Demythify: The Dark Knight Rises Ending & Sequel, Total Recall 2012, 1990, 2070 & NASA Mars Mission (Spoilers)

It has been a tragic few weeks in the United States.

First, we had the senseless shooting rampage in Colorado at the film debut of The Dark Knight Rises.

Now, this past Sunday, there was a senseless shooting rampage in Wisconsin by another crazed gunman at a place of worship, a temple of the peaceful Sikh faith. Up-to-date information available at

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those killed in Wisconsin and I pray for a speedy recovery to those injured. I also continue to mourn with those impacted by the Colorado shootings.

Tragic. Sad.

This week’s Demythify column is a potpourri edition tackling bits about The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, and NASA’s current Mission to Mars.

And, fear not, I’ll be explaining why it makes sense to include these two films in the same column.

Read on…

The Dark Knight Rises Novelization Answers Key Question?

Since The Dark Knight Rises hit theatres and marked the end of Director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale‘s work with the franchise, questions have been raised about whether Warner Bros. will reboot the movie franchise or continue the Dark Knight continuity. The discussion about a The Dark Knight Rises movie sequel gained more ground based on the ending of the film.

Not sure if I need a spoiler warning, but I did include one in the title of this column.

Anyhow, in it, ex-Detective John Blake played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose real name is Robin John Blake, is guided to the Batcave behind the waterfall. There is no dialogue or exposition in the movie scene. That left many to wonder whether Blake would become Batman, Nightwing or Robin. It also led to a debate whether a sequel featuring Blake in a lead role could or would be next.

The possibilities, teases, and words of the creative team were dissected and led to heated online chatter.

With all that, it would appear that the official The Dark Knight Rises novelization penned by acclaimed writer Greg Cox for Titan Books, enhances that movie scene with some interesting internal monologue by John Blake. He is in the Batcave contemplating the future.

    The bats were everywhere, screeching in the dark. [John] Blake crouched defensively as their wings and bodies swirled around him like a living cyclone. An instinctive sense of panic bubbled up inside him, but he forced it back down.

    He knew why [Bruce] Wayne brought him here.

    Bats were more than symbols of fear. In Gotham, they had come to stand for hope and justice and a legend that was bigger than just one man. A hero who could be anyone. He raised his head as the bats welcomed him to their abode.

    He rose and was swallowed up by the darkness of their wings.

It would appear that the definative intention of Christopher Nolan’s ending for The Dark Knight Rises film would have Robin John Blake assuming the cowl of the Batman. Will this see the light of day on film? I hope so, but it seems unlikely. What does seem likely is that a John Blake as Batman could be continued in novel and/or comic book form. DC Comics is doing this kind of thing already with Smallville Season 11 – following the TV series characters post finale – as an online comic first and print comic too.

Time will tell, but I certainly hope to experience the next chapter in John Blake’s pop culture existence somewhere. I also think he’d be a great addition to the Batman Family – in costume or not – as part of the DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52.

Interestingly, beyond the enhancement of that John Blake / Batcave scene, the novel also alludes to the Joker as has been reported across the internet. The novel noted the following.

    The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumour had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate.

    Or perhaps he escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina [Kyle].

Despite the tragedy surrounding Joker actor Heath Ledger’s death, his interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime could return to any John Blake as Batman adventure in novel or comic book form, with a silver screen return unlikely.

Total Recall 2012, 1990 and the TV Prequel – Does Mars Matter?

I just watched the Total Recall: Ultimate Rekall Edition on Blu-Ray. I remember why I enjoyed the film when I saw it 20 or so years ago. We get sci-fi and action, the latter in a way that only Arnold Schwarzeneggar and director Paul Verhoeven of Robocop can deliver. It was also nice exeriencing actress Sharon Stone in her prime dishing out action and exuding massive amounts of sexiness.

What got me as well was how integral to the movie plot the planet Mars was for the 1990 film. In fact, the TV series that spun-off from the movie – the TV series was a prequel set in 2070 (actually called Total Recall: 2070) while the film was set in 2084 – also had a core element of it being Mars.

Why is this a concern in 2012?

Well, Total Recall’s 2012 installment by Director Len Wiseman does NOT involve Mars at all! In Total Film #196 magazine, Wiseman notes the below as it relates to his initial reading of the new Total Recall’s script.

    “I was like, ‘Holy Sh*t, if it doesn’t go to Mars, then what’s happening?’ I was turning the pages so fast that by the time I got done, I was almost leaving the offices going, ‘Call my agents, I have to do this.'”

I haven’t seen the new Total Recall movie yet, but it is on agenda for this week. Since my wife and I enjoyed the Blu-Ray edition of the 1990 film, we’re both intrigued by what a Mars-less Recall film would be like. Plus, for me, I have enjoyed Wiseman’s Underworld films, so his sci-fi / fantasy geek credentials are established for me.

In the new film, Colin Farrell plays the role(s) of bored blue-collar grunt Douglas Quaid who, after a Rekall memory vacation mishap, believes he is a former spy Hauser. And, as the tag lien of the film goes, the whole raison d’etre of the film is to determine: “What is Real? What is Rekall?”.

Farrell’s Quaid is married to Lori, played by Kate Beckinsale, whose character in the original film was an enemy spy who becomes at odds with Quaid / Hauser after his Rekall mishap.

The third wheel in this relationship is Jessica Biel‘s Melina who was a love interest for Quaid’s Hauser personality and whose character in the earlier film was part of revolutionary forces against a politico businessman Cohaagen, played in the 2012 film by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Actress Kate Beckinsale describes the new film and the absence of Mars in the film as noted below.

    “That was one of the things we made differently from the original… Arnold [Schwarzeneggar] and Sharon [Stone] have this extremely sexy marriage that seems, like, why would anyone need a mission to Mars when you have that? We wanted to give more of a sense of two people who were nor in love.”

And, to ensure that lumping Total Recall and The Dark Knight Rises together in one column can make some sense to you, below is how actress Jessica Biel describes 2012’s Total Recall film with particular attention to a more significant political backdrop than the original film.

    “I feel kind of what [Christopher] Nolan did for Batman, Len [Wiseman] is doing for Total Recall.”

Big props and bigger comparisons indeed!

I’m intrigued by Cranston’s Cohaagen, who is the head of Euromerica in the new film not the Mars colony the character led in the original film, and other supporting actors that pop up in the 2012 Total Recall offering: John Cho as a Rekall employee McClane, Bill Nighy as rebel leader Matthias and Ethan Hawke in a cameo as a scientist.

I’m glad I saw the original film recently, in advance of my viewing of the new film iteration this week. I may have to pull out my Philip K. Dick anthology to see how integral the source material, his “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” short story, is to the new and old Total Recall films.

While Mars may be absent from Total Recall’s 2012 film edition, it is interesting on the same weekend that the film debuts, NASA was planning on landing a rover on the red planet!

NASA’s 2012 Mars Mission!

Total Recall 2012’s loss is NASA’s gain? 🙂

In November 2011, NASA sent the rover Curiosity on its mission to Mars. The last status update, as of the writing of this column, from NASA on their mission was as follows:

    Curiosity Closes in on its New ‘Home’
    Sat, 04 Aug 2012 07:20:24 PM EDT

    With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft’s navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL’s descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).

At the time of the writing of this column, the results on the landing were not known.

For updates on the NASA mission, check out their dedicated official webpage here.

For those of you that will stay up late into Monday morning and want to watch history in action, NASA will be streaming live here.

UPDATED (2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time)

It looks like the Curiosity Rover landed in the Gale Crater as planned. Below are the first two images from 2012’s Mars landing released by NASA!

Congratulations to the fine folks at NASA for a job well done! Anything is possible.

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