Yesterday, we revealed two new Empire Magazine covers featuring The Dark Knight Rises' Christian Bale and Tom Hardy in full costume as Batman and Bane. Today, more photos from this issue of Empire have arrived, along with new plot and prologue details from director Christopher Nolan. Check it all out below.

<strong><em>The Dark Knight Rises</em></strong> Bane Empire Cover

<strong><em>The Dark Knight Rises</em></strong> Empire Magazine Photo #1

<strong><em>The Dark Knight Rises</em></strong> Empire Magazine Photo #2

<strong><em>The Dark Knight Rises</em></strong> Empire Magazine Photo #3

We reported last month that a six-minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises will be attached to prints of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. Christopher Nolan has now revealed that the prologue will actually be the first six minutes of the movie, which introduces audiences to Tom Hardy's Bane.

"The Prologue is basically the first six, seven minutes of the film. It's the introduction to Bane and a taste of the rest of the film. With Bane we are looking to give Batman a physical challenge that he hasn't had before. In terms of finishing our story and increasing its scope, we were trying to craft an epic."

The director also said that The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after The Dark Knight.

"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.' So he's an older Bruce Wayne; he's not in a great state. With Bane, we're looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn't had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we're testing Batman both physically as well as mentally."

Costume designer Lindy Hemming also revealed what Bane's mask is really used for.

"He was injured early in his story. He's suffering from pain and he needs gas to survive. He cannot survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jaw line and feed into the thing at the back where there are two canisters of whatever it is...the anesthetic."

Tom Hardy himself also commented on his Bane character, and the brutal physicality he displays.

"He's brutal. Brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."