Yesterday it was confirmed that Anne Hathaway will be playing Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and that Tom Hardy will play Bane in the same film. But if your chief exposure to the Bat comes from the big screen, the TV show or classic comics, you may not have come across Bane, who was introduced in the mid-1990s. For your convenience, we’ve put together a quick guide of the 10 things you need to know about the big guy himself…
In the comics, Bane is a huge, physically pumped, extremely intelligent (usually) bad guy. In the film, he’ll be played by Tom Hardy, who might not have looked that buff when we last saw him in Inception, but who’s capable of piling on the muscle when needed – see his title role in Bronson.
Bane spent his childhood in a prison in the fictional Caribbean country of Santa Prisca, after his father fled from a life sentence imposed for revolutionary behaviour against the corrupt government and the authorities decided to imprison his son instead. Apparently no one told them this was a flagrant breach of habeas corpus and frowned upon in polite international society.
Bane killed his first man at 8, a criminal who wanted to use Bane as a funnel for information on the prison. The boyish villain kept a knife hidden in his cute li’l teddy bear Osito. But he wasn’t all about the murder! He also learned everything he could from books and other inmates, and worked out in the gym whenever possible. He also loved long walks on the beach, getting caught in the rain and becoming the overlord of the entire prison.
While in prison, Bane was subjected to trials of an experimental drug called Venom – not to be confused with any Marvel-owned alien substances of the same name. This almost killed our anti-hero, before granting him vastly greater physical strength – for as long as he kept taking it through pipes attached to his brain. Drugs: don’t do it, or you’ll end up with a head that looks like the Pompidou Centre.
Bane had heard of Batman in prison, and on escaping headed for Gotham (another place where “fear rules”) to seek out this mysterious figure. Rather than go straight for the Bat-throat, however, he just knocked down the walls of Arkham Asylum and let Batman spend a few months rounding up all his enemies. Again. Honestly, a hero’s work is never done.
Finally, Batman returned to his base, exhausted from three solid months of supervillain chasing, to find that Bane had figured out his secret identity and was at Wayne Manor waiting for him. Ooops. At that point, it was – as they say – on like Donkey Kong. Only things didn’t follow their normal pattern, and Bane calmly and efficiently broke Batman’s back across his knee. Holy paraplegia!
In Wayne’s absence, a sometime-ally called Azrael donned a super-Batsuit, managed to defeat Bane by severing those drug pipes into his head (Drugs: don’t do it!) and beat him half to death. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne was healed by supernatural means (of course) and was able to take the Bat-mantle back from his Bat-locum, who’d threatened to go Bat-shit crazy in any case.
Following his defeat, Bane was cleaned up from his Venom addiction in prison and became a good guy. We know, we know, that makes very little sense and feels like they were pandering to fans who’d decided they liked the big guy. Anyway, he and Batman even worked together on a few jobs to bring down Venom dealers who were threatening the city.
In a slightly more convincing development, Bane met Ra’s Al Ghul, who was impressed by the man’s intellect and appointed him his successor. The pair try to launch a plague on Gotham, which Batman obviously has to stop. More importantly, he obviously has to have a rematch with Bane that doesn’t end up with the Bat getting his ass kicked and his spine severed. Win!
So what can we expect from the film? Well, the “successor to Ra’s Al Ghul” thing would fit with Nolan’s Bat-world. But breaking Arkham open has been done, and the absence of the supernatural probably precludes actually breaking Batman’s actual back. Still, the plague story is possible, as is the distribution of a new drug – although both of those risk treading awfully close to the first film’s fear toxin. Maybe he’ll just be a really annoying multi-lingual guru teaching his own forms of meditation and calisthenics, eh?