The seventh Batman movie since 1989 and the third starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader, The Dark Knight Rises, is currently in production and scheduled for release July 20, 2012, the week after next year’s San Diego Comic-Con, which will certainly mean a lot of last minute hype and cast appearances at the show.  With an entire year to wait, Warner Brothers just released an advanced shot of the sixth actress to play Catwoman, Anne Hathaway, in the new catsuit.  She looks good so far, and here is a closer look at her goggles, frequently seen worn in the comic books by the character:

Christopher Nolan will direct this sequel to The Dark Knight, the film that won Heath Ledger a posthumous Academy Award for best supporting actor for portraying the most psychotic look at the Joker to date.

Christian Bale will don an updated Batsuit, and will rejoin much of the principal cast, including Sir Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.  Unfortunately, rumors that Aaron Eckhart might reprise his role as Harvey Dent/Two-Face did not pan out.  The original Batman with Michael Keaton featured Billy Dee Williams (Empire Strikes Back) as Harvey Dent, and Batman Forever featured Tommy Lee Jones in the role.  Eckhart’s role seemed to possibly pave the way for another film but the production confirmed Dent will stay dead for this movie.  Marion Cotillard will also appear in this sequel.

Earlier the studio revealed this creepy photo of Tom Hardy (Star Trek Nemesis, Layer Cake, Inception), playing the larger than life villain Bane:

It is difficult from the Hathaway photo to learn much about the new Catwoman, other than the suit seems practical, and without the cheesy glossy vinyl used with Michelle Pfeiffer, without the bizarre almost steampunk look of Jim Lee’s more modern incarnation in his successful Hush storyline, and without the cat ears of the old Catwoman comic book series.  The costume doesn’t seem to scream out “feline” so it will be interesting to see how the cat mythos is revealed.  More of her costume can be seen in other photos released from production–each of Hathaway’s stunt woman riding the Batcycle downstairs in some type of firefight:

This is the first time since Michelle Pfeiffer played the character in Batman Returns that audiences will see Selina Kyle aka Catwoman in the Batman film franchise.  Other actresses to portray Catwoman over the decades in movies and TV include: Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Halle Berry.

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