The semi-continuous stream of paparazzi pictures and amateur videos from the set of The Dark Knight Rises has finally run dry, now that principal photography on the ultra-anticipated threequel is (seemingly) complete.
Despite the plethora of (non-official) behind-the-scenes material released for the film, it is pretty much anyone's guess as to how the various pieces and puzzles glimpsed so far - including massive street battles, mystery devices, sexy cat burglars, and new Bat-technology - are actually going to fit together in Christopher Nolan's trilogy concluder.
Moviegoers will get to see several minutes' worth of actual footage from Dark Knight Rises when the film's prologue screens in front of 70 mm IMAX prints of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol this winter. However, in the meantime, there are some new official images from the movie available, to help quench the thirst of Bat-fan(atic)s.
A second official image of Tom Hardy in his Bane getup is featured on one of two new Empire Magazine covers - along with a new official look at Christian Bale's Batman, wielding an unusual piece of advanced weaponry, in his respective magazine cover. What exactly it is (a laser gun? the latest in retail scanning equipment?) is a matter up for speculation (for now).
Check out both of those Dark Knight Rises magazine covers below:
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One thing to note: both this new magazine cover and the previous official image of Hardy as Bane draw attention to his unsightly pallid skin tone and body acne. Assuming that was in fact intentional, this could be an indicator that the character is meant to be (as has long been theorized) an easily-recognized heavy steroid user, in place of the venom-fueled villain from the comics.
It's certainly possible that Bane will be supplied strength-enhancing chemicals via his mask - or, alternatively, his mask could merely be a means to cover up some nasty facial wounds (something that might partly explain the rumors about the antagonist having a garbled and messed-up voice).
That's all pure speculation, of course, but one thing is certain: Bane will definitely look like a "realistic" monster of a criminal, in The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy should have no problem playing the part too, based on his previous physically-threatening turns in films like Bronson and Warrior.
Liam Neeson in The Dark Knight Rises?
Rumors have long been circulating that Liam Neeson would (in some capacity) reprise his turn as Ra's al Ghul from Batman Begins in The Dark Knight Rises - all the more so after Josh Pence signed on for the latter film. So, what does the actor have to say on the matter?
Not-so-shockingly, in a recent interview with MTV, Neeson claimed to not have "a f---ing clue" what Dark Knight Rises is about, but that he's "eager to see this one... [Christopher] Nolan's made wonderful films, very rich, dark and complex, especially ['The Dark Knight']..."
Even if we assume that Neeson is being largely honest here, that doesn't rule out a brief appearance by the man who trained Bale's Caped Crusader - and whose League of Shadows seems all the more likely to be behind Bane's reign of terror against Gotham City in the film. Previous (unofficial) reports indicate that is in fact the case.
All the same, perhaps Neeson's (seemingly, unpracticed) denial will finally lay to rest any still-persisting theories about Ra's playing an important role after he is resurrected via the Lazarus Pit in The Dark Knight Rises. That idea was never really considered credible, but it didn't prevent certain fans, eager to see Neeson return in full, from being hopeful all the same...
The Dark Knight Rises will arrive in theaters around the U.S. on July 20th, 2012.