Warner Bros. released some surprising news about the cast and villains in Christopher Nolan's upcoming  film "The Dark Knight Rises".

For months there has been speculation as to who the villains would be in the new Batman film. It was reported that originally the film would've focused again on The Joker and Two-Face, but that plan was axed after the passing of Heath Ledger. Then there were several early reports that Johnny Depp would take over as The Joker...then he was rumored to star as The Riddler...and then Joseph Gordon-Levitt was rumored for the part. After tons of fanboy theories and internet speculation we finally have some answers;  Tom Hardy (Inception, Bronson) will star as Bane and Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle (AKA Catwoman's alter ego).

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It is unclear whether Hathaway will appear as Catwoman in the film but this is a huge disappointment as far as I'm concerned. For the past few years I have jokingly referred to Hathaway as my girlfriend, but I think that this is going to change my opinion of her (and not in a good way). I really don't want to think of her as the chick that ruined the Batman movies. Catwoman is a dumb villain and doesn't really fit in with the gritty version of the Batman universe that Christopher Nolan has created. Let's hope her character serves as a love interest for Bruce Wayne and nothing else. She beat out several other actresses for the role including Keira Knightly and Jessica Biel. It was rumored they were up for the part of Talia Al Ghul, daughter of the villain played by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins. This may all be misdirection too, that Nolan is one tricky SOB.

Tom Hardy on the other hand is a great choice for a villain, though most have been saying he will need to bulk up a lot for the role of Bane. If you don't know who this dude is, he is the British guy who damn near stole the show in Inception. I have heard he gave an even better performance in the film Bronson, but I have not seen it.

This is the third Batman film from Christopher Nolan and will be his last unless he changes his mind. I don't believe that will happen though, he is too talented a filmmaker to be stuck under a pre-existing property like the Batman franchise. Christian Bale has also said that this will be his last Batman film. The Dark Knight Rises is said to begin shooting in Los Angeles, Detroit (rumored), and the U.K. in March and is set for release in July 2012.