‘The Dark Knight’: Batman’s Iconic Batmobile Was Created by Merging a Humvee and a Classic Lamborghini Model

The Dark Knight trilogy is arguably the most highly-regarded Batman film in existence, and in the greater DC Comics film universe overall. Christopher Nolan’s creative genius is evident in all three of the films, but making them wasn’t easy.

One of his biggest challenges was bringing back the Batmobile, which the studio was adamant about including. In order to find creative inspiration for the iconic vehicle, the production team relied on a Humvee and a classic Lamborghini model to guide their design. 

Christopher Nolan initially didn’t know to include the Batmobile in ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy 

The Dark Knight
The Batmobile featured in ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy | Warner Bros

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During the early stages of the development of The Dark Knight trilogy, a lot of ideas were tossed around. One that stuck was the concept of bringing back the Batmobile, however, Nolan had no idea how he would incorporate it. He detailed the process of creating the Batmobile during a recently-published interview with Warner Brothers.

“I remember very clearly sitting there and nodding, and going, ‘Ok, I’ll think about how to do that,’ but knowing that I couldn’t conceive of any way, at that stage, to get a Batmobile into the film,” Nolan admitted. “I had been assuming we would not deal with that at all, that that would be something that if somebody made sequels later on… Because it seemed so fanciful.”

Even though the studio wasn’t necessarily pressuring Nolan to incorporate the Batmobile in the series, he knew they strongly desired to include it. 

“They weren’t imposing it, but it was clear that just emotionally it wasn’t going to be Batman for them without the Batmobile. They weren’t saying they needed to sell a bunch of toys or anything, it was just kind of like it was going to be disappointing without it. And I thought, ‘Ok.’ 

The ‘Dark Knight’ production team wanted their Batmobile to emphasize ‘function over form’

“It became a narrative challenge, to sit there with David Goyer and figure out ‘How do we make that credible in our telling?’” Nolan said.

“There shouldn’t be anything Batman really does because of style, it should always be function over form,” Goyer said. “And we felt that in some of the previous iterations, the Batmobile had been form over function. Once you say, ‘It’s gotta be realistic, how can you figure this out in the real world,’ it leads you to some problems, but it also leads you to some really interesting solutions.” 

The ‘Dark Knight’ Batmobile design was inspired by a Humvee and a classic Lamborghini model

Designing the Batmobile was an immense challenge for the Dark Knight production crew. Production designer Nathan Crowley initially had trouble finding a visual guide for his design but ended up getting inspiration from two drastically different vehicles. 

“He wanted a sort of urban assault vehicle, and he sort of, off the cuff, [said] ‘Sort of like a Humvee and an old 70’s Lamborghini,” Crowley said. So I went to Toys R’ Us and bought a Humvee, and I went to the model store and bought I think it was the Lamborghini [Countach], and I smashed them together to see what they’d look like. … And it was a little awful, but that’s how we got going.” 

The Batmobile’s design became one of the film’s most important elements. For Nolan, the challenge of selling the Batmobile as a realistic vehicle was vital to making The Dark Knight trilogy credible.