I wonder what happens if Ledger doesn't die. I know this would never have happened but imagine if Nolan and Bale had it in them for 5-6 films instead of only 3. They could have just kept building and building on the world they created with each new film. The way you set it up is that Joker has inspired the rest of the freaks in Gotham City to reveal themselves, thus creating a new status quo in Gotham where it's constantly under the threat of these crazed super criminals. And which each new movie Batman encounters a new deadly foe. In the next movie you pick up shortly after The Dark Knight left off. Batman goes into hiding because the people don't trust him and don't want him around anymore. So a new mastermind criminal who calls himself The Riddler tries to bring Batman out of hiding by committing all of these outlandish crimes and reaching out to him through various riddles. The problem is the guy is an absolute genius and he's always ten steps ahead of Gordon and the police dept. So when the crimes become too great to ignore, the people of Gotham realize that the only one who could stop this guy is Batman. I think that would have been a real interesting dynamic and creates some interesting discussion. Do the people of Gotham have the right to call for Batman's help knowing they've already damned him? Is Batman responsible if he chooses not to play The Riddler's game? What are the consequences for all involved? And what you do is you start world building. You write Cobblepot into the story as like a more prominent Daggett type character, a crooked white collar criminal who's linked to Riddler's deeds. You write Selina Kyle into the story. You bring Heath back for a small appearance as Joker. You establish a world with all these characters existing in it. Batman, Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler... now you have a fully realized Gotham. By the end of the events of movie #3, the people of Gotham understand that times are different now and that the threats have become too great... and so they are finally ready to call upon Batman whenever they need him. I also think it strongly mirrors current times seeing as how it looks we all have to come to grips with this new reality of random threats. Planes being flown into buildings, school shootings, theater shootings, marathon bombings, etc.. it's a different time. It's a new day. By the time we start movie #4, we are now finally at the "prime" stage of Batman's career. The learning curve is over. Batman is firmly in control. I think now is a good time to write Robin into the story. Not sure who the villain needs to be for this one but the crux of the story would be about that Batman and Robin relationship. Remember the criminal organizations have all run amok because of guys like Joker, Penguin and Ridder. There is no one guy in charge anymore but rather sects of Gotham - or turf - where the various super villains have marked their own. Maybe this movie can go to Black Mask. Of course by the end of the movie Batman and Robin have become a team and take him down. Movie #5 is where everything goes to s***. This is where maybe you can go the Knightfall route with Bane and just make this one the darkest f'n Batman movie of all time. Take all the famous "bad moments" and just toss them in. Batman gets his back broken by Bane, Robin gets killed by The Joker... just by the end of it Batman has to be a miserable wretch because Movie #6 is where you can cap it off with movie that resembles The Dark Knight Returns. I don't know I just love this idea of a fully realized Gotham universe that is expanded over the course of several movies. And I think The Dark Knight really left the door so wide open with possibilities and I just wonder what might have been had Heath not died. I know they had plans to end it with the third movie but I do know they had wanted to Heath to come back as well. So who knows, maybe it would have been even bigger and they decide to stretch the story beyond 3 films.