Minor spoilers ahead. 

Empire’s The Dark Knight Rises article is making the rounds on the internets this morning and it’s providing the most concrete info we’ve had on the film. We now have official confirmation that the prologue is bowing in front of Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol on December 21st. Also, in typical Nolan fashion, they revealed there’s a practical necessity for Bane’s wonky mask – in this case the administration of pain medicine. But of everything in the piece, I suspect this Nolan quote will cause the biggest stir:

“It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story. 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.”

Obviously this raises some questions. It’ll be curious to see if Wayne’s still been Batman this entire time, or if he abandoned the crusade altogether. I hope that’s not the case, as it feels like a major betrayal of the character. Still, the trailer would lead you to believe that Wayne turns his back on the Bat at some point.

This feels like a bold narrative step for Nolan and Co. to take. In some respects it’s fitting with what will surely be Heath Ledger’s noticeable absence. Eight years seems like a reasonable amount of time for Gothamites to no longer live in fear of the Joker. Whatever Nolan’s reasoning, I have enough trust in him as a filmmaker to believe this time gap will serve some greater narrative purpose -even if it’s not yet evident.

Source: Empire