Christopher Nolan has confirmed that The Dark Knight Rises will be his final Batman film.
The London-based filmmaker, who directed all three movies in his rebooted series, has no current plans to revisit the universe or the characters after the third instalment.
"I've been working on Batman for almost 10 years, nine full years. It has been incredible and it has definitely been a journey," he said.
"Now it's over and I leave it with a certain amount of sadness, but I don't have to say goodbye to all the people I've worked with. But I do have to say goodbye to the characters and that is bitter-sweet to me - it's been a really important period of my life."
Christopher - who also co-wrote the script with brother Jonathan Nolan and co-produced the film with wife Emma Thomas - felt some pressure over creating a follow-up to the hugely successful The Dark Knight, which saw the late Heath Ledger being honoured post-humously with the Oscar for best supporting actor.
"I'm terrified. But in terms of living up to the previous film, I think you'd be crazy to try and chase that kind of success. The film was a phenomenon, no one can really explain that, it just happened," he said.
He added: "We were all very excited to bring this tale full circle; that was our chief inspiration for returning to Gotham. We also felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to fulfil expectations based on the first two movies while giving the audience something they hadn't seen before. It was a tricky balance."
The Dark Knight Rises, starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway, opens in cinemas on July 20.