The director said that the six-minute opening to his superhero sequel, which will debut before IMAX screenings of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol this month, was suitably action-packed so that he could "take time" setting up the film's story.
"My feeling, particularly on an action film, is you want to be thrown into a situation that somehow takes your breath away early in the film," Nolan told Entertainment Weekly. "I think rhythmically - you know, I view these films as pieces of music - if you start with a bit of a bang, it buys you more time to then calmly move into the story and the characters.
"We have a lot of characters in this film, a lot of people to introduce, a lot of catching up to do with the audience. So I think it was important to really throw something big on screen and then take our time."
Nolan added that he was "nervous" about the reaction to the Dark Knight Rises prologue, since he didn't want viewers to influence his vision for the movie.
"I am excited about it. I'm only nervous about it in that the rest of the film isn't finished yet, so we're still in the evolving creative process," he said. "I wouldn't want the reactions to skew that. We try to work in a vacuum a little bit.
"It's always different in the editing room. There's a lot of discovery and a long process of re-discovery."
The Dark Knight Rises prologue will be screened from December 16 in the US and December 21 in the UK.
Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in The Dark Knight Rises, opening in cinemas on June 20, 2012.
> 'Dark Knight Rises' Bane prologue details surface online?
Watch the teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises below:
Move through a gallery of pictures from the set of The Dark Knight Rises below: