Christopher Nolan on Superhero Post-Credits Scenes: “A Real Movie Wouldn’t Do That”
UPDATE: We spoke to Christopher Nolan's representatives and received this statement directly from Nolan himself: "I would never say someone's else's film isn't 'a real film'. The quote is inaccurate." We reached out to The Guardian who have since issued the following clarification: "Subsequent to publication, Nolan disputed the quote attributed to him by Snyder. According to Nolan, he had told Snyder, We shouldn’t be chasing other movies, but stay true to the tone of Man of Steel.'"
Marvel has built their movie empire partially on catering to the anticipation and excitement among the core fanbase. They have a tradition of post-credits scenes after their movies, ever since the first 'Iron Man' movie introduced Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and name-dropped the "Avengers Initiative." It's worked out quite well for Marvel. And, while DC and Warner Bros. are very eager to catch their competitors, don't expect them to follow suit. When Warner Bros. asked Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan to add a post-credits scene to the end of 'Man of Steel,' Nolan told them, "a real movie wouldn't do that."
Hey Chris, how's the weather up there on that high horse?
The anecdote comes from The Guardian's lengthy (and fascinating) profile on Nolan, who comes off every bit as prickly and cold as you'd expect. Warner Bros. gave Nolan a lot of autonomy to help them reboot the flagging Superman franchise, bringing the same tone he perfected in the 'Dark Knight' trilogy to the 'Man of Steel' movie. He asked Snyder to study test footage from White Sands, New Mexico to see how objects moved at high velocity. And, when Warner Bros. pushed them to add a post-credits scene "in the style of Marvel," Nolan put his foot down.
Even though Nolan is no longer involved with the future of Warner Bros.' 'Justice League' universe, his edict will likely remain after his departure. This is the tone, for better or worse, than Warner Bros. wanted when they brought in Nolan as a godfather, and Snyder, as his understudy, will likely follow suit.
In some respects, it makes sense to not want to mimic the phenomenon that Marvel has made popular (even if many of the studio's superhero decisions seem otherwise very much influenced by the Marvel way), but it's Nolan's swift dismissal that rubs the wrong way. It's one thing to say, "It's just not right for what we're trying to do here," but snorting, "a real movie wouldn't do that" (emphasis ours) reeks of condescension and film snobbery. Is 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' any less of a movie, just because it includes come connecting tissue to an upcoming Marvel movie? Is 'Guardians of the Galaxy' not "real" because it saved a gag for people who stayed through the credits? Is Christopher Nolan completely forgetting that he directed 'The Dark Knight Rises'? (Or, that 'Batman Begins' essentially had a teasing post-credits scene, just before the credits?)
Warner Bros., Snyder and even Nolan would be wise to just admit that Marvel has done quite well with their lineup. And, there's nothing wrong with wanting to come at this genre from a different approach. They should want to be different. We want them to be different. There's plenty of room for the 'Man of Steel' movies and the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' movies to co-exist happily.
We don't want to bash Nolan, because he's a great director, who's doing great things for film preservation and the improvement of the theatrical experience. But, don't turn your nose up at Marvel - or any of the other superhero movies, really - because if 'Man of Steel' is a "real" movie and 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a fake one, we'll take the fake movie every time.