This summer will see the release of one of the most anticipated movies in recent memory. The Dark Knight Rises is set to open in movie theaters on July 20. It's the third and final film in Christopher Nolan's trilogy and promises to go out on top. Batman himself revealed that fans' high expectations of The Dark Knight Rises had its effect on him.

Christian Bale will once again don the bat cowl and go up against a new threat to Gotham City's safety - the terrorist Bane, played by Inception star Tom Hardy. The film takes place eight years after 2008's The Dark Knight, with that installment grossing $533 million and earning Heath Ledger an Oscar after his death earlier that year for his mesmerizing interpretation as The Joker.

The Dark Knight Rises will have a tough act to follow after its prequel earned such critical and commercial success. Bale knows this but that only helped him in his last hurrah as the Caped Crusader.

“I can tell you the truth because I’m done with it: I felt immense pressure,” Christian Bale reveals in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. “And I think it’s a good pressure, because you owe it to the films — and the people’s expectations — to make great work.”


Nolan advises fans to re-watch The Dark Knight before they head to their local cineplex to see the sequel. In particular, the final scene between Batman and officer Jim Gordon where they decide to cover up the truth about Harvey Dent and his identity as the villain Two-Face will be key in the third film. As for complaints about Bane's muffled voice in The Dark Knight Rises prologue? Nolan says not to worry.

“I think when people see the film, things will come into focus,” reassures the director. “Bane is very complex and very interesting and when people see the finished film people will be very entertained by him.”

Info on The Dark Knight Rises has been rigorously guarded aside from official releases and fans posting tidbits on the Internet. Anne Hathaway will portray Selena Kyle - AKA Catwoman - the lover/enemy of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Gary Oldman reprises his role as pre-Commissioner Jim Gordon, Michael Caine returns as Alfred Pennyworth - the trusty butler and mentor to Bruce Wayne - and Morgan Freeman appears as Batman ally and Wayne Enterprise CEO Lucious Fox. The Batcave will also return after being M.I.A. in The Dark Knight due to Wayne Manor still being repaired.

In the comic books, Bane was the one who broke Batman's back in 1993's "Knightfall" storyline. Speculation has been running rampant that a similar scene might happen in the movie. Blastr even posted a photo of Hardy in his Bane costume spoofing the iconic image.

How stoked are you about The Dark Knight Rises? July 20 needs to get here NOW.

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