Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy of films will finally be coming to an end July 20, 2012 with the final leg, The Dark Knight Rises. In what might be the most anticipated Batman film to date, following the second film of the trilogy, The Dark Knight, which has topped $1 billion worldwide, Batman fans and moviegoers will expect nothing short of the perfect cap to an emotional, mentally-stimulating series that Nolan, who also directed Inception, is known to deliver.

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The Dark Knight Rises is probably the most anticipated Batman film to date, set to release on July 20, 2012. (Wikipedia)

Although the movie's release date is eight months away, much has already been leaked in regard to three significant elements of the film: setting, plot and character. Here's what we already know:

  • The Dark Knight Rises has been shot internationally. In the U.S., it has been shot in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York and Newark, New Jersey. Internationally, it has been shot in London, England, Glasgow, Scotland, and Jodhpur, India.
  • The plot takes place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, which ended with the death of Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face. Batman, since Dent's death, has assumed responsibility for Dent's crimes in order to protect his reputation. Now, he is being hunted by the Gotham City Police Department
  • Bane, played by Tom Hardy, is the primary villain of the film and Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway, will also be making her debut. Christian Bale returns as Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. Inception stars Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Social Network star Josh Pence play roles as well.

Here's the newest scoop on the movie:

  • According to E! Online, the beginning of the plot of the movie may be mirroring Frank Miller's classic series for DC Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, first issued in 1986, in which a middle-aged Bruce Wayne, who had given up his secret identity, was forced to come out of retirement and don his cape to fight a new foe. All the clues lie in the teaser trailer for the film that was released last summer. In that trailer, there's a scene in which Commissioner Gordon tells an off-camera Bruce Wayne from his hospital bed that We were in this together and then you were gone. Now this evil rises. The Batman has to come back.
  • Bane won't be as oversized as he is in comics and videogames, but according to E! Online's interview with Tom Hardy, Bane was chosen to still test Batman not only physically, but also mentally. According to costume designer Lindy Hemming in the same interview, Bane will still wear a mask and have pipes flowing into his back, but in a different manner. [Bane] was injured early in his story, Hemming said. He's suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can't survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two canisters.
  • Nolan confirmed that the prologue for The Dark Knight Rises will be presented before IMAX screenings of Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol when the latter film hits theaters Dec. 21. It will be the first six to seven minutes of the film.
  • Actress Ellen Page has been rumored to play Commissioner Gordon's daughter Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl and Oracle) according to a photo of a trailer door taken by someone walking around the set when shooting took place in New York.

Check out the teaser trailer to get your goose bumps flowing again.