MTV News recently sat down with Bruce Wayne himself, Christian Bale, to get his take on Hardy joining the cast, and whether this truly is the last film in Bale and Nolan's franchise.
"Sounds good," Bale told MTV News when asked if he was excited about facing off against Hardy. "I liked him in 'Inception' and I did see 'Bronson' as well. He seems like he's a balls-out actor."
It should be noted that it's still uncertain whether Hardy will be playing a villain in the film, despite various rumors pegging him as Hugo Strange, Hush, or other DC bad guys.
Asked whether the next film will indeed be his last, Bale seemed fairly sure that this will be his final turn as Bruce Wayne — though it will all depend on Nolan's plans in the end.
"I think so. That's up to Chris," he said. "That was always what the discussion was. But you know, if Chris says, 'I see another story here,' then we'll be up for it. But in my mind, I'm expecting this will be it."
Joking that it might be best to wait 20 years and come back for an adaptation of Frank Miller's classic Batman tale "The Dark Knight Returns," Bale said it "would not be bad" to play the older, grizzled version of Gotham's protector.
Finally, Bale told MTV News he believes "The Dark Knight Rises" will begin shooting in May, though he's not sure what — if anything — he'll be working on between now and then.