After posting the cover images from their new story about The Dark Knight Rises, Empire Online has finally revealed a few details from the story itself, including one very small but very important tidbit that might change the way we anticipate this movie entirely. According to Christopher Nolan himself, The Dark Knight Rises doesn't pick up where The Dark Knight left off, with Batman on the run and Commissioner Gordon rebuilding Gotham; it takes place eight years later. Here's what Nolan told them:

"It's really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne's story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he's an older Bruce Wayne; he's not in a great state.

You've got to love how Nolan understates how important this information is, claiming it is "perhaps surprising" that the movie takes place after an eight-year jump. In all the rampant speculation about The Dark Knight Rises that started pretty much the moment the last film came to theaters, I don't think many people ever really considered that the sequel would jump ahead so far in time. The leap does help take care of a number of narrative problems, though, from the fact that Batman on the run and in hiding wouldn't have made for much of a movie to simply eliminating Heath Ledger's The Joker from the story-- he was left alive and dangling from a building in The Dark Knight, but with eight years gone by there won't really be any reason for the citizens of Gotham to wonder where the crazy painted man went.

Tom Hardy also talked a little bit about the brutality of Bane, including some pretty detailed descriptions of exactly the ways in which his character causes pain. Here's a fairly graphic little snippet:

Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."

Ouch. You can read more at Empire, but stick around here to participate in some good old-fashioned speculation. What is this eight-year jump going to mean for the movie? How will The Bat have changed? And how are we expected to wait until next summer to find out all these answers?

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