[UPDATE: Scroll down to read Tom Hardy’s comparison of Bane and The Joker.]

Things have been relatively quiet on the Dark Knight Rises front, as director Chris Nolan completes post-production work on the film. Of course we expect that silence to soon be shattered, as there are already rumors circulating that a final Dark Knight Rises trailer could debut early next month in front of Marvel’s The Avengers.

One thing that has been feeding Batman movie fans during this lull in marketing and promotion for TDKR are the promo images for the film, which have slowly but surely looked online in the last few weeks, giving us detailed looks at the costumes of Christian Bale as Batman and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, respectively. Today we add Tom Hardy’s Bane to that list.

We’ve learned through trailers and the prologue footage shown last winter that Tom Hardy’s version of Bane is a ruthless and cunning international terrorist, who will be coming to Gotham to not only bring down the Batman (“break him,” some might even say) – he will also be hatching some master plot to destabilize the entire city through fear, intimidation and anarchy disguised as social revolution.

Of course, one thing Batman fans have been concerned about since Bane was announced for Dark Knight Rises is the physicality of the character. In the comics, Bane’s primary weapon is “venom,” a radical steroid compound that transforms the hardened criminal into hulking beast of a man. In the film, Bane’s venom is represented by the “face-hugger” mask he wears, which reportedly pumps him full of an anesthetic compound meant to provide relief from some terrible injury he suffered.

As for the physicality? Well, if Hardy indeed looks like the promo pictures below suggest, then physicality won’t be a problem at all:

[Images removed at the request of Warner Bros.]

It’s been stated that these Dark Knight Rises promo images are a combination of real and digital photo work. The Bane images above almost look like molds for an action figure or collectible – and while that would mean that Hardy is potentially less jacked in the film than these photos would suggest, he will probably still be a close approximation (read: still pretty jacked). As far as we see it, fans should be more concerned about Bane’s garbled vocals and less so about his workout routine.

UPDATE: When speaking to EW, Hardy took some time out to compare how Bane (a more obscure name for those who haven’t read Batman comics) compares to The Joker (a villain everybody knows) as portrayed by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight:

“The Joker didn’t care – He just wanted to see the world burn, and he was a master of chaos and destruction, unscrupulous and crazy. Bane is not that guy. There is a very meticulous and calculated way about Bane. There is a huge orchestration of organization to his ambition. He is also a physical threat to Batman. There is nothing vague about Bane. No jokes. He’s a very clean, clear villain.”

In case you missed them, here are the promo pics for Bale as Batman and Hathaway as Catwoman:

The Dark Knight Rises will be in theaters on July 20, 2012. What do you think of the characters and their costumes?

Source: Warner Bros (via DCU Movie Page) & EW