Some fresh Chris Nolan commentary about The Dark Knight Rises has appeared in a currently-print-only issue of Empire. Details have been provided by Heisenberg, thej0ker, Zorak (what is that, a law firm?). Nolan’s big reveal is that the DKR story picks up eight years after The Dark Knight — i.e., Christian Bale‘s Bruce Wayne in his early 40s?

“It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story,” Nolan comments. “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 [and] 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.”

The unnamed Empire interviewer also speaks to Tom Hardy, who surprisingly if not shockingly describes Bane as “brutal…a big dude who’s incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and result-oriented fighting style.” As opposed to other brute beasts who regard fighting as an existential “whatever” exercise in ennui?

“It’s not about fighting — it’s about carnage,” Hardy explains. “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’s a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action.”

Costume designer Lindy Hemming also talks about Bane’s mask…oooh, the mask! Bane is “injured early in his story,” she says. “He’s suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can’t survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two cannisters.”

Nolan explains that the DKR prologue that will be shown with Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol in IMAX “is basically the first six, seven minutes of the film. It’s an introduction to Bane, and a taste of the rest of the film.”