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New posters released for The Dark Knight Rises give a glimpse of the scale of director Christopher Nolan's final chapter in the Batman trilogy.

The film, starring Christian Bale as Batman and Tom Hardy as the steroid-fuelled terrorist Bane, looks set to be the darkest in the acclaimed series, taking its cues from the popular Knightfall comic storyline.

Nolan's fans, who have been spoilt throughout the series with imaginative viral marketing strategies, voiced their disappointment over a much anticipated "new" poster released earlier this week.

The new images show the scale of the conflict that Batman will face in the film, as Bane releases Gotham City's prison population and seeks to take over. The posters suggest that a battle for the streets will ensue.

Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) is also seen joining the fray, while riding the Batbike, which would suggest that she may be more of an ally to Batman, rather than another villain.

Series favourites Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon) will all return. Joseph Gordon Levitt and Marion Cotillard, both of whom worked with Nolan on Inception, join the cast.

The Dark Knight Rises will be released on 20 July.