The movie is a year away but already Warner Bros. is in hype mode for The Dark Knight Rises.

The marketing machine actually began back in May of this year when the company launched the website for The Dark Knight Rises. Users got to encrypt an audio file and when they did it linked to the film's YouTube account. This eventually led to the first images released from the film: that of Batman villain Bane (to be played by Tom Hardy) and the movie poster.

Warner Bros. has taken the next step with the release of the first trailer, which was previewed for select audiences before the first showings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 this previous weekend. Not looking to get beaten to the punch, Warner Bros. went out of its way to get every leaked version of the trailer removed until it was ready to release the trailer itself.

The trailer begins with the words, Every Hero Has A Journey across the screen. It then goes to scenes from the first movie from the series, Batman Begins with overlaying words from Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson) saying, If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, then you become something else entirely, a legend, Mr. Wayne, a legend. It displays the words, Every Journey Has An End.

The trailer then shifts to an image of Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) on a hospital bed in bad shape. He is breathing through an oxygen tank.

Through pained words, Gordon tells Batman, You were gone. Now there is evil rising. The Batman must come back. Batman and/or Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) responds, What if he doesn't exist anymore? Gordon responds, He must..he must.

Through this exchange, the trailers cut to various images of Gotham City and Batman working out. The images of Bane are similar to those that have leaked in the past few months.  From this exchange, there is images of buildings crumbling, which come straight from the movie posted.

The final image, following the title display, is of Batman facing off with Bane. Batman looks a little scared of the giant villain and is shown backing down from him.

The trailer tells little of how the movie will go other than public knowledge. It does give a few hints though. It seems as if it takes place a few years or so after The Dark Knight, as indicated by Gordon's You were gone. It also appears Bane is going to be jacked out of his mind and has destroyed Gotham City, taking down Gordon in the process. Hardy has indicated he plans on playing Bane as menacing and has gained 30 pounds for the role.  

Conspicuous by their absence are Anne Hathaway set to play Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), Joseph Gordon-Levitt set to by John Blake, a Gotham City beat cop and Marion Cortillard who plays Miranda Tate, a board member for Wayne Enterprises. All three are expected to have big roles in the film.  A lot of the other supporting characters are not there as well.

What the trailer and the initial website launch tells us is how Warner Bros. plans on building hype for the final Christopher Nolan Batman film - slowly, one piece at a time. The first two Nolan films did well at the box office and were critical successes. The second one even got an Oscar win (posthumously) for Heath Ledger for his role as the Joker.

It's likely we won't hear any major plot details or preview until next year - or at least until the 2011 Holiday movie season. Filming for the movie only began two months ago and Warner Bros./Nolan are notorious for their secrecy regarding the franchise.

So while fans may be frustrated the teaser trailer didn't give much in the way of details, be prepared to be patient. This could be just the beginning.

Here's the trailer.