Trucking Tidbits | Trucks in Film: Batman

Although not a truck per se, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to mention what is probably the most iconic vehicle of all time comparable to that of Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. There had been many very different approaches to the caped crusader’s batmobile, The Tumbler from Chrisopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was a very unique choice that worked for the realistic movie universe. Although polarizing at first, fans and audiences alike have grown to adore this version of the Batmobile featured in these acclaimed films.

One of the most early ideas for Batman Begins was the idea of combining the speed and grace of a Lamborghini with the tankiness of a Humvee. It expresses the dual nature of Batman and Bruce Wayne. On one hand, he’s a rich playboy with an affinity for showing off, and on the other hand, he’s tactical, and powerful and needs a vehicle and suits his style of crime fighting.

Nolan made a very crude small-scale version of the Batmobile he envisioned on Play-Doh and was one of the first things he pitched to producers. He said that if he showed that to people, they would either get it or not, and if they didn’t get it, he would be in trouble. That if people understood how the Batmobile works in the version of the world he was going for, people would also understand how the rest of the world would work.

Production designer Nathan Crowley made a model shop in Nolan’s garage in LA where they would both tinker and make miniature concept cars. The 5th version is the final design and took 8 weeks to make. The design was given to the special effects department in London where they built this mini monster truck.

The design featured a cockpit that opened like an unfurling flower. Very Freudian. And flaps like an airplane that made it go faster. The airflow under the car work similarly to how race cars work. The low pressure air move faster under the car and the high pressure air on top of the car pushed the vehicle down. Along with the help of a jet engine behind it, the Tumbler is one fast vehicle! The two wheels in the front of the vehicle are independent. Meaning they can each steer and stop on their own. The amazing shock system is incorporated to allow the vehicle to land well after jumping off of ramps for stunts. This is a big reason why the vehicle is so agile in some of those action scenes in the movies. With the help of special effects, stunt drivers, and miniatures, the Tumbler is a fascinating design that served as the backbone of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight trilogy.

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