You can usually gauge how well a movie has crafted its central villain by the length of time that discussion of, and fascination with, said villain lasts after the movie has been released. Despite all the claims that Tom Hardy’s Bane in Dark Knight Rises wasn’t going to be able to hold a candle to Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, we’ve been seeing and hearing about Bane quite extensively lately – most notably in the sheer flood of Internet memes that have been created in half-celebration, half-mockery, of the whimsically-voiced terrorist.

Today we add to our “Banemania” with news of a Dark Knight Rises deleted scene that reveals more story behind Bane’s life-changing injury, with a few photos from the TDKR set of Hardy without his Bane mask on, and his (cosmetically applied) scars showing.

Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (Dark Knight Trilogy, Casino Royale) was doing an interview with GQ about the wardrobe she designed for Bane in Dark Knight Rises, and in the course of that discussion, let slip about a scene that didn’t actually make it into the theatrical cut of the film. At this point it would be kind of silly to call the following a SPOILER – but all the same, for those who like to stay uninformed about their deleted scenes until they see them: MILD DELETED SCENE SPOILER BELOW.

Said Lindy, about the scene:

[The Movie is] not out in England yet, but the other thing that you should have seen during that sequence is [Bane] being injured in his youth. So one of the fundamental things about his costume is that he has this scar from the back injury. Even if he hasn’t got the bulletproof vest on, he still has to wear the waist belt and the braces. In that scene in the prison, where he’s learning to fight the same way Batman learned to fight, he’s wearing an early version of his waist belt. It’s showing support, but it’s not the finished one he eventually wears. He’s also wearing an early version of his gas mask, all glued together.

Well, if you look at the film, unless they’ve cut it—and I’m sure they haven’t—there’s a whole early section for Tom Hardy where he’s fighting and being taunted by people. He’s got chains on him, and he’s standing on a wooden thing while people are attacking him. And in that scene, he’s wearing a much more ragged, primitive version of the mask…I suppose you have to cut things. I won’t elaborate on it too much, because it isn’t in the film, but there was another section that showed you why he had the mask and where it came from.

From that description, it seems like there was a fair amount of “Bane Begins” included in the film. Our controversial Dark Knight Rises podcast features a large segment with me nitpicking the development of the antagonists in the film, but given the final shape of the theatrical cut, I’m not sure that there was much room for more Bane backstory. Besides: seeing the evolution of Bane wouldn’t have been nearly as fun as hearing his “I became a man in the darkness” speech. Classic Bane.

Just for fun, check out these old set photos of Tom Hardy without his Bane mask, hanging out on the set of Dark Knight Rises:

 

You can clearly see the scar that resulted from the injuries Hemming described.

For all the mockery, the controversy over his voice, and the comparisons to Ledger’s Joker, it is clear that Nolan, Hardy and Co. scored a pretty solid victory in terms of making their version of Bane not only memorable, but also a mainstream name. Eat your hearts out, Riddler and Penguin…

For more Banely goodness, check out the following:

The Dark Knight Rises is now in theaters.

Sources: GQ (via Collider), Screen Crush