When Reese Learned Bruce Wayne Is Batman


Coleman Reese tried to blackmail Bruce Wayne when he learned he was Batman, but a fan theory has a different interpretation of that scene.

Throughout The Dark Knight, the residents of Gotham City were very close to learning who was behind the Batman mask, and Coleman Reese almost revealed that big secret on TV – but when exactly did he learn Bruce Wayne is Batman? Although Batman is one of the most popular and beloved comic book characters, he hasn’t had the best luck on the big screen, and he has gone through many successes but also many failures. Following the disappointment of Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, the Caped Crusader got another chance now with Christopher Nolan as director, making way for the Dark Knight trilogy.


First was Batman Begins, which introduced the audience to Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne and a more grounded (but still dark) Gotham City, exploring Batman’s origin story and Bruce’s training. Then came The Dark Knight, where Batman came across the Joker (Heath Ledger) and his plans to throw the city into anarchy. Lastly was The Dark Knight Rises, which brought Bruce’s arc to an end following an intense fight against Bane (Tom Hardy) and allies. While the Dark Knight trilogy was well-received by critics and viewers, The Dark Knight stands as not only the best of the trilogy but one of the best superhero movies ever made, and it’s still making way for different interpretations and theories, as it left a couple of mysteries and loose ends.

Related: The Dark Knight: Who Are The Five People That Two-Face Killed?

Among the many things Bruce Wayne/Batman had to deal with in The Dark Knight was his identity being exposed, especially when an employee of Wayne Enterprises, Coleman Reese (Joshua Harto), found information that linked the company to Batman. Reese was an M&A law accountant at Wayne Enterprises who found some numerical irregularities due to the Applied Sciences division’s sudden disappearance, and after investigating more, he found the blueprints for the Tumbler. After explaining all this to Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Reese demanded $10 million per year for life in exchange for his silence. Lucius and the audience immediately understood that Reese found out Bruce was Batman, but a fan theory suggests it was actually Lucius Fox who gave it away.

Coleman Reese in The Dark Knight

A theory posted on Reddit explains that, when Reese arrived at Fox’s office to explain what he found and his demand, he didn’t know Bruce Wayne was Batman – he was simply linking Wayne Enterprises to Batman and accusing them of helping the vigilante. The author points out that Reese never mentions Bruce and doesn’t directly accuse him of being Batman, even though his speech sounds like it. The theory is supported by Reese’s reaction when Lucius calls his bluff and tacitly admits Bruce is Batman, as he’s visibly shocked and uncomfortable and ends up backing down. Reese’s plan, then, wasn’t to go against Bruce Wayne/Batman but against Wayne Enterprises, and the reveal of Bruce being Batman made him realize he didn’t really think his plan through. In addition to that, Reese didn’t threaten to expose Bruce when talking to Fox, and it was only when the Joker started creating chaos around Gotham that he attempted to do so, as he now knew it was Bruce thanks to Fox.

This theory on when Reese knew Bruce Wayne was Batman in The Dark Knight actually makes sense as he truly never made a reference to Bruce or him being Batman, instead focusing on how Wayne Enterprises had been investing in the vigilante and building stuff for him, even asking Fox “what are you building for him now? a rocket ship?” – and had he known Bruce was Batman, he surely wouldn’t have made those demands as he clearly knew what both could do to him, and he only threatened to expose him on TV in an attempt to save Gotham City. There are many moments throughout the Dark Knight trilogy like this one that are understood in one way but might be hiding something else, and that’s what makes revisiting these movies so exciting and interesting.

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