Chris Clow is a comic book expert, retailer and contributor to Batman-On-Film.com and Modern-Myth-Media.com. When not geeking out, he is a Political Science major at Western Washington University. You can find his Dark Knight Rises Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Thursday, and his comic book reviews at BOF and MMM for various monthly titles. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
Welcome back to the Countdown for The Dark Knight Rises! Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve received a rush of information and visuals coming from what’s sure to be next summer’s hottest film. All of this has been capped off with the first taste of the film screening on 70mm IMAX screens worldwide. Director Christopher Nolan has opened up a bit more about certain details and characters, and it’s becoming very clear that in this film, somehow, the Legend Ends.
Working our way forward from the beginning of the month to where we stand right now, let’s dive into the current news surrounding the Epic Conclusion to the Dark Knight Legend.
The Composer on Fan Inclusion
A story reported from a while back told everyone that composer Hans Zimmer
was looking to include fans from across the planet in recording a rhythmic chant that has a chance to make it into the final film. BOF passed along a report filed from Collider
, where Zimmer speaks of, among other things, how the chant came to be in the film and his decision to allow fans to record it for possible inclusion.
In the interview, Zimmer said, “You always want to create a sound that nobody has ever heard, but I think, this time, we might be doing that. As a musician, I think about what environment things are recorded in. Now, you have hundreds of thousands of voices, all recorded in their own individual environment. Up until now, that’s been impossible to do. There’s a lot of people doing a lot of editing, as well.”
SNL Tackles The Dark Knight
BOF passed it along, and it was pretty funny, so you guys might get a kick out of it too! Steve Buscemi takes on the role of Commissioner Gordon as his relationship with Batman gets…weird. This premiered on Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago, enjoy!
The Viral Campaign Begins, Oldman Speaks on the “Harvey Dent Act” and the End
One of the coolest and most interactive parts of the buildup to The Dark Knight
was its usage of viral marketing: creating a game of sorts that takes place in the world of the film, with a foot planted firmly in our world. If you haven’t checked out (or weren’t aware) of the campaign for the last film, there’s an archive of sorts over on the main website for it, WhySoSerious.com
. Among other things, it saw the Joker “hack” into and change many major Gotham City websites in preparation for his arrival. In the last campaign, there were also several games that called on fans to decipher codes and figure out clues that earned them either special swag, or invites to special screenings of trailers or the film’s prologue sequence.
Well, it seems that history is repeating itself. Released around December 7th, a “CIA document” containing information (much of it redacted) on a man named Dr. Leonid Pavel was released, and it quickly became apparent to many intuitive observers that this was the first strike of The Dark Knight Rises
viral marketing campaign. If you haven’t seen this document, check out our coverage here at Movies.com
and check out a larger version of the image at Wired
More on the viral campaign in a bit. An interesting iota of plot information came recently from Gary Oldman
, who used some very interesting language in an interview with Moviefone
“We find [Jim Gordon] -- obviously I can't give too much away because I'm sworn to secrecy -- but when we meet him, things are calmer in Gotham. It's reminiscent of the Gordon that we met in [Batman Begins]. There's a world-weariness to him, and even though things on the surface are now calmer, he's cleaned up Gotham with the Harvey Dent Act, it's seething underneath.”
The “Harvey Dent Act?” Some new law passed in the name of Gotham’s “hero?” This news, coupled with the image released recently of Bane holding up a picture of Dent, seems to indicate that the one-time Two-Face will cast a long shadow over this film.
Oldman also spoke with CraveOnline
about his perspective on the film as it relates to his and Chris Nolan’s participation.
“For us I think it's the end. Whether [Warner Bros.] will make more, my guess is probably. I mean, they don't have Potter anymore. So, there could be a 'Batman 4' and '5.' It may be Chris overseeing it in a producorial position, but for us and for Chris I think that's it. It's a great way to go out though. It's a great story. Epic, epic thing it is.”
Sounds remarkably spot-on, and consistent with previous reports that the series will be rebooted after this film.
Operation: Early Bird Commences
It became clear over a period of a few days that the memo detailing Dr. Pavel’s status with the CIA was the first clue in this film’s viral campaign, and on the film’s viral Twitter page, @TheFireRises
, there were pointers to a website called “Operation Early Bird
It quickly became apparent that after deciphering some coordinates revealed on the main DarkKnightRises.com website on OperationEarlyBird.com, locations for several worldwide 70mm IMAX theaters were revealed on a world map. These locations would be screening a special advance presentation of The Dark Knight Rises Prologue, the first six minutes of the film giving an introduction to Tom Hardy’s Bane. The screenings would occur on Tuesday December 13th at 10:00pm local time.
Before the Early Bird screenings, though, there was an even earlier bird screening hosted by the man himself, director Christopher Nolan! This was the press screening that occurred in Los Angeles at the Universal Studios CityWalk IMAX on December 8th, and it was attended by the master of BOF, Bill “Jett” Ramey. He has posted an awesome recap of the night’s events over at BOF, which you can access by clicking HERE
. Definitely give it a read, Jett managed to get some awesome one on one time with much of “Team Nolan,” including its eponymous member. Go read it! You can also check our our coverage of the event from New York right HERE
Poster Number Two Promise: “The Legend Ends”
This last Saturday, December 10th, saw the premiere of the film’s second poster. The words “awesome” and “foreboding” come to mind, but don’t even begin to do it justice. Give it a look and see what you think.
So, the Legend Ends? My guess is that it won’t without one hell of a fight.
Nolan on Leaving Gotham, Actress Turned Down Talia
Jett over at BOF decided to point people in the direction of an awesome interview with Christopher Nolan conducted by the LA Times Hero Complex’s Geoff Boucher
. Among other things, the interview discussed the IMAX format, but also Nolan’s feelings on leaving behind the franchise that he brought to new, astronomical heights.
“It was pretty emotional as we would finish these characters and say goodbye to Alfred for the last time and say goodbye to Commissioner Gordon and eventually, with Christian, fairly close to the end, saying goodbye to Batman...it was a big deal. And with these newer characters too, finishing with Anne and all these guys. It was quite touching, I must say.”
I imagine it will be very emotional for fans everywhere come July 20th.
BOF reported on December 12th, through The Surray Comet
, that a child actress named Leilah De Meza was offered the role of a young Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s. She turned it down, though, due to the role’s requirement of a shaved head. Since we know that actor Josh Pence is playing a young version of her father (a role originated by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins
), it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that a young Talia would be present, but it does confirm the character’s existence in this iteration of the Batman world.
I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in Operation: Early Bird at the Colossus Theatre in Langley, British Columbia on Tuesday night. The prologue, needless to say, floored me. Out of the six minutes, I probably sat in that theater for a solid four minutes with my mouth hanging open like a slack-jawed idiot. The scale automatically feels much larger for this film due to the extraordinarily complex stunts on display in the piece, and Tom Hardy’s Bane has shown that he will be a very formidable, charismatic, and devastating adversary for the Dark Knight.
Some people have been complaining about Bane’s voice, because at times it seemed inaudible. While this is somewhat true, I doubt this was a decision made by accident. His language is decipherable, but also, every major and important line that Bane spoke was clearly heard. The important pieces are there, and it’s not an enormously complicated matter to decipher what Bane says a second after the fact. In the end, this only serves to add to the mystique of the character, which for my money, is exactly what Mr. Nolan wants.
The Warner Bros. representatives at the screenings around the world also gave away free T-shirts with each ticket. One shirt had a smeared, stylized design of Bane’s mask with one word: “End.” The other had a similarly smeared and stylized Bat-logo with the word “Legend” below it. This was the shirt that I sought out.
In the flashes of the film after the main feature of the prologue, the biggest goose bumps that I received were when Hans Zimmer’s bass tones really kicked in and revealed the Batman for the first time. Even though the villains get much of the attention, Batman himself will always be the main reason that I am devoted to these stories, and I can’t wait to see him kick ass in a Christopher Nolan film one more time. The Legend may end, but the title promises that The Dark Knight Rises. I can’t wait to see how.
That about does it for the news on the film, so let’s take a look at what’s happening with the Guardian of Gotham in the pages of DC Comics!
Bat-Comics Next Week: Batman #4 and Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1
Next week sees two major releases in Bat-comics. The first is Scott Snyder’s next issue of the current Batman ongoing series, continuing the story of the "Court of Owls" and sure to feature more revelations about Gotham City that even Bruce Wayne isn’t aware of. Last issue left readers on a hell of a cliffhanger, with Batman locating a Court of Owls base in the city and apparently being blown up in the process. It doesn’t take a genius to see that he will probably survive, but it might take a genius to try and figure out exactly where the deft hands of Snyder will take this story next.
Speaking of deft hands, penciler Greg Capullo, inker Jonathan Glapion, and colorist FCO Plascencia continue to knock it out of the park with a stylized yet darkly appropriate take on the world of Batman. Be sure to check out BOF’s Batman review page
late next week for what’s sure to be an insightful and engaging critique of the next issue of Batman by the great John Bierly.
Also next week sees the highly anticipated return of writer Grant Morrison to the world of the Dark Knight with the new one-shot Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes. Morrison has received some flak from some fans of the Batman by actually removing Bruce Wayne from the comics for awhile and replacing him with Dick Grayson. Personally, I’ve been a huge fan of Morrison’s take on Batman and the bombastic story he was telling, and am thrilled beyond words to see it continue. As the last assigned reviewer to the Batman Incorporated title prior to its conclusion, I will be reviewing this issue next week for BOF. Be sure to give it a look when you can!
Bat-comic reviews coming this week include Batman and Robin #4, Batgirl #4 (both reviewed by me at BOF later this week) and Batwoman #4 (by John Bierly). Give them a look when they pop up on the site!
Before letting you go, I’d like to part with a sad bit of news that affects the world of Batman and the legacy of the comics medium.
In Honor of Jerry Robinson
In 1940, when he was all of 18-years-old, little did anyone know that young comic book artist Jerry Robinson would add to a tapestry that will no doubt stand the test of time for generations to come. Jerry Robinson was one of the architects of the Robin character, and even came up with the name for the Boy Wonder. However, the true addition to the mythology of comics that Robinson and writer Bill Finger helped craft was that of the cackling nemesis. The Clown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker. Robinson and Finger are often not attributed to the creation of these characters, but they are the ones that took that garish grin from Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs and created one of the most memorable and enigmatic fictional characters of all time. Robinson’s contributions didn’t stop at Robin and the Joker, as he also had a hand in focusing the visions of Alfred and Two-Face.
Robinson was also a tireless champion of the rights of creators, lamenting that Bill Finger, one of the hardest workers in comics and on the Batman himself, died in relative poverty and obscurity compared to their credited collaborator, Bob Kane. In addition to this, he and artist Neal Adams lobbied DC Comics tirelessly in the 1970’s to financially recognize Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster as the true creators of the Superman, which paid off by having both men receive lifetime stipends from and immortal credit in all works featuring the Man of Steel as the creators of the first super hero.
Last week, Jerry Robinson died at the age of 89. I had the unique and honorable opportunity to meet him in San Diego in 2008, and he was more cordial and warm than he ever needed to be. A true pioneer of the super hero genre and a creator of some of its strongest pillars in addition to championing the appropriate compensation to creators, I would like to dedicate this edition of The Dark Knight Rises Countdown to Mr. Robinson’s memory. My heart goes out to all affected by this loss of a true pioneer of the stories that I and so many others love so much, and it’s quite possible that we wouldn’t even be talking about Batman or definitely the Joker if not for Mr. Robinson’s immensely important creation and contribution to this mythology.
Sherrill David “Jerry” Robinson
1922 - 2011
That wraps up this edition of The Dark Knight Rises
Countdown! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have, be sure to check out the other great Countdown columns here at Movies.com
! Didn’t see a piece of Bat-info that you wanted to? Wanted some other bit of Batman news present in this piece? Let me know in the comments section below, and I’ll do what I can to include it next time!
Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you get to see the Prologue if you haven’t already, it makes one hell of a present!
The Legend Ends in 217 Days when The Dark Knight Rises