Movie Talk

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ preview shows an older and weaker Bruce Wayne

Christian Bale and Michael Caine in 'The Dark Knight Rises' (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)Bruce Wayne saved Gotham City from The Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight," but his victory came at an enormous personal cost. Wayne lost the love of his life, Rachel Dawes, in one of the Joker's explosive schemes. He was shot in his confrontation with crusading District Attorney turned deformed madman Harvey Dent. And to preserve the memory of Dent and his battle against crime, Wayne allowed his alter ego Batman to be branded a murderer.

In a new 13-minute long behind-the-scenes look at the making of "The Dark Knight Rises," the conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the filmmakers and cast reveal that Wayne is not the same crusading hero that he was before.  The new footage shows Christian Bale looking decidedly different as Bruce Wayne, with stringy hair and a goatee.  He's traded in his tailored suits (not to mention the Batsuit) for a silk robe. Most notably, though, Wayne appears to be hobbling on a cane.

[Related: Find advance tickets for 'The Dark Knight Rises']

Nolan says, "At the beginning of 'The Dark Knight Rises' we find a Bruce Wayne who has been damaged by his experiences as Batman."  The filmmakers confirm that eight years have passed since Batman went on the run at the end of "The Dark Knight."  Left alone with both his physical injuries and the heartbreak of losing Rachel, Wayne has become directionless.  In the video, Christian Bale poses the question, "How much longer can he allow this pain to control what he does with his life?"

Bruce Wayne, of course, is not one to stay down long.  A new threat to Gotham City arises, and it is a villain unlike any he had faced before: the ruthless masked terrorist called Bane.  "I really wanted to see Batman meet his match," Nolan says, and Bale adds, "This is the first time that Batman has come across anybody who is superior physically."  But Bane (played by Tom Hardy) is not just a mindless brute.  He's cunning, and when he calls Batman "Mr. Wayne" in the footage it shows he knows the secret identity of the man inside the cowl.

The footage in the special depicts a showdown between Batman and Bane, with the two adversaries matching each other punch-for-punch.  And since we also see Bane dropping the shattered remains of Batman's mask as he walks away, it's safe to assume who wins that particular scrap.  Nolan says, "Through the course of 'The Dark Knight Rises,' we'll uncover more about what drives Bane, where he comes from, what he wants, and none of it is good news."

[Photos: See new 'The Dark Knight Rises' stills]

Watch the entire inside look below.  "The Dark Knight Rises" opens on July 20.