From The Dark Knight To Dunkirk: What's Next For Christopher Nolan?

Christopher Nolan attends the screening of 'Sink Or Swim (Le Grand Bain)' during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 13, 2018 in Cannes, France.

The mere announcement of a Christopher Nolan picture will result in a rare, universal hysteria.

His 1998 directorial feature-debut Following was a micro-budget effort shot over many weekends due to cast and crew having to hold down regular jobs. Now he is making high-concept blockbusters; an inspiration and example to so many independent filmmakers. He receives most praise for his contribution to the superhero genre, having directed the “Dark Knight” trilogy between 2005 and 2012, while also having directed both the critically acclaimed Inception and The Prestige during this time. After making waves more recently with his science-fiction epic Interstellar and inventive depiction of the Dunkirk evacuation, audiences are wondering what to expect next.

Any potential project is certainly being kept under wraps, and right now there’s very little information that would suggest anything concrete. However, it hasn’t stopped any of his fans discussing the possibilities. When talking about cinema, Nolan’s name enters conversation frequently and for many reasons. Since last year’s Dunkirk, the topic of discussion often strays to one question: not what will he do, but rather, what should he do? The idea of attaching the filmmaker to some sort of imaginary project in our minds is an exciting concept - maybe even more exciting than being given facts. He has found success in many genres, but the idea of having him explore new territory provides endless opportunities. 

German-US producer Jan Harlan (L) and British director Christopher Nolan pose as they arrive on May 13, 2018 for the screening of a remastered version of the film '2001: A Space Odyssey'...German-US producer Jan Harlan (L) and British director Christopher Nolan pose as they arrive on May 13, 2018 for the screening of a remastered version of the film '2001: A Space Odyssey'...

The once supreme Western genre has experienced a lively resurgence in the last few years, with such popular filmmakers as Alejandro G. Inarritu, Scott Cooper and the Coen Brothers - to name a few - weighing in their thoughts on the genre’s facilitation for brutality, allegory and even comedy. It would be a wonderful surprise to see Nolan attached to a western, and surely such a project would attract some great talent. He is often accused of being a rather cold filmmaker; if this recurring comment has any truth at all, then the Old West would provide a suitable canvas indeed. There’s no doubt that it would be well orchestrated by all involved, all it would need is a gripping story to serve as its backbone.

Another fascinating proposition would be a venture into the horror genre. If he were to embark on such a piece, it’s likely that it would be an elaborate, prestigious production very different to the multiplex horror-fare we’ve grown accustomed to. If you were to imagine Nolan embracing a darker, more imaginative side, then the supernatural sub-genre would perhaps be something more likely. It would be great to see him tackle something along these lines, since he’s chosen to explore human horrors throughout his work. Maybe he’ll choose to elaborate on such themes in relation to something more abstract and mysterious.

Many have voiced their enthusiasm for a return to science-fiction, which would still be yet another intriguing announcement. On the other hand, it would be more appealing to see someone of such enterprise embark on something totally unexpected. It’s unlikely to be a comedy, but that would be something very alluring with the right ensemble.

Although it’s no surprise, Nolan is regularly compared to the great Stanley Kubrick; perhaps it’s because of the scope. Kubrick was a director who proved many times that he could master any genre, and this something we are yet to see from Nolan to justify the claims of his many fans. We are all eager to hear details, but one thing is for certain - we’ll all go to see it. In this respect, the comparisons may make sense after all.

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