We’ve spent years wondering about the villains and love interest(s) in Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises – and now we at last have some definitive answers.

Christian Bale will return as the Caped Crusader in Batman 3 opposite two new foes – Oscar ceremony co-host Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. the sinewy anti-heroine, Catwoman) and Inception‘s Tom Hardy as the bruiser referred to only as Bane.

Warner Bros. made the announcement via a press release that featured the following quotes by Chris Nolan – who also cowrote the Dark Knight Rises screenplay with his brother, Jonathan:

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story… I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”

Hathaway was previously shortlisted as one of the actresses being considered to appear in Nolan’s followup to The Dark Knight. She will follow in the footsteps of many an actress before her who played Batman’s sleek foe (and love interest) Catwoman onscreen – with perhaps the most memorable live-action incarnation being that of Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns back in 1992 (we’ll pretend that Halle Berry movie never happened).

Pfeiffer as Catwoman.

Bane has a long history in the Batman universe as well – the character is not only a brutal, muscle-bound thug who can match the Caped Crusader in terms of physical prowess, he even once left Bruce Wayne paralyzed by snapping his spine during one of their battles in the epic comic book storyline “Batman: Knightfall”. It’s an excellent move on Nolan’s part to select a vicious villain like Bane to be the antagonist in the next entry in his gritty, hard-hitting trilogy about the dark vigilante. Just don’t expect Hardy to dress up like this for the part:

What do you think of this casting news for The Dark Knight Rises? Are you happy with Catwoman and Bane as the rogues? How about the actors playing them?

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Source: Warner Bros.