New Shots of Batman and Bane Grace <i>Empire</i> Magazine Covers

Empire magazine has unveiled its two Dark Knight Rises covers featuring new images of Christian Bale as Batman and Tom Hardy as Bane from the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's movie trilogy. (Warning: Potential spoilers can be found in the update below!)

If you squint, you can read quotes from each of the actors on their characters. Of Bane, Hardy says, "He's brutal. He's a terrorist. A really horrible piece of work." Of Batman, Bale says, "He has to answer the question: how long do you allow pain to dominate your life?"

The new issue of Empire arrives on shelves Thursday.

Opening July 20, The Dark Knight Rises also stars Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Morgan Freeman.

Update: Collider has some scans from the issue, revealing a quote from Nolan about the film's timeline. “It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story," he tells Empire. "We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he’s an older Bruce Wayne; he’s not in a great state.”

The director also divulges that the six-minute prologue, set to debut Dec. 16 with the IMAX version of Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, is "the introduction to Bane and a taste of the rest of the film."

(We've also added a third cover, featuring Bane, available to subscribers.)

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