Near the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Alfred is fed up with Bruce's inability to let go of Batman and quit despite Alfred saying to him

"I've buried enough members of the Wayne family"

so Alfred leaves Bruce.

In the final moments of the film, we see Alfred, sipping his drink in Italy, as he spots Bruce with Selina Kyle-- just as he said he dreamed to one day.

In the interim, Alfred is gone to who-knows-where. His whereabouts are never discussed, never explained or intimated about.

So: was Alfred in on Bruce's plan to 'kill' both Batman and Bruce Wayne, so that Bruce could finally be free? Would they assume the League of Shadows had a way of keeping tabs on their actions, so their fight was just an act?

  • 1
    Indeed - a pretty interesting idea. +1 However, I still subscribe to the notion that Bruce Wayne is dead, and that final scene is all in Alfred's head.
    – Nobby
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 2:44
  • 2
    @Nobby If it was only in Alfred's head then why would Bruce have not used the autopilot and saved himself? Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 14:51
  • 3
    He had already stated that he needed to make the ultimate sacrifice (at least this is hinted in his dialogue) + would he really entrust the autopilot (which he hadn't tested yet) to get the bomb away from the city? + he handed his legacy on to John Blake + he had nothing left in the world now that Rachel was gone and Alfred had left him. That said, I think the ending is ambiguous enough to let us all enjoy the ending we hope it is. For some he lives, for others he dies. It's a glass half-full/empty scenario :)
    – Nobby
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 15:16
  • 1
    I'm really starting to enjoy the ambiguity of the ending, actually. You're slowly converting me here, @Nobby!
    – stevvve
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 15:33
  • 4
    @Nobby I don't see any ambiguity there, of course the whole movie could be a dream, but well. I would rather understand it as Bruce finally finding a way to let go (kill?) Batman and bring the ultimate sacrifice without dying. He finally got back his will to live, analogous to his escape from the pit. He realized that you don't have to die in order to give your life a meaning. So why not use the autopilot (at least it would be rubbish to explicitly mention the repaired autopilot at the end and Alfred doesn't dream about Lucious). But Ok, to each his own, interpretation is still for free.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 19:40

4 Answers 4


The scene at the Wayne graves, Alfred is crying as he feels he has let the Wayne parents down for allowing Bruce to die. He says how he has failed the parents.

I think this clearly indicates that he had no idea of Bruce's plan as you can see he is clearly distraught over the events that unfolded.

  • I don't see it as cut and dry as that. Can you not see Alfred acting like that to protect such a plan from the others present at the funeral?
    – stevvve
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 14:52
  • 5
    Acting to who? There was nobody around when he made that impassioned speech to the headstones.
    – Nobby
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 15:12
  • When Gordon made his speech, Lucius, Blake and Alfred were also present. What I am getting at is that Alfred would act devastated in front of them as part of a plan to have them believe Bruce truly was dead.
    – stevvve
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 15:31
  • 6
    That's true - but his 'academy award' moment came when Gordon et al had left the memorial site.
    – Nobby
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 15:39
  • @stevvve Now you are just insisting on something that should be clear. I don't think the * 'academy award' moment * Nobby mentioned was needed to make the suicide idea believable.
    – Dragos
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 12:57

I think this whole "ambigious death" thing about Bruce Wayne is all due to the fact that Nolan's previous film Inception had this type of ending, therefore people suddenly assume this must also apply here.

It seems perfectly clear to me Bruce is alive, here is the evidence:

  • autopilot fixed on The Bat - (makes sense it was used to fly the bomb out to sea)
  • bat signal fixed - surely Bruce Wayne's work
  • Pearl necklace noted as missing from Bruce's possessions at the will reading...which Selina is wearing at the cafe
  • Alfred sees Bruce at the Cafe! there is nothing to suggest this a dream or his imagination - why would such an imaginary scene appear out of the blue, and out of any type of context?
  • Why would Alfred have imagined/dream of Selina being with Bruce?

No, I don't believe Alfred was in on the "plan". I don't think this was even a plan in the first place - it just happened. Alfred crying at the funeral and his surprise and happiness at seeing Bruce at the cafe all show that he was not aware.

  • I appreciate your answer but some of your evidence is not as definitive as it may appear. Why would Bruce definitely be responsible for the bag signal being fixed? No one else could do that? Selina easily could've broken into the safe (she did it before).
    – stevvve
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 16:54
  • Also, this isn't really the place for this debate because it's just that-- a debate. It's an opinion about what appears to be a rather open-ended conclusion to the film. Chat is the place for this. Let's discuss it there, cuz it's way easier to be civil and positive in a discussion-based area. Come join us! :)
    – stevvve
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 16:55
  • I'm new to this site, so not quite sure of the rules yet, bare with me. Nice to finally find a discussion site where "trolls" are absent.
    – irfy
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 10:16
  • @stevvve "It's an opinion about what appears to be a rather open-ended conclusion to the film." While interpretation is a free good, I'd rather consider it an opinion if the conclusion of this movie actually was open-ended at all in this regard (the question nevertheless was a good one, though).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 8:25

During the scene at the funeral the camera panes away from Bruce's headstone to the headstones of the wayne parents as Alfred is crying and apologizing. However, he is apologizing specifically to the parents for having failed them for not somehow protecting them from their fate, not for failing Bruce--as Bruce is still alive and he knows it.

  • 2
    Why would he start crying out of the blue about something that happened about 20 years previous? Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 2:33

Bruce was alive. Why on earth would Alfred dream him with Selina Kyle, who had met Alfred for a few moments before breaking into Bruce' safe. You folks are BatFans, use your brains, you don't need superpowers.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .