'The Dark Knight Rises' Burning Questions: Where's Talia? Will Catwoman show up? And will Bane break Batman's back?

bane-Selina-KyleImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos; Landmark/PR Photos; DC ComicsInception director Christopher Nolan created a stir among movie fans today by announcing that Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy will play Bane in his final Batman movie with Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises, due in theaters in 2012. Kudos to Nolan for picking some quality talent — and for finally giving up some details about his top-secret threequel. Yet those long-awaited revelations have spawned even more mysteries, and three burning questions in particular.

1. Whither the Talia al Ghul rumor? The Hathaway/Kyle news come after months of reports that the Inception helmer was meeting with or testing practically every actress in Hollywood for as many two female roles in the movie. Most recently, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Hathaway was one of six actresses (including Keira Knightley and Jessica Biel) in the running for the role of Talia, daughter of Batman adversary Ra’s al Ghul, played by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins. (We explored all things Talia al Ghul in our last Batman 3 geek-out.) It remains to be seen whether or not The Dark Knight Rises will still include a “Talia,” or if the whole “Talia” thing was a bit of misinformation designed to disguise the truth. This happens all the time in Hollywood: casting calls will use dummy names in their postings, or script pages given to auditioning thesps will swap in fake character names for the real ones. As much as I liked the Talia idea, I did find it hard to believe that Team Batman would eschew an iconic property like Catwoman in favor of the more obscure Talia. That said…

2. Will Selina Kyle actually appear as Catwoman in the movie? Selina Kyle is Catwoman’s alter-ego. The press release issued by Nolan, however, did not mention the word “Catwoman” and did not say if Hathaway’s Kyle will be suiting up as the sexy feline-themed fiend in the film. Let’s note that in her first appearance in the Batman comics, Selina Kyle didn’t call herself Catwoman or even wear an outfit or mask. She was a beautiful, ingenious jewel thief/cat burglar who called herself “The Cat.” Wikipedia’s entry on Kyle includes a page from her comic book debut; check out Batman rubbing away her disguise and growling the kinky quip: “Quiet or papa spank!” (I want to hear Christian Bale give that line reading.) Other depictions of Catwoman in the comics have de-emphasized her overt Catwomanishness and her villainy. In recent years, she’s often been an ally to Batman, if a rather morally ambiguous one. My theory: I think Nolan intends to distinguish his “Catwoman” from the long, storied line of previous versions of the character — from Julie Newmar to Eartha Kitt to Michelle Pfeiffer to Halle Berry — by taking her back to the beginning and out of the “Catwoman” guise altogether.

3. Who the blazes is Bane? This is the question I’m getting the most today from more casual Batman fans. Previous unconfirmed rumors and reports had Hardy playing Hugo Strange in a story loosely based on the Batman tale Prey. As we explored last month, however, the forthcoming videogame Batman: Arkham City uses Strange as its villain and seems to borrow much from Prey; when that became clear, it suddenly became hard to believe Nolan would take the same approach. (See the awesome trailer for Batman: Arkham City here.) Here’s your Bane briefing, based on various character biographies on the Web (Caveat: My summary may be flawed. I’m not the world’s biggest Bane expert; explanation below): The character was introduced into the Batman comics in the early ’90s. He hailed from a fictitious, fascist Caribbean country and spent a childhood inside a barbaric prison, as he was forced to serve the sentence of his MIA rebel father. He developed his mind and his muscles to become the jail’s leading tough. Ultimately, he was coerced into becoming a test subject for a new drug, called Venom, which makes him herculoid strong. He eventually got it in his head to move to Gotham City to cause mayhem, seize control of its underworld, and destroy his obsession, Batman. In his most infamous moment, Bane battled Batman and broke the hero’s spine by literally breaking him across his knee like a piece of wood. Eventually, Bruce Wayne recovered (of course he did!) and brought Bane to justice after Bane had teamed up with — get this — Ra’s al Ghul to destroy Gotham City. Since Bane was created to be a dark twin to Batman, and given how Ra’s al Ghul and his criminal/terrorist organization “League of Shadows” aspired to destroy Gotham in Batman Begins, I wonder: Will Nolan bring his franchise full circle with a story that involves Bane, now the new head of the League of Shadows, trying to finish the job Ra’s started in the first film?

Of course, I could be wrong. I probably am. And again, if other comic book fans find my Bane recap somewhat flawed or lacking, please feel free to correct me in the message boards below. I’ve never been a big fan of the villain. The hulking brute bad guy archetype never captured my geek imagination. And his back-breaking stunt seemed just that — a stunt, one of those splashy but empty “Death of Superman”-like sales gimmicks. For me, Bane is the epitome of hollow comic book contrivance. But I trust Nolan, and I look forward to seeing his take on the character. [UPDATE AT 1:34 PST: Many readers are pointing out that Bane is more than just a super-strong brute -- he's a super-SMART super-strong brute. Point taken. That said, he looks boorishly brutish, and his boring, unappealing look was a big barrier of entry for me.]

Okay, enough of my theories — what about yours? Do these characters have you even more amped for the film, or do they give you cause for worry? Sound off below.

Read more:
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ scoop: Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy join cast
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ casting: New candidates for Batman’s love interest… and nemesis?
The awesome new trailer for ‘Batman: Arkham City’
Will Tom Hardy be playing Hugo Strange?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Which superstar actresses should Christopher Nolan cast?
Who will be Batman’s next movie nemesis? Catwoman? Clayface? Maybe even… Superman?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’; the Riddler doesn’t
The Christopher Nolan Flowchart
‘Batman 3′ to begin in April

Comments (241 total) Add your comment
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  • Sue

    No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hate Hathaway as Catwoman. Why is Nolan even including Catwoman? Hardy is the reason why I will see the movie, but Catwoman, hate it.

    • LOL

      Anne Hathaway and Doc Jensen rock.

      • Brandon Routh IS Superman

        WRONG, Anne Hathaway is wrong for this role – should have Eva Green, and Anne is wrong for the Judy Garland biopic

        As for Bane, the Knightfall storyline in the 90s was one of the worst Batman storylines to become famous – Nolan chose poorly this time on all counts

      • Emilio

        Are you sure there will no mo casting news? The first movie had 3 enemies (The mob, the Scarecrow and Ra’s), so did de second one (The mob again multiplied by 4, Two face and The Joker). I wouldn’t be surprise if Hugo Strange or Talia or some other villain is suddenly anounced (Bane could be the mob in the film, a brute enemy).

      • max

        People don’t realize how many villains were in the first installment. Victor zsasz was in the first batman too. Who is also a batman villain. Just because people are cast as characters doesn’t mean they are the main villain. Also I feel that whoever acts in this film has to give the best performance they ever had after ledgers (rip) as the joker.

    • SFW

      It’s the trifecta of crappy female casting in the Nolan Batman films. Each one slightly less worse than the last, but ultimately disappointing choices. Especially since the other casting is so strong.

      • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

        Agree. Nolan is great with everything except female characters.

      • Samantha

        My thoughts exactly. Each of his choices have been uninspired. Now Eva Green as Catwoman- heck yes!

      • Mike

        Not jumping to anything but I remember how people were upset that Heath Ledger was the Joker. And everything turned out great.

      • Orac

        No no no! The ultimate new Catwoman would have been Natalie Portman.

      • world sick

        Each is worse than the last? You’re seriously saying that Katie Holmes is a better actress than Maggie Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway? Are you out of your mind?

      • klg

        I still wouldn’t like Eva Green she is even more slutty and I want to see an awesome movie not a movie that resorts to sex and eye candy because they have nothing more to offer. Lame!

    • A-K87

      @Sue.
      I honestly don’t think it’s going to be the Cateoman that we know. WB announced Selina Kyle so there may be s point to that.

      • Ackerman

        I agree – I think maybe if you get a Darwyn Cooke-ish “Selina’s Big Score” Selina, things will fit quite well into the mob/Falcone/Maroni stuff

      • Emilio

        You are trusting too much in the studio. Remember how secretly they handle this things.

      • AT

        It is Catwoman. A letter press release from WB confirmed it’s not just Selena. It’s Catwoman too.

      • tom

        i think its gonna be a raw version of cat woman no whips chains or over the top costume or super natural. Nolan has always portrayed raw, gritty and realistic. I think his rendition of cat woman will be nothing like we’ve seen before. Nolan has worked hard to keep his vision in the basis of reality, even bane will be believable.

    • Jay

      Jeez…not Anne Hathaway and her huge face again!

      • klg

        Lol! Let’s just hope her part will be as small as Scarecrow in the second one!

    • John

      You forgot to read the one line of this entire article that is most important and that nearly every person on the internet is not paying attention to:

      Anne is announced as playing Selina. Not Catwoman. Honestly, I smell a red herring.

      • AT

        No herring, just poor wording on Warner Bros part. Hathaway is confirmed as both Kyle and Catwoman.

      • world sick

        @AT where in that press release does it say anything about Catwoman? It’s not poor wording. It only says Selina Kyle and it could actually only end up being so. You don’t know any more than anyone else does.

      • klg

        Does it really matter she sucks either way as Catwoman or The Cat. She is still a pathetic caracter and so is Anne Hathaway!

      • klg

        oops! Character.

      • Edge

        Yes I agree with the radical choices that Chris has made in choosing female characters…The IMDb says Selina Kyle. but expect a Catwoman, due to the simple fact that, you can’t have Bruce Wayne without Batman! second it makes sense to bring the throne of Ra’s back to Nolan’s Batman’s franchise with the installment of Bane. It should be interesting…but still disappointed the Riddler rumor wasn’t true. :(

    • Adamp

      “dogs mr. Wayne, might do fine against cats” considering there were clues to the joker and two face in Begins this might be a clue that selina is going to be at least in some form catwoman

      • Crystal

        THIS!! As soon as I heard Alfred say this line, I got excited!

        I think it would be really stupid to have Selina Kyle and NOT Catwoman. If he’s finishing off his trilogy, he wouldn’t leave an important character like that hanging for someone else to do in the future. What if the terrible thing that happened to Burton’s two-face (Billy Dee Williams – Harvey Dent) happened to Anne Hathaway: they introduce the character as their alter ego and once the franchise goes careening down hill they go with one of the worst interpretations of the villian ever (ala Tommey Lee Jones)!! Hmmmm . . . who would be the worst possible choice for Catwoman?

      • ciaran

        If thats the case then wasn’t there a referance to Hugo Strange. “What dosen’t kill you only makes you stranger”. And I thought thatharvey wanted the maddog who let joker off his leash. Can that not be hugo strange? Bane has to be a joke

      • Dale

        I immediately thought this was foreshadowing for catwoman, how could it not be? And crystal great point!

    • Rush

      Wikipedia is porn for encyclopedia nerds.

    • Antare Jones

      What? No Riddler? I’ve been duped!

    • Brandon

      To further your bane explanation “you said bruce wayne recovers and brings bane to justice” Wrong the dark knight names a sucessor named Azrial. So if nolon is bringing the really dark and good bane this chould be intresting, but it would have to be done exactally right. Furthermore come on people he will probally name a third character, i would he has said this is going to be the last of the franchise its nolon he will end it right or he will be ruined.

  • MCS

    I just hope Harley Quinn isn’t ruled out because of this. I think that a post-Joker film would be the perfect time to introduce her.

    • MCS

      I would settle for Talia

      • MattyP

        Harley Quinn? Really? Harley Quinn isn’t Harley Quinn without Joker…

    • Bh

      I completely agree, Nolan can make a Quinn film work. I would much rather see a Harley Quinn film than a Catwoman film

  • Spud

    I like the idea of a Catwoman who doesn’t wear the suit. I always thought she looked kind of silly. So, a character who embodies the same personality but without the goofy costume would be welcome.

    • DJ

      All super heroes and villains look silly. It’s one of the hardest choices filmmakers have to make and what will the audience except or reject? Should the X-men where yellow? No. Should Capt. America have little wings on his helmet? Maybe. Does Superman have to have red briefs? You bet.

    • kimmy

      That would definitely fit in w/ Nolan’s more real-life Batman.

    • tom

      i think its gonna be a raw version of cat woman no whips chains or over the top costume or super natural. Nolan has always portrayed raw, gritty and realistic. I think his rendition of cat woman will be nothing like we’ve seen before. Nolan has worked hard to keep his vision in the basis of reality, even bane will be believable.

  • Chiclet

    You also failed to mention Bane’s superhuman intelligence and photographic memory, which is what makes him one of Batman’s most deadly enemies. Not his brute strength.

    Pluse, the “Bane” used in the abominable Schumacher Batman & Robin was just Bane in name only, but bears no similarity to the Bane in the comic books.

    • Strepsi

      Character schmaracter… you also failed to mention that TOM HARDY is f***ing hot and any chance to see him in a muscle shirt will be greatly appreciated.

      • Tom

        What Strepsi said (though you can see him completely naked in a few other movies)

    • rerun

      Yeah Bane was smart too. He wore Batman down with a prison break before “breaking” the Batman.

  • MDS

    I still expect Talia to be in the film.

  • sam

    there’s no possible way this will top TDK.

    • josh

      I remember people saying no way heath ledger would make a good joker.

    • Frank

      Explain why.

      • Rob Grizzly

        Because he wasn’t what was expected and there was no way he’d EVER top Jack Nicholson.
        Well if Anne Hathaway can top Halle Berry, I’ll be damned

      • MIke

        LOL@Rob, sarcasm? I’m 80% sure.

      • Ken

        @Rob – I admit, Nicholson was a great Joker, but Ledger embodied what the Joker was in the comics. Just pick up “The Killing Joke”. That’s where Ledger got most of the inspiration for the Joker. IMHO, Ledger played the best Joker ever. Just my .02

      • Christian

        Because Batman Begins was a flawed film and TDK was genius. So what you get is a reversal of expectations: everyone expects 3 to be amazing after TDK, whereas it took a long while for TDK to build the buzz that eventually made it a phenomenon.
        So even if 3 is a great film, merely meeting expectations will diminish its value in comparison to TDK.
        *
        Regarding “They’re calling her Selina Kyle not Catwoman in the press release”: Unless I’m mistaken, they never referred to Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face. Ever. He was always Harvey Dent. In the movie, yeah, you have that one exchange in the hospital, but you’ll never hear Gordon or Batman refer to him that way.
        *
        Since it’s Anne Hathaway, you have to think they’re aiming more towards a Batman Returns-style than a Batman Year One-style. Probably not a secretary (ADA? Socialite?), but not an S&M hooker either.

      • klg

        I don’t think it will be hard to top Halle Berry she was so lame as Catwoman. But they have never made Catwoman anything but annoying! And Anne Hathaway is always annoying so no hope for this movie!

  • Tom

    Given the inability for anyone to accurately nail down details of the plot, can we cool the speculation for awhile? Maybe until we get a trailer or something?

    • Christian

      You’re new to this Internet thing, aren’t you?

      • Jake

        Hahahahaha! Tom and Christian are both right

  • Richard

    Bane is the only villain to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman, the only villain to discover the Bat Cave’s location through this deduction and the only villain with a mind equal to that of Bruce Wayne.

    You missed out on a LOT by shunning Bane as another Doomsday. Time to read some back issues my friend.

    • Chiclet

      Well said.

    • Jeff Jensen

      Bane wasn’t the first to crack the Batman secret identity code. Hugo Strange did it back in the seventies, in the classic “Strange Apparitions” storyline. Tell you what: Why don’t we BOTH read some back issues?

      • Sherriff of Malibu?

        w00t!!! i love you Jeff Jensen and miss your awesome Lost recaps…

      • Quirky

        Oooooh! Geek Fight!

      • MIke

        *slap*slap*slap*

      • rerun

        Yeah Doc, frak Richard. Geekfightftw.

      • Christian

        NERDFIGHT!!!!

      • Color Me Impressed

        Hahaha Doc you’re the best! Oh how I miss LOST….

    • Nerwen Aldarion

      As long as he is NOTHING like the Bane from Batman and Robin, I’m happy!

    • Rob Grizzly

      There have been comics where Riddler has deduced Batman’s identity..

      • Jake

        True. “Hush.”

    • Dale

      Sorry but bane is far from the only one, ras al ghul, the riddler, the red hood, man-bat, hush and a few others that may know but not confirmed. But I think we could all use some reading of back issues

  • Jenny

    I am so happy!! My favorite actress. I adore Anne Hathaway. She is such good actress.

    • RobNJ

      Yeah, her British accent in “Becoming jane” won me over. At least it was much better than Julia Roberts attempt at an Irish accent in Michael Collins.

    • chet

      I think I would prefer Mrs Hathaway from “The Beverly Hillbillies”. . .

    • AT

      I cannot stand Anne Hathaway. I hope she works out, but I can see her being like Katie Holmes in the first one, just annoying.

    • klg

      You have got to be kidding! She is ugly and super annoying!

  • Poopy face tomato nose

    What is N4olan

    • Sarah

      I was thinking the same thing…

    • Strepsi

      Love your nickname! I am now hoping there’s a character named “Poopy face tomato nose”… or maybe that’s a Dick Tracey villain name?

      • M&M

        Hey… How about this; Instead of a tomato how about a plum for his nose?

    • Jeff Jensen

      Error corrected. Thanks for the catch.

  • Chaz Winterbottom

    Couldn’t agree more with Jensen’s take on Bane. The whole Batman back breaking thing seemed like a gimmick at them time mostly because, um, it was. Also the meat head, professional wrestler aesthetic Bane has just looks stupid.

    • pastafarian

      get out of my head :P

    • BobDole

      Most villain encounters surround some type of gimmick, this one stood out because it was both Bane’s first gimmick, and effective. Don’t hate.

    • Ted

      Come on, doesn’t anyone want to see a little Bane in prison, defending himself with a knife concealed inside a teddy bear? That’s great!

  • pastafarian

    Jeff Jensen mighta been a little off on his summation of Bane, but I would argue that his thoughts are the same as most non-diehard comic fans. I agree with the notion that Bane was a gimmick to sell more books a la Doomsday. And while Bane might be smart, and might be a tactician, as long as he’s in that Lucha Libre get-up, no one cares about his brains.

  • Monty

    The comments in are correct, Doc. Bane is one of the few (if not the only) villains that actually figured out Batman’s identity. Sure, some stumble upon it, but he figured it out. The entire Nightfall arc was Bane’s long plan to wear down Batman so when he confronted him in the climax, Batman literally had nothing left. His mind is equal to his brute strength.

    Since it was announced that Hardy was playing Bane, I guessed the same plot you have, that Talia will bring in Bane to finish the job Bruce Wayne was supposed to carry out: the downfall of Gotham.

  • Kebert Xela

    Doc, Bane would be lame as hulking muscle-bound thug, but he’s super intelligent.

    He’s more of a super strong Kraven-type. I think this will be great.

    Bane is a great villain int he comics, but in Batman and Robin they made him a joke. the best part about Bane was that Batman took forvere to actuall face the man who broke his back again.

    The new Batman (formerly Azrael) actually took him down.

    • Jeff Jensen

      I added a note at the end of my piece to acknowledge Bane’s marked intelligence.

      • Kebert Xela

        Cool.

        You should really pick up that TPB. It’s pretty good. You’re correct in that it was part of the new Green Lantern, Death of Superman period of comics, but it was done really well.

      • Chris

        Another key part is that this was a tool to alter the character of the Batman books for a while. With Azrael taking over the cape and cowl, Batman became grittier and darker in tone than previous incarnations (sound familiar?), and led to some wonderful conflict between the heroes as well as against the villains. Nolan won’t be able to exploit all of that, but it’s another reason why Bane was so cool, he led us down to that place.

  • BobDole

    Bane’s not any more contrived than other villains. All villain stories in comics include a major stunt, but we remember Bain’s first stunt cause he actually accomplished something.

    Bain isn’t just a hulking brute. He’s a genius, more so than any other Batman character. But he’s ALSO more than a physical match for Batman, which makes him the ultimate antithesis (but without the cash Bruce has).

    He doesn’t just randomly show up and break Batman’s back. He breaks open Arkham Asylum and lets other villains wear Batman down (since Batman feels the need to capture them all as soon as possible). Once Batman is wore out, Bain confronts him and gets the job done. You could say he accomplished much more in a short amount of time than any other villain in the Bat’s history.

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