Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Sci-Fi Classic That You Never Realized Inspired Batman Begins

Superhero films today are a well-oiled machine. Between the multiple Marvel projects released every year, to numerous attempts by DC to play catch-up, to the increasing number of original superhero stories on platforms like Netflix, the genre has come to define today's blockbuster landscape more than ever before.

Superhero cinema wasn't always a sure thing, however. The groundwork for the present day superhero movie explosion was laid by a few key series of films, with perhaps the most remembered being Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, starring Tobey Maguire (who, it is rumored, might be making a comeback in the MCU). Equally influential to the genre's present-day success, though, was Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight movies. And while the second film of the trilogy, The Dark Knight, is widely considered the standout — largely due to its iconic rendition of the Joker, as played by Heath Ledger — not enough credit is given to the original 2005 movie, Batman Begins, without which the sequel would not exist. 

Overshadowed as Batman Begins may be, it was an important landmark, opening a trilogy of films that continues to influence some of the biggest blockbusters today. That said, Batman Begins wasn't made in a vacuum. It turns out that among Christopher Nolan's biggest influences, when creating the film's version of Gotham, was the 1982 landmark cyberpunk film, Blade Runner.

Batman Begins built a grittier Gotham, Blade Runner-style

In a 2015 Forbes interview commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan discussed the importance of Blade Runner, in regard to his film.

Interviewer Mark Hughes began by asking Nolan if a couple of shots from his film were direct references to Blade Runner. In particular, Hughes found a scene where Batman pulls himself up onto a rooftop in the rain reminiscent of Blade Runner's climactic rooftop conversation between protagonist Rick Deckard and antagonist Roy Batty. He also described the Batcave's elevator as similar to that of the Bradbury Building location used for Blade Runner's apartment complex, in which much of the film's action takes place.

In response, Nolan acknowledged that, when looking back, the line between direct reference and general inspiration was hard for him to consciously be aware of. Thus, while the scenes Hughes cited are not intentional homages to Blade Runner, the film as a whole was certainly influenced by Ridley Scott's work.

He went on to explain that the primary way Blade Runner influenced his work on Batman Begins was in the design of its sets, and the overall visual look. When creating a new version of Gotham, Nolan was inspired by the process Scott used to build Blade Runner's fictional world from the ground up. Nolan explained that "the rain, the handheld cameras [and] the longer lenses" of Blade Runner, in particular, ultimately made their way into the production of his landmark Batman film.

Batman Begins shares another connection with Blade Runner that may simply be incidental: Roy Batty actor Rutger Hauer appeared in Batman Begins as former Wayne Enterprises CEO William Earle.