After witnessing and worshiping the late Heath Ledger‘s magnificent joker in The Dark Knight, Tom Hardy‘s incoherent Bane stood no chance of captivating us to the same extent. Ledger was simply too magnificent an act to follow.
Still, the talented British actor did his best to convey a troubled villain in The Dark Knight Rises — at least as far as his constricting face mask allowed. If only there was a scene in which we were able to better understand how Bane became the monstrous being he is (even if there is absolutely zero space to add any other plot points in TDKR’s tightly packed two-and-a-half-hour run time). But if there had been some explanation of Bane’s painful past, perhaps his rash, seemingly senseless actions could have held more weight. And as it turns out, such a scene did exist, it just never made it into the final cut.
The TDKR costume designer, Lindy Hemming, spoke to GQ (via Vulture) about her work on the film, including the genesis of Bane’s terrifying get-up. Hemming hasn’t yet seen the film and assumed the scene in question, in which a young Bane is injured and later publicly chained and taunted while wearing his first, “primitive” version of the infamous face mask, made it in…. the other thing that you should have seen during that sequence is him being injured in his youth. So one of the fundamental things about his costume is that he has this scar from the back injury. Even if he hasn’t got the bulletproof vest on, he still has to wear the waist belt and the braces. In that scene in the prison, where he’s learning to fight the same way Batman learned to fight, he’s wearing an early version of his waist belt. It’s showing support, but it’s not the finished one he eventually wears. He’s also wearing an early version of his gas mask, all glued together … Well, if you look at the film, unless they’ve cut it—and I’m sure they haven’t—there’s a whole early section for Tom Hardy where he’s fighting and being taunted by people. He’s got chains on him, and he’s standing on a wooden thing while people are attacking him. And in that scene, he’s wearing a much more ragged, primitive version of the mask.Hemming also added that Christopher Nolan had filmed a scene about the origins of the Bane mask as well. Unfortunately, and likely thanks to the numerous, swirling plot points throughout TDKR, Bane’s potentially heart-breaking upbringing was left to be cast only through his own labored speech right before he clobbers our hero — timing that doesn’t exactly fall in the character’s favor. If the potentially heart-breaking scene had been a part of the film, it’s possible that Bane could have been a far more troubled, complicated man than the wily, furious villain we see pulverizing the Batman and his beloved Gotham.
Would have enjoyed the film more if Bane had a more robust back story?