No one cared who you were until you put on the mask. Bane's mask, that is. As lockdown restrictions ease up and people travel outdoors, several local governments, such as in Los Angeles, have made it mandatory for people to wear masks. And as reported by various costume stores, the mask used by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises is proving quite popular among fans.

Christopher Nolan's third film in the Dark Knight trilogy saw Tom Hardy take on the role of the hulking monster Bane, an excommunicated member of The League of Shadows who comes to Gotham to break Batman and lay waste to the city.

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Tom Hardy's portrayal of the villain was a marked departure from the comics, eschewing the character's Latin roots and full-face mask that supplies the steroid called venom to his body in favor of a British accent and a partial face mask that supplied some form of anesthetic to relieve the constant pain Bane experiences.

While the Batman villain mask looks completely badass, especially when coupled with Hardy's formidable screen presence, it does not actually provide any protection against germs in the atmosphere. That is why the military has had to come out specifically to call out people who are using Bane, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter, and Jason Voorhees masks, and requesting them to use proper cloth masks or medically-certified masks instead.

It is understandable that fans would want to look like their favorite characters if forced to wear masks, but the purpose of the devices is to prevent infection, not get you ready for Halloween. With medical shops in short supply in several areas, many citizens are falling back on homemade cloth face masks, that can be cleaned and reused. It should be noted that face masks alone are not enough to avoid infection, but need to be coupled with regular hand washing and avoiding touching the face with your hands.

The fact that Tom Hardy played Bane only for one movie, and with that single performance was able to redefine the character speaks to how much his take on the character resonated with audiences. The recent animation hit show Harley Quinn uses an approximation of Hardy's accent for Bane's cartoon counterpart, while the show Gotham also featured a Bane who was similar in looks and backstory to the one we got to see in The Dark Knight Rises.

With the recent surge in popularity of the character, there are rumors that Warner Bros. is planning to bring Bane back to the big screen, possibly with James Gunn's upcoming The Suicide Squad, and the actor fans want to see put a new spin on the character is Gunn's old cohort and Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista.

Photos taken the set of the film have hinted that some of the action takes place in a fictional land used in DC Comics known as Santa Prisca, where exists the jail called Pena Duro, where Bane is from. We may very well get to see the most comic-accurate version of the character yet, once The Suicide Squad hits theaters. This news was first reported at The Hollywood Reporter. The masks are available at Stripes.

Neeraj Chand