Comic book fans will probably look at the headline of this article and think "Bro, I already know the origin of Bane and Catwoman!" Which is certainly true, given that both characters have been staples of the Batman comics for decades.
However, even hardcore comic book fans don't know what, exactly, Christopher Nolan has done to the characters - their abilities, their backstories - in order to better fit them into his Dark Knight Rises universe. Today, however, we have some information about both Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) that reaffirms a lot of prior speculation.
As always, marketing materials and merchandise are providing insight into the movie that spawned them. In this case, the companion piece The Dark Knight Rises: The Secret Files Scrapbook contains character breakdowns that reveal some info about the versions of Bane and Selina Kyle we'll be seeing in Nolan's Batman trilogy finale:
BANE - Little is known about Bane. He was born in prison and trained in the darkest forms of deception by the League of Shadows, but rumor has it he was cast out due to his extreme behavior. Bane is a ferocious hand-to-hand fighter who is willing to do anything in order to take down his opponents. Bane is in peak physical shape, but he must wear a breathing apparatus that feeds him with pain relieving gas due to an old injury. He's never been photographed without his mask and only a handful of people have seen his face. While his true motives remain a mystery, he appears to be building an army of followers in the dark tunnels underneath Gotham in order to create his own League of Shadows.
SELINA KYLE - is a world-class cat burglar and mistress of disguise. She's cunning and devious, but has a deep sense of honor. As Catwoman, she targets Gotham's wealthiest. Her weapons usually include infrared goggles, bladed high-heel boots, and a belt filled with lock picks.
We get further confirmation that Bane's mask will NOT pump the physique-enhancing steroid known as "venom" (like in the comics), but rather a pain-killing anesthetic that compensates for a terrible injury he suffered. Some newer, more interesting information is that the League of Shadows (the vigilante/terrorist cell run by Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins) considered Bane "too extreme," and that the villain is trying to form his own splinter group in Gotham. What does a guy have to do to get kicked out of a organization willing to massacre entire cities for warped notions of "justice?" Guess we'll find out.
The information on Selina Kyle is less... well, informative. However, for those who have been debating about the costume Hathaway wears in the film: yes the spiked high-heel boots do have an actual function, and are not just some absurd male-oriented choice for superheroine wardrobe (an accusation that has been lobbed around a few times). The goggles we now know raise up and down for infrared function, and appear to be like "cat ears" when in their up position (see below). The rest of the description is pretty much an accurate portrait of who Selina Kyle is.
Nolan has always been unafraid of departing from the comic book versions of the characters he's working with. And while there are certainly critics of that approach, I think many more people would agree that the results have been more than satisfactory (cue debates about Heath Ledger's Joker). The idea of Bane needing to feel no pain, and what that numbness (physical and emotional) does to him as a man, makes for a richer and more complex character than an exaggerated gorilla-juice-head would. But that's just me.
Tired of seeing the same Batman villains rehashed in every movie? Check out our list of 15 Bat-Villains we want to see onscreen.
The Dark Knight Rises in theaters on July 20, 2012.