17/07/2012 05:21 BST | Updated 17/07/2012 05:21 BST

'The Dark Knight Rises' Premiere: Christian Bale Says Farewell To Batman (PICTURES, VIDEO)

After a long and highly-anticipated wait, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy finale The Dark Knight Rises celebrated its world premiere in New York Monday night.

The film's A-list cast turned out on the 'black carpet', including Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman and Joseph-Gordon Levitt.

For Bale it was another chance to say goodbye to his iconic role as Batman which has brought him international fame and critical acclaim.

PHOTOS: The Dark Knight Rises cast arrive at the world premiere...

Speaking to E! News, he said: "It's bittersweet, but I think though that Chris is such a good storyteller, if he says it's the right time to finish, it's the right time to finish,

"It's the only character I've played three times and there's certainly a lot more stories that could be told, he's a really interesting character, but enough's enough. It's nice to leave when we're out on top instead of leaving people wanting less."

Earlier this week he told The Daily Mirror he spent "a good 20 minutes" alone in his Batman costume after The Dark Knight Rises wrapped as he prepared to mark the end of an era.

The superstar cast finished filming the final instalment of moviemaker Christopher Nolan's blockbuster trilogy in December, and Bale revealed he quickly left the set to be by himself for a moment of reflection in his Caped Crusader cowl.

He said: "It was a fairly low-key affair. I don't like big goodbyes so I said goodbye to everybody fairly quickly and then sat in the outfit and the cowl for a good 20 minutes.

"I was just reflecting (on) what it had meant to me through the years."

Bale credits the big-budget franchise with giving him the freedom to pick and choose his roles, but admits he now wants to get involved in smaller projects.

He added: "Before Batman I would have these wonderful creative conversations with directors and writers and they'd always say, 'I'd love you to make my movie.' And then financiers would get involved and they'd say, 'Don't even mention Christian Bale to me. It's not going to happen.' Well, that's changed and now I get to make movies that nobody would have cast me in previously... I want to make some small movies now. I'm looking at very different kinds of movies."