Warner Bros. most anticipated future film - not named Harry Potter - would have to be the last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Speculation has run rampant about the story and casting since the film was first announced and one of the more eyebrow raising decisions was the casting of actor Tom Hardy in the role of Bane. Coincidentally, now that the viral advertisements begin to ramp up for the film, the first officially released image on The Dark Knight Rises is a hi-res image of Tom Hardy in his Bane persona.
Bane is a character that is probably best known by movie audiences from his much maligned appearance in Joel Schumacher's "Batman and Robin", where he was pretty much portrayed as a mindless beast loaded on venom that was more Poison Ivy's pet than a true villain in his own right. That is vastly different from his origins in the comic book universe where he has been a Latin crimelord, a mercenary, and is a world-class fighter and tactical genius all the while being the one that sidelined Batman for a significant time in the 90's when he broke his back and defeated the hero with relative ease after Batman had struggled through the ordeal of Arkham Asylum's prison break mess in "Knightfall".
Nolan's version from a first glance looks to harken back to the much fiercer and intimidating presence of the comic Bane and that is not a bad thing. Then again, very little Nolan does is not just plain fantastic in the end.
The Dark Knight Rises in theaters on July 20, 2012.