Given all the set photos that have circulated the internet, it's not as if the pair have been under wraps, but Empire magazine has unveiled the first official photographs of The Dark Knight Rises adversaries Batman and Bane. The Caped Crusader (Christian Bale) and his jacked up foe (Tom Hardy) will be throwing down in the third Christopher Nolan Batman movie, scheduled to be released July 20, 2012.
Nolan told Empire "It's really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne's story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he's an older Bruce Wayne; he's not in a great state.
"With Bane, we're looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn't had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we're testing Batman both physically as well as mentally."
Hardy also commented about his Bane character. "He's brutal. Brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."