Has ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Viral Marketing Campaign Begun? [UPDATED]

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

The Dark Knight Rises Dr Leonid Pavel Has The Dark Knight Rises Viral Marketing Campaign Begun? [UPDATED]

Ever since The Dark Knight and Lost, viral marketing campaigns have almost become the expectation in certain film and television genres. Christopher Nolan’s films of late lend themselves perfectly to this sort of creativity and fan involvement.

We saw it with Inception last with the use of dream research websites, not unlike the Joker “Why So Serious?” website and “I Believe in Harvey Dent” site, which both played smart parts in the comprehensive online marketing for The Dark Knight. For Nolan’s third Batman movie, we can expect the same and it looks like it may have already begun.

Wired and Empire have both posted mysterious images that resemble CIA documents. They’re not real (of course) and they can’t say which film these are for, other than describing it as a “cultural event,” but from what we gather, they appear to be for The Dark Knight Rises.

[Update: These are confirmed to be for The Dark Knight Rises. Read the following post for info on the first two clues then head here for the third document and the next stage in the viral: Operation Early Bird!]

The documents in question (shown below) both focus on a man named Dr. Leonid Pavel, a Russian nuclear physicist, and both contain text that’s been covered up as if they were taken from some special ops mission. One is a profile of the man and the other is a transcript from a conversation between the CIA and the Militia who are/were protecting him. Reading the documents, it’s hard to find connections to the story of The Dark Knight Rises and some believe it could be viral marketing for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but the link here is in the picture of Pavel indicates that he’s portrayed by who looks to be Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul.

Aboutboul was cast back in May into the villainous role of a “mad scientist” in The Dark Knight Rises, which led some to believe he could be playing Hugo Strange. Knowing that character description, it’s tough to believe it’s just a coincidence so now we’re very curious as to how these play into the background of the film’s story. Take a look for yourself:

The Dark Knight Rises Viral Dr Leonid Pavel 570x737 Has The Dark Knight Rises Viral Marketing Campaign Begun? [UPDATED]


The Dark Knight Rises Viral Transcript 570x737 Has The Dark Knight Rises Viral Marketing Campaign Begun? [UPDATED]

We don’t quite know what this all means since Pavel is not a character from the comics, but after a little research there are a few interesting call-outs. First, notice that the profile specifically mentions that Pavel caught the eye of the CIA after his presentation at the IEEE Symposium, but everything following is blacked out. The IEEE Symposium is a real thing and it focuses on presentations for computer security, privacy and intelligence, held annually at locations around the world.

Combining that with his expertise in “nuclear fuel cycle technology and reactor designs” and we can see why there’s interest in having control of this man.

Here’s where it gets really weird: In the comments on Empire and some other forums online, some users are pointing to a mysterious script titled “Class Dismissed” which seemingly has nothing to do with Batman – You can download it yourself here (filename ClassDismissedHDrtf2.rtf). It’s rather lengthy but in its final act, a character is introduced named Dr. Leonid Pavel… a 57 year-old scientist with an accent.

Pavel, in this story, is also a tech genius who was part of a team of 8 who developed what’s called “LEOS mind,” a weaponized military network/artificial intelligence that controls spaced-based missile defense systems and learns to do more, controlling nuclear weapons, taking over planes, etc. as it attempts to basically take over the world. Again, this has nothing to do with DC Comics and sounds like something more in line with Mission: Impossible or the upcoming 24 movie but the character name and profession is an odd coincidence and an interesting find by keen readers.

If this is Batman related, it’s reasonable to assume that Pavel has something to do with the origins of Bane and the timing of this viral could be in line with The Dark Knight Rises prologue coming attached to the IMAX print of Ghost Protocol on December 16th.

Update: Check out the third CIA document and the next stage of The Dark Knight Rises viral!

What are your thoughts and theories?

The Dark Knight Rises cast sees the return of Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Nestor Carbonell and Michael Caine along with franchise newcomers Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata, Burn Gorman, Diego Klattenhoff and Alon Aboutboul.

The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20, 2012.


Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: Empire, Wired

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  1. no way is this a studio screenplay. I’ve read plenty of them and this ain’t even close. if it IS one, we’re all f*cked anyway. then again, nolan’s weakest links have always been his screenplays. this bit of the puzzle has to be totally bogus.

    • @thatguyweallknow

      “nolan’s weakest links have always been his screenplays”

      Nolan got nominated for oscar bcoz of screenplays in Inception and Memento

      Also nominated in other awards for Adapted screenplays for Batman begins n TDK

    • that or you’re not good at his puzzles

  2. Yeah but what about the code names Nolan uses for his screenplays? “Rory’s first kiss” “Intimidation Game” “Class Dismissed” has closure written all over it, maybe the story is Encrypted??

    • Except the code name for TDKR was Magnus Rex.

      • Well maybe now since we all know it it’s been changed.keep in mind it sill has to be handled by a lot more people before its released

  3. nucluar power? maybe a hint on this bomb which bane had.

    • That was my first thought too. He could have build this mystery-device Bane is carrying around.

  4. I think this is how Baine gets his amazing strength from the Venom since there is no Poison Ivy in the movie!

    • Until that lousy Batman & Robin film in the 90s, there was no link between Bane and Poison Ivy. There was also no link between Poison Ivy and Bane’s Venom. The Venom was developed as a sort of serum to enhance the strength of South American soldiers. It was tested on prisoners (which Bane was and has always been in the comics) and Bane was the only one that survived the testing.

      Acceptably, Nolan has varied the plot at least somewhat in that Bane seems to be linked with the League of Shadows.

      Actually, thinking about it, Batman & Robin STILL had no real link between Poison Ivy and Bane other than the fact they both resulted from the asinine plots of the same crazy old man. A crazy old man, might I add, who has nothing to do with this film.

  5. This sounds more like terminator rather then anything related to batman.

  6. it looks like the OMAC project. the story about jean paul valley would be amazing!

  7. It resembles some of the informaton they released for MI4 and the bogus assumption that you can blow up the Kremlin with conventional explosives.

  8. My shot in the dark is that it’s related to MoS. Doesn’t the military play a big role in the film?
    I know I’m wrong especially because of the fact that the photo looks like the actor cast in TDKR.

  9. I’ve been doing some research and hugo strange has a son called daniel in the comics
    leonid pavel an anagram of this is daniel (daniel pevol) could this be a hint by nolan that the mad doctor will appear
    tell me what you think

  10. “Magnus Rex” was the codename for DKR while it was shooting recently in NYC. All the crew had IDs with their real names, but “Magnus Rex” as the fake movie-name. maybe that’s a piece of the puzzle..

  11. Magnus Rex translates from Latin as Great King

  12. Rob, you’re missing the good part: http://www.operationearlybird.com/

    • Whoah, what is that?

      • I’ll let SR Team to dig a little more and come with the full speculation before we receive our TDKR trailer tomorrow…. ups!

        • is this the countdown to the trailer?