Christopher Nolan, why must you toy with us so? The Dark Knight Rises, the filmmaker's sequel to 2008's mega-hit Batman film The Dark Knight, isn't scheduled to hit theaters until July 20, 2012 -- and already Nolan is whetting moviegoers' appetites with an eye-grabbing new teaser poster (see above).
Of course, anticipation has been high for Nolan's third Batman film since its predecessor debuted to rave reviews and record-smashing box-office returns back in the summer of '08. But, with the sad loss of a key ingredient to that film's success -- Heath Ledger, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of the villainous Joker, passed away in January of that year -- Nolan wisely took a break from Caped Crusader films to make another hit, 2010's mind-blowing thriller Inception.
Buzz for The Dark Knight Rises began to build anew this winter, however, as Nolan assembled an A-list cast for what will likely be his final Batman film. Not surprisingly, Christian Bale is back in action as Batman and his brooding billionaire alter-ego Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine returns as Bruce's loyal butler and confidante Alfred, and Gary Oldman is back as Bat-sympathetic Commissioner Gordon.
They'll be joined by a trio of Inception actors: Tom Hardy as muscle-bound bad guy Bane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Gotham City beat cop John Blake, and Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard as Wayne Industries board member (and possible Bruce Wayne love interest?) Miranda Tate.
And, last but most certainly not least, Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, who is another potential love interest for Bruce and, naturally, also likes to don head-to-toe leather and purr a lot whilst beating people up as Catwoman.
If that's not enough to get you excited, there's always that poster above. Nothing says "the most eagerly anticpated blockbuster of 2012" like some crumbling Gotham City skyscrapers framing out a gargantuan bat.