Nolan to remove ‘Knight’ shroud

LOS ANGELES – Filmmaker Christopher Nolan is finally ready to remove the shroud from his much-anticipated final “Batman” movie.

While the director’s “The Dark Knight Rises” isn’t due in theaters until July 20, fans will be reunited with Bruce Wayne — and rival Bane — via a prologue hitting IMAX screens Dec. 21, Empire magazine reported Monday.

Nolan told the British film magazine that the prologue is “basically the first six, seven minutes of the film” and will serve as “an introduction to Bane, and a taste of the rest of the film.”

Nolan also told Empire that “The Dark Knight Rises” would be set eight years after its predecessor.

Christian Bale’s hero is “an older Bruce Wayne; he’s not in a great state,” Nolan said. “Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after ’The Dark Knight.”’

The filmmaker also discussed the movie’s villain.

“With Bane, we’re looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn’t had before,” Nolan added. “With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally.”

The “Dark Knight Rises” prologue will be screened in advance of Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“ and be rated PG-13.

This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. has whetted Batman fans’ appetites in this fashion.

In December 2007, the prologue to “The Dark Knight” was shown along with some IMAX screenings of the sci-fi film “I Am Legend.”