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First photo of Tom Hardy as Bane in Batman!

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

The dark knight rises

Can’t wait until 2012 for the new Batman: The Dark Knight Rises movie? Check out the first photo with the muscular Tom Hardy as Bane.

Inception actor Tom Hardy has been hitting the gym hard, from the looks of this newly released image of the actor as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

The dark knight rises

Warner Bros' new viral campaign required fans to go to the official website for the movie, where a cryptic audio file was deciphered that chanted, "The fire rises." Going to the Twitter account, @thefirefises, leads you to a link to another site, which contains an encrypted photo which required fans to tweet with the hashtag, #thefirerises. At this point, the photo is revealed! Whew!

What we see is Hardy as Bane, who is known as Poison Ivy's henchman in the comics. He was one of Batman's greatest rivals who was obsessed with breaking Batman's body and soul.

The Dark Knight Rises is slated for release on July 20th, 2012 -- and we can't wait to see more sneak photos!

Directed by Christopher Nolan, the new Batman also stars Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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