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The visual designs behind The Dark Knight Rises


Dark Knight Rises: Julie Newmar as Catwoman

The lovely Julie Newmar played Catwoman as an out-and-out glamourpuss

She’s the feisty feline Batman loves to hate (or is that the other way round?), and there are few characters in Bat-lore who have endured severe wardrobe malfunctions with as much style as Catwoman. Her on-screen incarnations have been a mixed bag, to say the least.

Dark Knight Rises: Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer straddles the Bat

Julie Newmar’s 1960s version was an out-and-out glamourpuss, but it was with Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns that she got some serious claws. Halle Berry’s frankly ludicrous costume in Catwoman made Catwoman a laughing stock, but now it looks like she’s getting a timely, classy makeover.

Dark Knight Rises: Halle Berry

Lots of flesh but not a lot of style. Oh dear

Anne Hathaway’s version in The Dark Knight Rises appears to draw inspiration from a few key places, combining the glamour of Julie Newmar’s 1960s version with Christpher Nolan’s modern utilitarianism, her pointy ears bursting with tech.

It’s very, very simple, and as though she’s the kind of the opposite, the female version of Batman,” said Lindy Hemming of Catwoman’s suit. “[She’s] someone who produced a suit that has a technology of its own, which is in the fabric, and has her own items she needs, functional items for what she does. She’s a cat burglar, so she has a custom-made belt with everything to do with burglary, looking at jewellery, she has a belt that’s full of those things, all miniaturised.”

Dark Knight Rises: Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway blends the best of the old and the new

There are echoes of the current DC comic book take on Catwoman (below) too, although we’re guessing that Nolan won’t have Hathaway pouring gems over herself while suspended upside down. Although you never know…

Dark Knight Rises: comic-version Catwoman

Catwoman’s modern comic counterpart: bendy


He’s notorious among comic fans for being one of Batman’s toughest adversaries. In his original comic book appearances (below left), Bane had the look of a super-pumped strongman with a bizarre Mexican wrestling mask – a look that was closely replicated in Joel Schumacher’s Batman And Robin (below centre).

Dark Knight Rises: Bane

They’re all pretty scary, but Tom Hardy edges it if you ask us

Thankfully, he’s been given a complete makeover for The Dark Knight Rises. Sure, he’s still a big blighter, and he still needs a mask pumping venom into him to survive, but he looks closer to a paramilitary than a circus freak. “When you look at the comic version of Bane, he’s this massive man and he’s wearing this wrestling suit and it’s a bit difficult to imagine how you can translate that into a Chris Nolan film,” says Lindy Hemming.

Dark Knight Rises: Bane

Bane: not a man to be messed with

"Everyone’s meant to have a real background and come from some real story reason," Hemming continues "So with Bane, you see him with his mercenary men and you know where he’s come from and why he is like he is. His stuff has been made on the move over the mountains of the world, maybe in training camps.

"There is a slightly clunky element to him and that’s part of his story. I wanted it to have an animalistic feeling, and I looked at things like Silverback Gorillas and snarling teeth. Between working and drawing and looking at reference pictures of animals and everything, it seemed to somehow make him more menacing.”

Written by Rob Power

Have you seen The Dark Knight Rises yet? Let us know your favourite designs in the movie in the comments box below!

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