Christopher Nolan's first two Batman movies were not only great films, but they also set a new standard for viral marketing campaigns. With today's launch of "The Dark Knight Rises" website, it appears that they've moved the bar even higher, and revealed the first look at the character everyone's wondering about: Tom Hardy as Bane.
Like all good marketing campaigns, the big payoff was revealed only after fans conducted some sleuthing worthy of the Dark Knight himself, and it all started with the launch of an official website at TheDarkKnightRises.com.
To the best of my knowledge, here's how it all went down. Oh, and don't worry if you can't keep up — it took me a little while to trace the steps, too.
When you go to the aforementioned site (or TheDarkKnightRises.WarnerBros.com), you hear a muffled chant that loops continuously. What are they saying? Some early speculation had the crowds shouting something about The League of Shadows, but over at SuperHeroHype, they apparently have the answer.
One of the site's forum members used an audio editing program to determine that the audio says (in spectrum) "#thefirerises" — which eventually led people to Twitter due to the hashtag-looking text.
Once the secret led everyone to Twitter, it was a natural next step to check out the account at Twitter.com/TheFireRises — which brought us one step closer to solving the mystery. For every account that follows @TheFireRises, a tiny image is added to the mosaic that was intended to eventually reveal the first image of Tom Hardy as Bane at the following site: www.thedarkknightrises.com/image.html
However, some clever fans dove into the source code for the site and uncovered the full, non-mosaic image in all of its glory, giving us our very first peek at how Hardy will appear as Bane!
How's that for some detective work, eh? The Dark Knight might want to team up with fans of this movie franchise next time he's trying to decipher one of the Riddler's schemes!
Keep it locked to MTV Splash Page for more "The Dark Knight Rises" news, interviews, and analysis!