While it’s always been my understanding that only a single scene that was actually shot for The Dark Knight failed to make it in the film, it doesn’t appear that’s the case with The Dark Knight Rises- a film so long that it was nearly too big for IMAX film platters. How much was ultimately cut due to logistical constraints and studio demands is unclear, but in addition to the general sense of breathless editing in the film, it turns out there are definitely some full scenes, or at least moments, that were cut, and some of them involve Bane and his origins.
This revelation comes from costume designer Lindy Hemming, who in speaking about Bane’s costume details a scene or two that would have given us glimpses of Bane as he was repaired and trained. These scenes were mentioned to GQ in an interview conducted before Hemming had seen the finished film, with her assumption being that they remained in the cut.
Lindy Hemming: It’s not out in England yet, but the other thing that you should have seen during that sequence is him being injured in his youth. So one of the fundamental things about his costume is that he has this scar from the back injury. Even if he hasn’t got the bulletproof vest on, he still has to wear the waist belt and the braces. In that scene in the prison, where he’s learning to fight the same way Batman learned to fight, he’s wearing an early version of his waist belt. It’s showing support, but it’s not the finished one he eventually wears. He’s also wearing an early version of his gas mask, all glued together.
GQ: I remember one scene where we see his face covered in bandages, is this what you’re referring to?
Lindy Hemming: Well, if you look at the film, unless they’ve cut it—and I’m sure they haven’t—there’s a whole early section for Tom Hardy where he’s fighting and being taunted by people. He’s got chains on him, and he’s standing on a wooden thing while people are attacking him. And in that scene, he’s wearing a much more ragged, primitive version of the mask.
She goes on to say there’s a scene in which the origin of the mask is more explicitly detailed, though I suppose she could be referring to the prison scene in which Bruce is simply told its function by his fellow prisoner.
Bane training atop wooden posts would obviously have been a deliberate callback to Batman Begins, but I would love to have seen exactly how these moments were integrated into the film in a more general sense. Any more time spent with Tom Hardy would be a plus, but I’m not holding my breath on seeing the footage, as Nolan has not set much of a precedent of sharing deleted material from the Bat franchise.
You should go read the rest of that GQ interview, as you can learn some fascinating things about filmmaking through the perspective of craftspeople that oversee the more minute details, such as costuming. We get so hung up on performance, spectacle, direction, photography, and all the other fun stuff that we often forget how much the very clothes people are wearing can tell us about a scene or character.