First look at Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (Possible Spoilers!)

Although it is still just shy of being a year from hitting theaters, it is safe to say that The Dark Knight Rises has a bit of attention. In fact, when the set pics of Bane were released earlier this week, it made front page news all over the world. They were buried by the slightly more important, but far less sexy news about the debt ceiling debate, but the pics were everywhere. The intertubes came to life, and the last time so much discussion took place over such a limited and out of context series of images, there was a New York Congressman and a sex scandal involved.

But people like their Batman gossip, and who can blame them. The Dark Knight went on to earn over a billion dollars, which made the interest in a sequel intense. Add in that it is a comic book franchise which is traditionally already among the most scrutinized of genres to begin with, and then announce that it will be the end of what Nolan is considering a trilogy and watch the internet explode.

The Bane pics show actor Tom Hardy in full costume (on the right), which led to two questions. First, what is the thing on his face? For comic book fans, the obvious answer is that it is most likely some form of delivery system for venom, the super-steroid that the character used to increase his strength and physical size. It is impossible to know the exact context of the scene, but compared to the way Bane is shown in the trailer (below), he seems much smaller than in the teaser clip, which could mean that the battle is early on—or at least not the climactic fight, and he will actually get bigger later in the movie. Then again, the teaser may just have picked up on a single shot where the depth perception is misleading.

The second question is why is he standing on the batmobile? In this particular image, it is somewhat difficult to tell, but Bane is standing on a batmobile painted in desert camouflage. Perhaps it isn’t the batmobile at all, but rather a military version of the original design that was sold or taken from Wayne Enterprises.

The second Bane pic is supposedly set on the steps of the Gotham City Hall, surrounded by police and what appears to be Joseph Gordon-Levitt dressed as a police officer–although it is not confirmed if that is Gordon-Levitt of not but it sure looks like him, and he is listed as playing “John Blake,” a Gotham City beat cop. Several hundred extras were dressed as police and bad guys, and were filmed fighting in the (fake) snow.

The Bane pics hit the internet thanks to people in Pittsburgh (where much of the film is being shot) who were on hand with cameras at the ready. They are not official, but they are everywhere. So possibly before the leaks began, The Dark Knight Rises team made a preemptive strike on fanboys, and released the first images on Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. That was a smart move, since the pics seem to be from the same scene with Bane, filmed on the steps of the Gotham City Hall, so images would have made their way out regardless.

The image above was released without context. It isn’t clear if this is the complete Catwoman suit, part of it or maybe just an early costume. The headgear is interesting, but the real question is why is she driving a batpod? Did she steal it or did Batman give her a loaner? Obviously the pic leaves a lot to be desired, but it is the first look we have had as Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.

For a better look at the costume, check out the pictures below of Hathaway’s stunt double originally seen on Just Jared, as she rides by the dead or unconscious bodies of several Gotham police officers and soldiers.

The filmmakers have been very tight on details of the script, and Hathaway has refused to say a word about the character. In fact, no one on the film has come out and called the character Catwoman, instead always referring to her as Selina Kyle. This is probably due to Nolan’s desire to ground the series in reality, so it may just be that the character doesn’t take on an alter ego, just as Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent was never actually referred to as two-face, except in a different and almost mocking context, and then only briefly.

So how will fans react to the costume? Can the internet take it?

The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters on July 20, 2012, which leaves us a lot of time to discuss. So what do you think of the Catwoman look?

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