The "Crazy Rumors" Of 'The Dark Knight Rises' Revisited

Here on /Film, interest in the sequel to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was so high, we began covering it when the previous film was still in theaters. For years, crazy rumors would pop up on a weekly basis and once the film was titled The Dark Knight Rises and casting began, the rumors got even more wild. This site alone has run almost 600 articles on the project.

Now that the film is out, there's much to discuss. You can debate the merits of the film, find issues with its narrative, or look back at all of the rumors and see just how accurate everything was. Below, we've broken down several of the bigger rumors and dissected which were true (more than you'd think), which were false (less than you'd think) and try to gauge just how well you can trust internet speculation with a huge movie like The Dark Knight Rises.

Everything below the jump should be considered MASSIVE SPOILERS. Like, "give away the last shot of the movie" type spoilers. So beware until you've seen the film.

Here are ten rumors that the Internet spewed out in regards to The Dark Knight Rises.

1. Batman/Bruce Wayne Dies

  • Verdict: True, Kind of.
  • Original Rumor: November 23, 2010. Batman and Bruce Wayne will die so that no one can continue Christopher Nolan's trilogy.
  • Film Reality: This is a bit unclear but here's what we discern. Batman takes the nuke out to sea and, though we don't see him do so, he ejects early and lets The Bat finish the job on auto pilot. The public seems to think Batman died in the blast (they immortalize him with a statue) and, for some reason, the public also believes Bruce Wayne is dead. (We see his grave, his assets are given away.) Near the end, though, these things are flipped on their heads in that Bruce Wayne is seemingly still alive, and dating Selina Kyle, and Batman will return, as Commissioner Gordon has remade the bat signal. So they're dead, but not really.
  • Judgement: While the public's ignorance at Bruce Wayne and Batman both "dying" simultaneously is a tough pill to swallow, Nolan's choice to semi-kill the character is a solid, satisfying ending.

2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Robin

  • Verdict: True
  • Film Reality: When Gordon-Levitt's character was revealed to be named John Blake, everyone put this rumor to rest. But in the film's final moments, it's revealed that his given name is "Robin." However, that doesn't mean he'll rise to become Robin. In fact, since Gordon remade the bat signal, and thinking back to the earlier scenes where Bruce Wayne said Batman could be anyone and Gordon said Batman saved the city, it seems like Blake will don the cape and cowl, not the R.
  • Judgement: Nolan and Bale said for a long time that Robin would not appear in the film, and he wasn't lying. But the fact that Blake's name is Robin both is a nod to the fans, and a huge flag to the crowd signaling what happens next. I dug how it was handled.

3. Bane Breaks Batman's Back

  • Verdict: True
  • Original Rumor: January 19, 2011. When Bane was revealed to be the main villain, we assumed he'd perform serve his most famous function, which is breaking the back of Batman. Early trailers showing Wayne with a cane added fuel to the fire.
  • Film Reality: We never quite learn why Bruce Wayne has the cane, but it's not because of Bane. Instead, Wayne is healed and the second time he goes back out as Batman, he confronts Bane. At that point he is indeed dropped across Bane's knee, breaking his back.
  • Judgement: In the comics, this was a massive, massive event. In the film, it's pretty much an after-thought. The only reason we even know it happens is because a prisoner tells Wayne his back is all messed up. Also, a broken back takes years to heal. This only takes a few months. So, while it's nice Nolan included it, the sentiment is wasted.

4. Marion Cotillard is Talia Al Ghul

  • Verdict: True
  • Film Reality: The rumor is almost exactly how it plays out in the film, but Cotillard flat out lied on numerous occasions when faced with questions about her character. The turn is one of the film's biggest reveals so her deceit makes sense but, even so, it feels like an afterthought. She might have been the brains behind the entire villain operation, but we never really see that.
  • Judgement: It's nice to see Talia in the film, but it would have been nicer for her to torture Bruce with more screen time .

5. Liam Neeson Returns

  • Verdict: True
  • Original Rumor: April 8, 2011. Liam Neeson returns as Ra's al Ghul, his character from Batman Begins, despite his apparent death in the first film.
  • Film Reality: Neeson does, indeed, return in the movie, but mostly just as one of Bruce Wayne's hallucinations. There's also a quick shot later of him when we learn about the link between R'as, Talia and Bane. Also, actor Josh Pence plays a younger version of the character.
  • Judgement: Since Neeson died in the first film (twice, sorta) I'm glad he didn't come back to life. However, his presence was powerful and helped give the rage of Talia and Bane a little more context.

6. Cillian Murphy Returns

  • Verdict: True
  • Original Rumor: October 17, 2011. Since Scarecrow has, somehow, survived both previous Nolan Batman films, it was rumored he'd return. Later, the rumor got more specific saying he'd be a judge.
  • Film Reality: This one was 100% on the money. Murphy's character, Dr. Crane, is a judge for Bane sentencing people to "exile or death." A small, but fun role for fans.
  • Judgement: It was great to see Murphy's character back. His resiliency is one of the better throughlines in the Batman films.

7. Bane's Voice Has Been Fixed

  • Verdict: Likely true
  • Original Rumor: December 20, 2011. Warner Bros. attached the first six minutes of the film (the plane heist) to IMAX prints of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. While many people talked about how great it looked, more people talked about how inaudible Bane was. A story was released suggesting Bane's voice was altered soon after that footage hit, but Warner Bros. denied it. During current press for the film, Nolan cops to minor changes.
  • Film Reality: Bane sounds 100% better than he did in that very early stage late last year. Still, you can only understand about 90% of what he says and some of that is context too.
  • Judgement: The fact that Bane's voice is discernible at all means it's an improvement, true or not.

8. The Lazarus Pit is Involved

  • Verdict: Likely false
  • Original Rumor: May 16, 2011. The first images revealed from the set of The Dark Knight Rises were a green screened pit in the middle of a desert. Many believed it was The Lazarus Pit, a place where Ra's al Ghul can regenerate his powers. As he was dead, people believed it would have to do with Bane.
  • Film Reality: The Lazarus Pit, as seen in the comics, is not in the movie. The pit, however, is a major location in the movie and does serve to let Bruce Wayne regenerate his powers. (If not in the way Ra's does.)
  • Judgement: Having a pit in the movie is a nice nod to the fans, and while it's not called the Lazarus Pit like in the comics, it does sort of fit the description. This is a solid adaptation of something fantastic into this realistic world, even if it's not a perfect match.

9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a villain

  • Verdict: False
  • Original Rumors: July 20, 1020February 10, 2011 and March 2 2011. The Riddler. Black Mask. Alberto Falcone. Etc. If he wasn't Robin, everyone thought Gordon-Levitt would be playing a villain of sorts, either the main one or – once those were cast – a pawn.
  • Film Reality: John Blake doesn't have a bad bone in his body, this was just wishful thinking.
  • Judgement: I love the Blake arc, and Gordon-Levitt's performance, but it would have been great to see him as a villain. Oh well.

10. Catwoman Steals Wayne's Family Jewels

  • Verdict: True
  • Original Rumor: December 21, 2011. When Anne Hathaway first appeared in The Dark Knight Rises trailer, she was seen sporting a set of pearls just like Thomas Wayne bought for his wife. Was she cat-burgling Wayne Manor?
  • Film Reality: This is exactly what happened. Whoever was the first person to catch this deserves a pat on the back.
  • Judgement: The pearls, not only a nice link between the first and third film, are a hint at the very, very end of the film as the one lost item on the Wayne manifest. Love that touch.

Of course – these aren't the only rumors that surrounded this film over the years. Dr. Hugo Strange was supposed to appear, Ellen Page was thought to be in it, neither was true. But still, it's pretty insane that once cast and title were put in place, almost everything we heard about the movie was true to at least some extent.

Were you excited to see these rumors play out the way they did or were you hoping there were others that got forgotten?