Christian Bale

After more than five years and upwards of $700 million at the box office, Christian Bale says the upcoming third Batman film will be his last as the caped crusader — unless Chris Nolan tells him otherwise.

"Unless Chris says different, this will be the last time I'm playing Batman," Bale, 36, told E! News.

The Dark Knight Rises is planned as the final chapter, anyway, in Nolan's reboot of the franchise.

And the third Batman movie is called ...

Because of the speculation surrounding the third film, the actor says he doesn't believe anything until he hears it from the writer-director.

"Until Chris tells me, I don't believe it," Bale told the site. "It's gotta be from his mouth, or else I don't really know."

Chris Nolan to begin filming third Batman film in April

With the upcoming third film, Bale will be the longest-running Batman on the big screen. Before Bale took over the coveted role for 2005's Batman Begins, Michael Keaton played the iconic vigilante for two films, followed by Val Kilmer and George Clooney in one movie each.

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Batman Begins, and the 2008 sequel The Dark Knight, have been widely credited with bringing newfound respect to the franchise after the 1997 widely ridiculed flop Batman & Robin, which starred Clooney and Chris O'Donnell (now a star of NCIS: Los Angeles) as Robin.

Bale will next be seen in the awards season hopeful The Fighter, which hits theaters Dec. 17. The Dark Knight Rises is scheduled for release on July 20, 2012.