she makes her getaway.

EXT. ROOFTOP – CONTINUOUS

Catwoman, silhouetted against the moonlight as she SPRINGS


143

onto the rooftop, landing gracefully and cat-like. She


removes her mask revealing to us her identity... SELINA
KYLE.

EXT. PORCH, HOSITAL – PRESENT DAY

Fox studies AN ARTIST'S RENDITION of CATWOMAN, made to look


far more menacing and mean.
WAYNE
A cat-woman?

FOX
Hm-mm. As in cat burglar.

Wayne looks out, frowning.

FOX
In short, Gotham needs a miracle.

WAYNE
Or maybe Batman will suffice.

FOX
Best thing you can do, Mr. Wayne, is to
focus on other things. Your recovery
for starters... and on what the future
holds for Bruce Wayne.

Bruce looks at Fox, considering his advice.

INT. WORKOUT ROOM, HOSPITAL - EVENING

Wayne, naked from the waste up, working out alone on a


PARALLEL BAR doing TRICEP DIPS... He falls back onto the
wheelchair exhausted. After a moment he wheels himself out.

INT. BRUCE’S ROOM, HOSPITAL – LATE EVENING

Bruce wakes up. Finds himself alone. He looks at the plasma


TV set on mute. A reporter gives the news of the day. He
turns to look out the window with a sigh.

EXT. ROOFTOP, GOTHAM CENTRAL - NIGHT

Bullock walks out onto the roof, cigar smoke trailing


behind.
144

We find Gordon standing by a newly constructed BATSIGNAL.


It shines brightly into the dark night sky.

BULLOCK
Chilly night Commish?

GORDON
Like most nights.

BULLOCK
No sign of him? It’s been four months.

GORDON
I know.
(then)
I pity him. Sometimes I wish he didn’t
have to do the things he has chosen to
do.

BULLOCK
He can quit if he wanted?

GORDON
No. Gotham belongs to him. He’s
Gotham’s silent guardian, watchful
protector...

BULLOCK
Yeah? Well, where is he?

GORDON
For his sake, as far from Gotham as
possible, enjoying a cold one in the
company of friends. But personally I
hope he’s out there, keeping watch.

Bullock looks up at the shining signal.

BULLOCK
If you ask me, he’s gone for good.
Gotham has that effect on people.

GORDON
Yeah.

Bullock wipes his forehead.


145

BULLOCK
It’s as hot as Lucifer’s hind tit out
here.

Gordon turns to leaves.

BULLOCK
Sir... the light?

GORDON
Kill it Harvey.

EXT. WAYNE’S ROOM, HOSPITAL – SAME TIME

GORDON (O.S.)
It’s over.

ON WAYNE

staring out the window. Then a slight knock on the door.

VOICE O.S.
Uh, Mr. Wayne?

Wanye turns his head. DICK GRAYSON, early 20’s, handsome


with an athletic build, is standing by the door.

GRAYSON
Uh, hi. My name is –-

WAYNE
Richard Grayson. Of the “Flying
Graysons”.

Grayson looks at Wayne, genuinely surprised.

GRAYSON
Um, yeah. Last time we met I was
fifteen... I’m surprised you remember.

WAYNE
Come in. Have a seat.

GRAYSON
Thanks. I’m an intern here and I heard
you were admitted so I thought I’d pay
a visit, see how you were doing.
146

WAYNE
I appreciate it. The only visitors I’ve
had last few days have been treating me
like a three month old.

GRAYSON
So how are you feeling?

WAYNE
Better than I look.

GRAYSON
I heard about the Lamborghini.

WAYNE
Just pieces of metal.

GRAYSON
Very expensive pieces.

WAYNE
So you’re an intern here? How’s that
working out for you?

GRAYSON
So far so good. It’s a 12 week program.
And after I’ve enrolled to volunteer on
a hospital ship out in West Africa.

WAYNE
You’re adventurous?

GRAYSON
I think risk-taking flows through my
veins.

WAYNE
I think doing the staggeringly
difficult triple somersault seventy
feet up in the air before the time you
hit thirteen, makes that pretty clear.

GRAYSON
My dad never wanted me in the circus.
He wanted me to focus on school
instead. But I think even when there’s
147

GRAYSON (cont’d)
slightest indication or feeling that
you’ve found your calling in life... If
there’s something you’re meant to be...
You shouldn’t hesitate. Not for a
moment.

Wayne and Grayson share a look, a connection forming... And


a knock on the door. Alfred pops his head in the room.

ALFRED
Oh, sorry. I’ll come back later.

BRUCE
No, Alfred come in –- You remember
Richard Grayson don’t you?

Alfred enters.

ALFRED
Oh yes, of course. Richard, how are
you?

GRAYSON
Fine, thank you Alfred. Been a while.
Um, I should go. It was nice meeting
you all after so long.

WAYNE
Thanks for dropping by.

GRAYSON
Sure.No problem.

Grayson turns to leave.

WAYNE
Richard... You should come by and visit
again. You’re welcome anytime.

GRAYSON
I will. See you Mr. Wayne.

Grayson exits.

ALFRED
Mr. Grayson looks all grown up, I
148

ALFRED (cont’d)
hardly recognize him. You did the right
thing in helping him through a troubled
time.

WAYNE
I’ve always regretted not having taken
him in.

ALFRED
You were but a young man yourself, Mr.
Wayne. In no way were you ready for
that sort of responsibility. And then
your five year hiatus... And in
addition to your being CEO of multi-
billion dollar company, there are
certain extracurricular activities that
fully occupy your time. In any case,
you did your utmost to ensure that he
was well taken care of. Perhaps even it
was for the best. He’s turned out
alright. Seemingly. Polite and well-
mannered. Nothing like you when you
were his age.

WAYNE
Actually, Alfred, he reminds a lot of
myself.

Alfred looks at Bruce a moment, wondering. And then


knowingly, an almost telepathic exchange between the two...

CUT TO BLACK.
CREDITS.
END.