There aren't too many more iconic superhero movie series' than Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. In the space of seven years and three movies (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) managed to reinvent a franchise that had previously been something of a joke, turning it into a critical and commercial juggernaut that grossed almost $2.5 billion worldwide and infused itself into the wider cultural consciousness.
As a result, it can seem a little daunting to imagine that we could have seen any other version of the story than the one the movies showed us - Nolan's Batman movies are, surely, the definitive versions of that particular slice of Bat-mythos.
And yet, as an intrepid Tumblr user, ThatguyfromRotterdam, recently pointed out, there is another way the series could have ended.
A way in which The Dark Knight Rises could have become a very different movie.
A Way in Which Batman and Bane...Could Have Become Friends
The key to such a strange and seemingly impractical thought?
A touching moment between Tom Hardy and Christian Bale - Bane and Batman themselves. It came during a particularly tough day of shooting on Manhattan's Wall Street. The two actors were going toe to toe, as were their characters, and things were getting...difficult.
As Tom Hardy put it, in the movie's production notes:
"It was the first time I ever heard Christian say he was tired...I was watching him for however many months getting beaten up and wet and cold, and he never said anything. Inside, I was dying, but I was thinking, ‘This can’t bother me because he’s not bothered.’"
Then, though, everything changed...
"But on Wall Street, he just turned and said, ‘You know what? I’m exhausted.’ I said, ‘Me too.’"
And then? Well, as Bale revealed:
“We stopped the fight and started hugging each other.”
And, so, as our intrepid Imgur-er points out, we could have had a very different ending to the movie.
One in which, instead of fighting one another to the death, Bane and Batman simply stopped fighting, and hugged it the hell out.
Sure, it might not have made a whole lot of narrative sense, and sure, it probably would have pissed us all off at the time, but, honestly, take a look at this picture, and tell me that there isn't a small part of you that wishes the movie had ended with this image...