In the latest issue of Empire, The Dark Knight Rises director, Christopher Nolan dishes some serious facts on next summer's third and presumably final film in his series of Batman films.
In the most fundamental bit of info we've received on the film's plot, Nolan has revealed that the film actually takes place eight years after events in The Dark Knight.
After being declared "the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now," purposely taking blames for the crimes of Two-Face, and on the run from the Police, we will rejoin Batman's struggle nearly a decade later, at a point in which Nolan says he is "not in a great state."
Oh, but wait, there's more! Like what exactly is the deal with Bane's wheezing.
Nolan talks a great deal about Tom Hardy's role as Bane, who as a Bat-Villain will bring an unprecedented amount of physicality to the undoubtedly tired (and possibly jaded) Dark Knight. However, as the title seems to indicate, we should likely witness the moment when Batman finally does become the hero that Gotham not just deserves, but needs.
Nolan's Bane, a radical departure from the mutated, mindless oaf portrayed in Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin, will also serve as a highly intelligent nemesis, who is both more than a match for Batman physically, but psychologically, as well.
Nolan reveals that the previously-discussed prologue will essentially be the first 6-7 minutes of the film, giving the audience a proper introduction to his incarnation of Bane.
As he describes the character:
"With Bane we are looking to give Batman a physical challenge that he hasn't had before. He's a great sort of movie monster, but with an incredible brain, and that was a side of him that hand't been taped before. Because the stories from the comics are very epic and very evocative---very much in the way that Bruce Wayne's origin story is epic and evocative. We were looking to really parallel that with our choice of villain. So he's a worthy adversary."
He goes on:
"What I knew is that from Tom I would get something where you get a total character and everything has incredible thought applied to it. And a lot of what he's doing is very counterintuitive. He has this incredible disjunct between the expressiveness of the voice and the stillness of the movement of his body. He's found a way to play a character who is enormous and powerful with a sort of calm to it, but also is able to incredibly fast at times. Unpredictable. He just has a raw threat to him that's extraordinary. It's a very powerful thing when you see it come together, beyond what I have ever imagined. That's what you get from working with great actors."
Nolan also reveals the mystery behind Bane's wheezing. Apparently, he will be substituting the character's chemical dependency on an intravenous drug called Venom in the comics for a Vader-like breathing mechanism attached to two canisters of some form of anesthetic gas. (In that sense, it could duplicate how Venom made Bane seemingly immune to pain.) Nolan stresses that due to an injury early on in the character's story, Bane cannot survive without his mask.
On a final note, Nolan would also put to bed any rumors that The Riddler was EVER in the running to be the film's villain. In fact, he seems to go out of his way to trash the character. As he explains.
"The world of Batman indeed the world of all graphic novels, deals with archetypes, and there's a very real sense in which the Joker is an extreme and an absolute. So when you're looking to continue the story, then you certainly don't want a watered-down version of a character you've already done. You want a different archetype. What Bane represents in the comics is the ultimate physical enemy."
There certainly has been a bit of Batt-ennui, due to the vast array of leaked set footage that continues to flood the Internet to this very day. However, while its rough nature did leave many hardcore fans unsettled, it does sound like Nolan is attempting to wrap-up the story of Bruce Wayne/Batman in way that makes the first two films pay off in the final product.
The fans will certainly be the judge of that...at least partially, when the prologue to The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters on December 16 with Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.