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A number of new images have landed online for Christopher Nolan’s epic-conclusion to his Batman trilogy, ’The Dark Knight Rises,’ by way of scans from Brandon T. Snider’s tie-in book ‘The Dark Knight Manual.’ The images provide us with fresh looks at Tom Hardy’s physically imposing and intellectual villain Bane, Bruce Wayne/Batman’s new flying vehicle “The Bat,” and finally Bane’s mysterious “Earthquake device”. Nolan recently had the following to say about Batman’s “The Bat”, “It’s very much based on a doubt-bladed helicopter idea, once again a realistic approach to military hardware. We had Corbould and his guys build it full scale and come up with this great driving rig for it so we could photograph it in real streets, and there’s a big computer graphics component to it as well. It’s fun to take Batman to the next level in terms of his transportation and weaponry – in terms of his ability to fight people.” I’m extremely excited about seeing Tom Hardy bringing the brains and brawn to his incarnation of Bane in ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ From what I’ve seen of his performance he looks like an absolute beast!

While the overall plot for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is being kept under wraps, I think it’s safe to say that that we can expect something rather special from the film judging by the two previous chapters in Nolan’s Batman trilogy (‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’), the films marketing campaign, the stellar cast and most importantly, for me, the final theatrical trailer. Christopher Nolan’s film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by the good folks over at DC Comics. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Michael Caine as Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate. Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata, Nestor Carbonell, Tom Conti, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Josh Stewart, Christopher Judge, Adam Rodriguez and Rob Brown co-star. The screenplay for the eagerly awaited film is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Nolan and David S. Goyer. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ arrives in cinemas and IMAX on July 20th. The synopsis for ‘The Dark Knight Manual’ is below. Sources: SHH and Batman-Online.

In 2005, filmmaker Christopher Nolan redefined Batman for a new generation with Batman Begins, followed in 2008 by The Dark Knight, and now 2012’s conclusion to the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Here, for the first time, is an in-world exploration of Christopher Nolan’s Batman: The Dark Knight Manual, the definitive guide to his tools, vehicles, and technologies. Following the destruction of Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne began to assemble key sketches, diagrams, observations, and other top-secret documents germane to becoming Batman; he then entrusted this manual to his faithful butler, Alfred. Every defining moment is detailed here, charting Wayne’s collaborations with Lucius Fox at Wayne Enterprises on the latest cutting-edge technology. Featuring removable documents, including the design and capability of the famed utility belt, the hi-tech functions of Batman’s cowl, and every detail of his amazing arsenal of weapons and gadgets, The Dark Knight Manual reveals how Bruce Wayne operates as Gotham’s greatest protector.

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Here’s the official production notes for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.

Behind the scenes, “The Dark Knight Rises” reunites the director with several of his longtime collaborators, all of whom worked together on the “The Dark Knight.” The creative team includes director of photography Wally Pfister, who recently won an Oscar® for his work on Nolan’s “Inception”; production designer Nathan Crowley; editor Lee Smith; and Oscar®-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“Topsy-Turvy”). In addition, Paul Franklin and Chris Corbould, who both won Oscars® for the effects in “Inception,” supervised the visual and special effects, respectively. The music is composed by Oscar® winner Hans Zimmer (“The Lion King”).

In helming the film, Christopher Nolan is utilizing IMAX® cameras even more extensively than he did on “The Dark Knight,” which had marked the first time ever that a major feature film was partially shot with IMAX cameras. The locations span three continents and include the American cities of Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles, as well as sites in India, England and Scotland.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Legendary Pictures. Slated for release beginning July 20, 2012, the film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.