The next Batman movie doesn't come out until 2012, but fans can get their first glimpse of the villain from "The Dark Knight Rises" right here.

Check out this photo of British actor Tom Hardy as Bane. The photo was uncovered by fans following the film's viral campaign. Hardy packed on the pounds to play the masked, muscle-bound bad guy.


In the Batman comics, Bane is the test subject for a drug named Venom, which grants him superhuman strength and durability. The character made an appearance in the 1997 film "Batman & Robin" featuring George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell. In that movie he was a mindless brute, but in the comics he's a criminal genius.

Filming for "The Dark Knight Rises" began just two weeks ago and will continue for several months.

Christian Bale will reprise his role as the Caped Crusader. Michael Caine returns as Alfred the Butler, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

New faces in the new film include Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as cop John Blake, and Marion Cotillard as Wayne Enterprises' board member Miranda Tate.

Are you excited about the next Batman film? Sound off in the comments below.