In a year crowded with some of the most anticipated movies in years (The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, The Avengers, and The Amazing Spider-Man, to name just a few), The Dark Knight Rises might be the most anticipated of them all. The third and final installment in Inception director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Bat-flicks – which will once again star Christian Bale as the caped crusader and introduce Thomas Hardy as the brilliant, brutish terrorist Bane and Anne Hathaway as the purrrrfectly mercurial Selina Kyle – will swing into theaters on July 20, four years after The Dark Knight ignited a cultural sensation, grossed $533 million, and earned Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly – our annual Forecast issue, which previews the pop culture year looming ahead – goes to the Rises set and offers some insight into how Team Nolan hopes to match their previous success. “I can tell you the truth because I’m done with it: I felt immense pressure,” Christian Bale tells EW. “And I think it’s a good pressure, because you owe it to the films – and the people’s expectations – to make great work.”
We know some Batman fans want to know absolutely nothing about Rises, so much so that even the smallest bit of intel requires a SPOILER ALERT! Like the fact that the new movie returns to The Batcave (M.I.A. during The Dark Knight, as Wayne Manor was still being rebuilt following the events of Batman Begins), or that Rises takes places eight years after The Dark Knight. In fact, fans may want to revisit that second film, as Nolan tells EW that the last chapter of his cinematic saga explores the ramifications of The Dark Knight’s chilling climax, in which Batman and super-cop Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) hatch a conspiracy to cover up the sins of Gotham City’s so-called “white knight,” the late Harvey Dent, a.k.a. Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart). Nolan also discusses the potential political subtext of Rises and addresses the burning question many fans have about Bane’s mask-muffled voice: Are we going to be able to understand the guy? “I think when people see the film, things will come into focus,” says the director. “Bane is very complex and very interesting and when people see the finished film people will be very entertained by him.”
For more about The Dark Knight Rises – as well as peeks at dozens of the year’s most anticipated movie, TV, music, and publishing projects – pick up the special Forecast issue of EW, on stands Jan. 13.
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