Once Batman dives into the ocean with the bomb and "The Bat", and after Bruce Wayne's obituaries are read and Robin discovers what Mr. Wayne left back for him, what is the significance of the final scene with Alfred meeting Bruce Wayne and Selina at the cafe?

Is it Alfred's rendition of what "the end" should have been?

  • The ending Alfred's scene is just like a dream come true moment.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 20:09
  • 9
    Gotta remember that tdkr is not inception. There is no reason to believe we would be showed anything that didn't exist.
    – user5000
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 6:38
  • If you ask me, it may just give us a hint that Bruce lived in the end, and that there will be a 4th movie of this Batman series. This is just speculation though.
    – paddotk
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 13:05
  • 3
    @poepje "and that there will be a 4th movie of this Batman series" - Though I think that's exactly the opposite of what the end suggested. With this end it is shown that Bruce finally managed to escape Gotham and all its sorrows and finally managed to leave Batman behind. Him now returning to the role of Batman would be pretty stupid and inconsistent from Bruce and Nolan (and was surely not what Nolan had in mind with this LotR-like "über-end"). If anyone had the chance of returning in another movie, it would be Blake, but I don't think that was intended by Nolan either.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 14:15
  • @ChristianRau The ending part with Blake discovering the Batcave contributed to my thought as well, and I agree it would seem more likely that he would continue as 'Robin' in a sequal -if any. But then again, since Robin never was Robin without the Bat.. I don't think that would happen anytime soon either. I guess all we can do is wait and see.
    – paddotk
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


First of all it is an allusion to Alfred's previous story: When Bruce was away for many years during the events of Batman Begins (when he was an outlaw and later trained by the League of Shadows), Alfred was every years on vacation in that restaurant and hoped for seeing Bruce sitting there happily. He just hoped that he would finally have found a way to escape all the sorrow that Gotham meant for him.

As we learn in one of the ending scenes, the autopilot has been secretly repaired by Bruce a long time ago, which already suggests that there was something going on with the Bat. So Bruce really got out of it alive. And this is in line with the movie's earlier motive of Bruce rediscovering his will to live (think of the pit scene as a good example). After all his sorrows and secretly hoping to die for the sake of Gotham, he finally managed to find back to himself and discovered that there could be a Bruce Wayne without a Batman. He managed the "symbol" to bring the ultimate sacrifice for Gotham and remain in the minds of the people forever, while still not sacrificing the "person" and found a way to finally separate Batman from Bruce Wayne.

And this leaving behind of Gotham and all its sorrows is what Alfred always hoped for Bruce and in this last scene he (and the audience) finally found it. So what Christopher Nolan gave there was not only a happy ending for Alfred (and the audience) but the culmination of Bruce's struggle to get out of the pit he was in since the death of his parents (and to show that final conclusion for the main character is a strength only a completed trilogy can play out). After all, this path of Bruce to leave behind his sorrows and to finally cope with all the emotional trauma without just supressing it into the Batman was a major point of the the whole trilogy.

There might be a few people that are going to tell you that the ending scene was just a dream by Alfred and he just wished for Bruce to not have died, I for myself am pretty sure that Alfred indeed saw Bruce there at the end in reality, because of the above mentioned reasons. Still one could just see this whole 3-movie-struggle for peace of mind as unsuccessful and fruitless with Bruce's death as the only viable solution, but I refuse to do so for the reason that The Dark Knight Rises's whole motive of rediscovering his will to live suggests otherwise.

  • 1
    Very well written, but I sincerely reckon this answer needs a TLDR.
    – Sayan
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 11:28
  • 1
    @KeyBrdBasher The TLDR was supposed to be the last paragraph over the ---, but maybe I could make that a bit more substantial.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 11:41
  • Yes, you are right. I was making the same point, a more consolidated summary(one that has nothing to do with the approach above the ---).
    – Sayan
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 10:36
  • or it could be that he killed bruce wayne to live fully as Batman??? Maybe he is on vacation? Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 12:01
  • 2
    @davidlumix It isn't a dream for a millions of reasons, the least reason, if any, would be Selina, though. FWIW he has only seen her on a photo, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 10:02

It's not "Alfred's rendition of what "the end" should have been". It's what actually happened. Everyone thinks that Bruce Wayne is dead and so is Batman.

That was Bruce Wayne's ploy. During the final 5 minutes it is revealed that "The Bat" had an auto pilot system. This proves that it is not necessary that Batman destroyed himself with the plane and the bomb. He could have easily escaped the plane leaving it on Auto Pilot, thus saving the city and himself too. This theory is verified when we see that Alfred sees Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in a cafe.

This is similar to the scene (imaginative), which Alfred had narrated to Bruce earlier in the movie - 'When Bruce was in China (Batman Begins) everyone thought that he was dead. When Alfred used to go to a restaurant/cafe, he always expected that one day Bruce would suddenly appear before him'.

In the end it just happens like that - "Everyone thinks that Bruce is dead but he suddenly appears before Alfred"

That's the significance of ending scene.


Bruce Wayne wanted somebody to take his mantle and protect the city. Robin was the best choice for him who gets the cave and all the gadgets to protect Gotham after Batman. Alfred dreamt about meeting Mr. Wayne with a girl at a cafe, they don't speak to each other but they just nod. This is the exactly the ending scene, like a dream come true. Films don't end at Climax, they must have conclusions. TDKR gave the epic conclusion to the trilogy.

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