The entirety of this year has been spent in "The Dark Knight Rises" anticipation. Last year was all about "Inception" and its accompanying conspiracy theories. (COBB'S WEDDING RING IS HIS TOTEM!!! OMG!) But 2011 was nothing but pure excitement for Christopher Nolan's return to Gotham City. Fans waited eagerly for any bit of information that might leak from the set, living from set photo to official snapshot.
With so many now iconic and infamous pictures that made up the "Dark Knight Rises" hype landscape for 2011, this seems like a good time, as part of MTV News' look back at the Best of 2011, to check out the 10 best "Rises" pictures from the year.
10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Mr. Freeze
Back in February, when JGL joined the cast, the speculative theories abounded as to who the actor would be playing. Over at Splash Page, the team put together Photoshops of Gordon-Levitt as different Batman villains, including a believable Mr. Freeze.
9. Empire's Batman Cover
Bane may have won the fan poll to reveal his cover first, but the Batman cover held more surprises for fans. In it, he held what looks like some new tech from his man Lucius Fox. We'll have to wait and see what the weapon ends up doing.
8. Catwoman Revealed
Warner Bros. rushed out the first official picture of Catwoman after on-set photos were set to leak any moment. The picture shocked because of Selina Kyle's new ride, the Batpod. The first photo stirred controversy and led to loads of analysis, including an article by MTV's Brian Phares that led to an Anne Hathway reply.
7. Bane Revealed
It wasn't much of a look, but it was enough to finally get fans excited about the prospect of having Bane as the movie's main villain. Nolan delivered on the same realistic, darker look for the Batman universe.
6. First Poster Released
"Inception 2"? That was the general response to the first, very "Inception"-influenced poster for "The Dark Knight Rises," and that is by no means a bad thing. The poster let everyone know that all is not well in Gotham, and it's time for Batman to finally return.
5. Most Realistic. Fan Poster. Ever.
It probably made you do a double take. It fooled me for sure. The expertly crafted fake perfectly combined the look of Nolan's films and some pictures that looked completely believable.
4. Catwoman Shows Off Her Ears
One of the biggest complaints from the first Catwoman photo was the lack of ears. What's a Catwoman without her ears? Turns out that they were there all along. They were just covering her eyes.
3. The Batwing and the Bomb
Perhaps the most interesting spy photo of the year showed Batman in his trusty Batwing hovering over a device that clearly looks like some sort of bomb. There are so many questions one could ask, but just staring at the pictures reminds you why you're excited for this movie.
2. Bane Remembers Harvey Dent
The cast has been talking about the importance of "Rises" as the conclusion of a trilogy, and Empire provided some evidence toward that notion when it released this photo of Bane holding a picture of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. How does the former District Attorney factor into the story line seven or eight years down the line?
1. Batman and Bane Duke It Out
This photo says it all, doesn't it? This is exactly what we all want to see come next July. Bane is a more physical opponent than Batman's had in the series, and we're finally going to see him go blow to blow with a big, hulking monster.
Honorable Mention: My Set Visit
So maybe I didn't get to see much. Just being on the set and seeing the work that goes into making a movie on this scale solidified "The Dark Knight Rises" as my most anticipated of 2012.
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."