Hey, comiskeybum. I've seen DKR 3 times now. I'm as avid a batman fan as youll find anywhere. as a comic collector for over 40 years now, The Dark Knight has always been my favorite, by far. Being an artist, as well, The batman is one of my favorite subjects. Here's my thoughts on your comments:
Yes, I think that it actually was Bruce and Salina that Alfred saw at the cafe. That particular ending not only allowed moviegoers to leave the theater excited that Bruce Wayne survived, and that there certainly would be a renewing of Bruce and Alfreds friendship, but it certainly left a future return of Christian Bale at least a remote possibility.
As far as 'robin' is concerned, I've always thought (strongly) that there should NEVER, under any circumstance, ever be another attempt at a Robin in any future Batman movie. The Lame attempt at the Christopher Odonnel version of the character a few films back was an absolute disaster. Since I truely believe that the Nolan/Bale version of the Dark Knight is the truest version of the comic book character, there would be absolutely no such thing as a smart-mouthed robin popping off to Batman every 5 minutes. In other words, it's the DK's way.....or the Highway!. Now, with that said, a possible Joseph Gordon-Levitt version of a robin (or possibly Nightwing), I could possibly get excited about, simply because It would give us an older, more seasoned, more 'adult' version of the character. Keep in mind, now, that the various versions of robin throughout the comic years, has always been a young 13 to 20 year old.
As far as Bruce Wayne being alive. If you remember lucius Fox, When he was explaining the new 'Batwing' aircraft to Bruce for the first time, mentioned to Bruce that the 'autopilot' feature wasn't functional on it. That came back into play towards the end of the movie when batman was about to transport the bomb, attached to the aircraft, out to gotham harbor to drop it in. Batman knew, and so did the crowd standing watching, that since there was no autopilot to allow the aircraft to 'fly itself' to the harbor, that he would have to do so himself. As a result, he would be 'blown up' along with the bomb. But what Batman also knew, was that he/Bruce Wayne had secretly repaired the autopilot feature on the Batwing sometime back, so he knew that he would be able to bail-out of the aircraft, and it would, indeed, pilot itself out onto the harbor. (veeeerrry clever, huh.) So everyone watching saw the explosion, and assumed that Batman died because of it.
As far as any future DK movie is concerned. Christian Bale went on record as saying, that if Christopher Nolan wasn't coming back for a 4th movie, then he was also done with the franchise. But recently, christopher nolan has been quoted as saying (I wish I had the link to that interview) that he wouldn't totally rule out directing another batman film. If that were true, then certainly we could probably count on Bale, as well as the rest of the cast, getting back on board. We can only HOPE that this is true. Keep in mind, also, that Christopher Nolan is also directing the new
superman 'Man of steel' film.
So, comiskeybum, I got a little long-winded here, but those are my views on the points that you raised. Lets hope that any future installments of this great franchise, will be as well done as the series that mr. Nolan has given us.
Thanks for listening.