‘The Dark Knight’: Harvey Dent Was Originally Supposed To Be Larry Holden’s Character in ‘Batman Begins’ — ‘We Changed Our Minds Because We Weren’t Going To Make a Second Film’
Harvey Dent is one of the most memorable characters in the Dark Knight trilogy. His shocking turn into Two-Face surprised viewers everywhere, and his tragic death was comparable to that of a character in a Shakespeare story.
Yet, as seamlessly as Harvey Dent fit in The Dark Knight, he was actually supposed to be included in Batman Begins. Larry Holden’s character—who ended up being Carl Finch—was originally who Christopher Nolan had planned on being Harvey Dent.
The ‘Dark Knight’ production crew wasn’t sure how they would make three Batman films
When the production team first started working on The Dark Knight trilogy, there were no solid plans for creating three films. Nolan and David Goyer looked toward Harvey Dent, a central character in the Batman universe to help guide them with the decision.
“I think, actually, the discussion of Harvey Dent and how he plays in the three films is very indicative of how difficult it is to answer the question of if it was always planned as a trilogy,” Nolan said.
The two figured that creating a character arc with Harvey Dent would allow them to create three films, but weren’t sure how they’d execute it.
“Very early on, … David Goyer and myself talked about Harvey Dent, and how he might play in the Bruce Wayne story, which loosely was saying, ‘Okay, every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. That lends itself to three movies, three-act structure, but that was about as far as we ever got.”
Harvey Dent was originally supposed to be in ‘Batman Begins’
“And I think Harvey Dent was part of that because we did talk about introducing him,” Nolan said. “In fact, in David’s earliest draft, Larry Holden’s character is actually referred to as Harvey Dent.”
Although Goyer originally had Holden’s character, Carl Finch, written as Harvey Dent, he decided to change his mind because he didn’t think there’d be subsequent films.
“And then we changed our minds because we weren’t going to make a second film, as far as we knew,” Nolan said. “We were putting all of our eggs in one basket, so the function Harvey Dent would’ve had in the first film didn’t justify using the name of the character. We said, ‘No, we’re just going to make this one movie. We’re going to make it as good as it can possibly be.
Harvey Dent could’ve been in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, but a third movie wasn’t guaranteed either
When the time came to develop The Dark Knight, Nolan had a similar dilemma. The production team wasn’t anticipating creating the third film, so they decided to play it safe and have Harvey Dent’s story end in the second film.
Regardless, Nolan thinks The Dark Knight trilogy ended up playing out the best way it possibly could’ve.
“Then when we decided to make a second film, we did the same thing,” Nolan added. “If we knew we were doing a third film, there might’ve been an argument for spreading Two-Face’s story over another film, and that’s the kind of trap you fall into when you’re looking too far ahead. Because we wouldn’t have made The Dark Knight the way we made it, and it was made, in my opinion, the right way for the story we wanted to tell. We didn’t hold anything back for a third film, we didn’t keep Two-Face alive for any reason.”