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What The Final Days On The Set Of The Dark Knight Rises Were Like

After the record-breaking, critically acclaimed success of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Batman fans were thrilled to learn Christopher Nolan would be returning to helm a third entry in the superhero franchise, The Dark Knight Rises.

From the start of production, Nolan had determined that this would be his final movie about the Caped Crusader, and the filmmaker's team set about crafting a suitably epic conclusion for Batman, the franchise's many important side characters, and the city of Gotham itself that they had built up in the last two movies. The intention was to end the series on a high note rather than drag it on indefinitely.

The shoot for The Dark Knight Rises began in May 2011 and concluded in November the same year. Since this was the third entry in the series, Nolan's film crew was already well aware of the logistics of what needed to be done to bring the city of Gotham alive once again. This was going to be the most ambitious entry in the series so far, shooting in far-flung locations which included Glasgow, U.K., and Jodhpur, India, and the fates were not always on the side of the cast and crew. Let's take a look at what went into the last days of filming the epic conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy.

Filming The Dark Knight Rises in India got derailed by Osama bin Laden

The most mysterious location that features in The Dark Knight Rises is the so-called "pit," a kind of jail in which Bane was said to have been born and raised, and which Alfred describes as "a prison in a more ancient part of the world... where men are thrown to suffer and die." It is the same place where a broken Bruce Wayne is brought to live out the rest of his days after his initial encounter with Bane ends with a broken back.

In reality, the area surrounding the "pit" was filmed in Jodhpur, India, for which Christopher Nolan arrived in the country with a small portion of his cast and crew for a few days of filming. Ultimately, only a few brief shots for the movie were filmed in India, even though the original plan had been for something more comprehensive. All because of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

In the book The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy (via The Geek Twins), one of the producers of The Dark Knight Rises reveals that in the days leading up to the planned shoot in Jodhpur, American military forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, which shares a border with India. According to the producer, "the location was near an airbase. And we'd already had a lot of wrangling over permission to fly helicopters, which we'd wanted to use to shoot a big, aerial establishing shot of that fantastic terrain. But after Osama bin Laden was killed and the whole world was suddenly on high alert, we were denied that permission. There were a lot of headaches there, but it was all well worth it for the production value that we got."

Bruce Wayne showed up for his own funeral

One of the final scenes in The Dark Knight Rises features a funeral for an apparently deceased Bruce Wayne, where Alfred bids a tearful goodbye to his longtime employer and surrogate son. Filming that scene was a matter of great secrecy, and Christopher Nolan wanted to ensure no snooping reporters would manage to record anything on set that could spill the beans regarding Bruce's death.

To fool everyone who was not part of the cast and crew, Nolan had the tombstone over Bruce Wayne's grave read the name "Miranda Tate," which was later digitally altered to read "Bruce Wayne" in post-production. And that isn't all — in order to give further credence to the idea that this was someone else's funeral, Nolan put Christian Bale's name on the day's call sheet. The actor even showed up on set in his Bruce Wayne persona for a few shots, just in case any nearby gossipmongers wondered where the film's main character was during such an important scene.

Christopher Nolan got emotional over filming the last scenes of The Dark Knight Rises

Over an immensely successful career, Christopher Nolan has devoted years of time and energy to his Dark Knight trilogy of films. Although Warner Bros. tried hard to convince him to make a fourth movie in the series, Nolan was quite firm that he wanted The Dark Knight Rises to be the last movie he makes for the franchise as a meaningful culmination to the complex world of The Dark Knight saga.

Because of this attitude, Nolan knew full well that The Dark Knight Rises would be the final time that he would be working with that particular set of actors and film crew to bring the final adventure of their take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen. And the knowledge made him feel quite emotional, as Nolan explained in an interview with the Los Angeles Times (via Metro.co.uk), "I tend not to be too emotional on set, I find that doesn't help me do my job. But you definitely get a little lump in your throat thinking that this is going to be the last time we'll be doing this. It's been quite a journey."

Bane's voice had to be redubbed

In The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy had the unenviable task of following up the Oscar-winning performance of Heath Ledger's Joker with his own take on the brutal and cunning supervillain Bane. Hardy rose to the challenge, crafting a hulking onscreen persona as the masked villain who could terrify those around him with his words as well as his presence.

Unfortunately, a large part of the unique vocal qualities that Hardy brought to Bane were initially lost on the audience because of the difficulty that they had understanding his lines through the character's cumbersome face mask. During the film's IMAX prologue preview in theaters, people complained that Bane's words were coming out too garbled to be decipherable.

While the team behind the film assured fans that they would understand why Bane talks this way once they saw the whole product, behind the scenes, the studio was already taking steps to address the issue. The result was a significant redubbing of Bane's dialogue, which become apparent when you compare his lines from the IMAX preview screening to the version of the film that was released in theaters.

Tom Hardy accidentally punched the wrong actors as Bane

The events of The Dark Knight Rises culminate in an epic clash between Batman and the Gotham City police officers versus Bane and his army of terrorists. The scene is shot in the manner of a revolutionary uprising, with hundreds of extras dressed as cops and terrorists fighting it out while Batman and Bane make a beeline for each other to settle things once and for all.

Naturally, with so many moving pieces involved, the actual logistics of shooting the climactic battle turned out to be quite messy. So much so that Tom Hardy ended up accidentally hitting some unsuspecting extras, as the actor explained in The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy (via The Geek Twins). "Bane is looking for Batman, and then comes down the stairs, has six or seven contacts with police officers, and faces off with Batman to beat him up," he recalled. "And Batman is whaling through the mercenaries to get to Bane and beat him up. When we shot it the first time, there were so many police officers in the scene that I didn't know which seven I was supposed to hit! So I was just hitting anybody."

The confusion didn't end there, as Hardy also had a difficult time locating Batman amongst the struggling masses. According to the actor, the complicated battle scene had to be reshot a few times before the actors finally got the hang of their individual positions and proximity to each other.

Christian Bale knew the final days on set were the end of his Batman era

The last days on set for The Dark Knight Rises were also the last time Christian Bale would ever have to bulk up in order to don the Batman armor, or step in front of the camera as Bruce Wayne. And the actor was highly aware of that fact, considering it the end of an era of Batman films.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net in November 2011, Bale mentioned wrapping up The Dark Knight Rises a few days previously, adding that it would be "the last time I'm taking that cowl [Batman hood] off. I believe that the whole production wrapped yesterday, so it's all done. Everything's finished. It's me and Chris — that will be the end of that Batman era."

Of course, despite Nolan's exit from the franchise, Warner Bros. was eager to continue the films, and a big part of that plan was to retain Bale in the role of Batman. In 2019, the actor revealed to the Toronto Sun that he made the conscious decision to leave behind the Dark Knight series after Nolan walked away, explaining, "When they inevitably came to us and said, 'How about a No. 4?' I said, 'No. We have to stick to Chris' dream, which was always to, hopefully, do a trilogy... That's why we, well Chris, stepped away. After that I was informed my services were no longer required.'"