And here… we… go!

Imagining a "Dark Knight" movie without Heath Ledger's Joker still hanging about was close to impossible a year ago today, but with the just-released "Dark Knight Rises" trailer, any and all concerns that Christopher Nolan's final dance with the bat couldn't possibly top his previous efforts should be put to rest. Keep reading for all of the details.

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Thor

If you're worried about "Thor 2" following the abrupt departure of director Patty Jenkins, you're not alone. The "Monster" director left the Marvel Studios project rather suddenly after many people involved with the project — including former director Kenneth Branagh and still-on-board actor Tom Hiddleston — sang the filmmaker's praises, leaving many onlookers to wonder exactly what went wrong.

According to a new report in The Hollywood Reporter, fans aren't the only ones left scratching their heads. THR reports that the "Thor" franchise's lead actress, Oscar-winner Natalie Portman, is "deeply upset" about losing Jenkins because she was partially responsible for bringing Jenkins on board in the first place.

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Dark Knight

"The Dark Knight Rises" is the last Batman movie Christopher Nolan will ever direct. But even though it's the filmmaker's decision, leaving Gotham City behind hasn't been without its fair share of bittersweetness.

“I tend not to be too emotional on the set, I find that doesn’t help me do my job,” Nolan said in an interview with Hero Complex. “But you definitely get a little lump in your throat thinking that, 'OK, this is going to be the last time we’re going to be doing this.' It’s been quite a journey. Hopefully, reflecting that journey — by all of us who made the films — in the three films together will make it so they have a real span to them, some real heft.”

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Avengers

Marvel Studios has done a fantastic job building up to "The Avengers" with efforts like "Iron Man," "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on the big-screen. And if you thought the House of Ideas would neglect a non-movie approach to what's surely their all-time biggest cinematic endeavor, think again.

Over at Marvel.com comes news that an official "Avengers" movie prelude is on its way in comic book form, courtesy of writers Chris Yost and Eric Pearson and artists Luke Ross, Daniel HDR and Geral Parel. Keep on reading for more details on the comic from the good folks at Marvel.

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Spider-Man

"The Amazing Spider-Man" swings into theaters next July, and when it does, Peter Parker won't be locking lips with Mary Jane Watson—largely because, well, Mary Jane won't be in the movie! Instead, Emma Stone is appearing as Gwen Stacy, Peter's first love.

"I just thought her story was epic,” Stone told The Vancouver Sun of why she wanted to play the character. “When you hear the story of Gwen Stacy for the first time, I’m sure, at any age, it floors you."

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Dark Knight Rises

The biggest surprise about "The Dark Knight Rises" for me, and I suspect for many fans, is the fact that the movie takes place eight years after the conclusion of "The Dark Knight." That's a long, deliberate stretch of time between the Joker's assault on Gotham City and Bane's impending strike. The reasons behind the time jump are certainly murky now, but Christopher Nolan promises that the leap will be much more easily explained once "Rises," er, rises in theaters.

"It will make a lot more sense to people when they see the film," Nolan told Hero Complex of the time jump. "But it’s not a great mystery — it’s the jumping-off point for the film — but it’s hard for me to articulate it. I think the mood at the beginning of the film will make a lot of sense."

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Doom

"Justice League" fans, prepare to meet your "Doom."

Warner Bros. Home Video have announced that "Justice League: Doom," the next movie in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line that already includes hits like "Batman: Year One" and "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse," is arriving in a variety of formats (including Blu-Ray, On Demand and for Download) on February 28, 2012.

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Bane

"Dark Knight Rises" director Christopher Nolan made an interesting choice in selecting Bane, a relatively lesser-known Batman villain, as the main antagonist for his final trip to Gotham City. But what may have come as a surprise to onlookers was a no-brainer to Nolan and his team.

"With Bane, the physicality is the thing," Nolan said in a new interview with The Los Angeles Times. "With a good villain you need an archetype, you know, you need the extreme of some type of villainy. The Joker is obviously a particular archetype of diabolical, chaotic anarchy and has a devilish sense of humor. Bane, to me, is something we haven’t dealt with in the films. We wanted to do something very different in this film."

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Bane

Reactions to Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" prologue, which introduces the back-breaking Bane through a pulse-pounding action sequence, have been overwhelmingly positive, except for one not-so-little detail: Bane's voice.

A large portion of folks who've already seen the prologue agree that Bane's dialogue can be difficult to understand, almost impossible at points, due to the combination of actor Tom Hardy's accent and the character's mask. Nolan himself admitted to Heat Vision that there will be points where viewers might not understand Bane's words due to the accent-mask combo, though he insisted that additional dialogue recording will assist the finished product.

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Men in Black

"Men in Black 3" rolled out a headache-inducing poster late last month, not exactly the most encouraging sign based on some of the troubling reports already floating about the long awaited sci-fi sequel. But the new trailer that just dropped today suggests that the MIB agency is back and, quite possibly, better than ever.

Check out the trailer past the jump!

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Cover Artist

Splash Page welcomes Ed Tadem to our cover artist family (our custom-designed theme up top). Currently working on the forthcoming "Avengers" animated series, Tadem's work can also be seen in the "Jackie Karma" issues of Image's "'76," and in "Pop Gun, Volume 1." Ed Tadem can be found online at EdTadem.com.
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