The viral campaign for The Dark Knight Rises has been just as (if not more) interesting as the viral campaign for The Dark Knight, helping curious (and dillegent) fans all across the globe get a sense of Gotham City eight years after the events of TDK, as well as brief hints about Bane’s (Tom Hardy) terrorist plot.

The latest viral games have now revealed some juicy details about the film: A Wayne Enterprises catalog reveals the nature of the weapon Bane used in the second Dark Knight Rises trailer to decimate the Gotham Rouges’ football stadium. Meanwhile, a series of letters exchanged between Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) strongly hint about the shape of Mr. Wayne’s life,  and the state of Wayne Enterprises.

You can check both Dark Knight Rises viral game “prizes” – and many hi-res images from the film (some old, some new) – in the gallery below:

The good folks over at Batman News took the liberty of transcribing the Lucius Fox letter into more legible form:

Dear Bruce,

I hope this letter finds you well.  Although I would have liked to have had this conversation with you personally, Alfred tells me I am better off writing as you are not receiving any visitors at the moment.  That being the case, I’ll do my best to detail what I feel is becoming a situation within the company.

It’s a given that in the current economic climate our investors have become increasingly concerned about how their money is being spent.  As such, our own profitability is being judged and analyzed, particularly by the Board itself.  In the past, we haven’t given them any reason to worry as both our earnings and spending have been consistent.  This allowed us the autonomy to dedicate resources to Wayne philanthropic programs as well as our own R&D endeavors.  But over the past five quarters, our earnings have been on the downtrend.  Meanwhile, our R&D spending has been on an astronomical uptrend.  And as the black grows fainter around the entire company, I am being put into a position where I have to answer certain questions, particularly about your energy project.

No one is going to dispute the fact that innovation is key to our growth and success.  It’s a mainstay of our business, which is all the more reason why the Board has begun to scrutinize our R&D budget and set their sights on your machine.  Since they don’t know exactly what you’re up to, all they understand is a vast amount of capital is being spent on something they now deem as fruitless – quest for clean energy.  Herein lies the problem.

The last time we spoke, you expressed your reluctance to move the project forward and initiate the next phase of trials.  I understand your argument as to why.  But if you want the company to continue to fund your efforts, I think it is time we give the Board more than just the overview they already have, enlightening them on what this project will mean to Gotham if you are successful.  On a personal note, I’d also like to let them know that with age, Bruce Wayne has decided to fill his father’s shoes, using Wayne Enterprises and all its resources to readily and reliably support our city.

Nothing bad can come from this, Bruce.  But if you decide not to address the issue at hand, I am not sure how long I can keep the Board at bay.  Making matters more difficult is your absence.  I am assuming you have your reasons for it and it is not my job to question those, but I fear that if you are going to drop off the radar for an extended period of time, we may risk another Bill Earle situation.  I can see a couple [of] Board Members already maneuvering to build influence around the table, most notably John Daggett, who I feel is the last person we want to engage in a power struggle.

When I agreed to take on this role I knew full well what the job and our agreement entailed.  I am also well aware of your preferred ways of handling all matters relating to Wayne Enterprises However, I must tell you that we are quickly approaching a set of circumstances that will unfortunately call for a change if we do not address the Board.  Change in most instances is not a bad thing, but in this regard I am worried.  I’m sure you consider my pessimism to be just another part of my charm.  That may be the case, but let’s remember: you didn’t hire me for my charm.

I look forward to hearing from you.

With luck it will be in person.

Regards,
Lucius Fox

The more succinct response letter from Wayne reads as such (via CBM):

Lucius,

Tell the board that as of today the program is shut down. As we discussed before, there is too much at stake and the risk is too great. That is my only concern.

-Bruce.

The viral materials are certainly interesting – for several key reasons:

The letter from Lucius Fox, combined with the Wayne Enterprises catalog photo, suggest that the weapon Bane uses is in fact the fusion reactor that Bruce Wayne intended to use to give Gotham City clean renewable energy. Bane perverting Wayne’s intentions in this way directly mirrors (too closely?) Ra’s al Ghul’s plan to use Wayne Enterprises’ micro-wave emitter and the beacon of Wayne Tower (the source of the city’s energy) to destroy Gotham. Could this be, in part, Talia al Ghul’s poetic revenge?

Fox’s letter raises question about where Dark Knight Rises picks up, in terms of Bruce Wayne’s life. Presuming these viral materials ARE meant to illustrate the state of things at the beginning of the film – why would Bruce be inactive at his own company and ostensibly in seclusion? Injury? Depression? The happy distraction of a playboy’s life with Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard)?

The Wayne Enterprises executive Fox mentions, “John Dagget,” carries the surname of a villain from the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon series of the ’90s. The cartoon character was “Roland Dagget,” the crooked owner of a pharmaceutical company whose murder plot transformed actor Matt Hagen into freakish villain, Clayface. Of course, Nolan is not going to go into all that – the name is probably just another fun Easter egg for fans.

These new viral materials are starting to paint a more complex (and richer) picture in terms of Dark Knight Rises‘ plot – certainly more intriguing than the simple “Knightfall” storyline that’s been speculated on for years now. It seems that in every way – from narrative threads, to thematic arcs, to character backstories – Nolan truly will be bringing things full circle back to Batman Begins. Should be awesome.

The Dark Knight Rises in theaters on July 20, 2012.

Sources: Dark Knight Rises Official Site & Dew Gotham City