We’ve known for a while that Tom Hardy would be in the next Batman flick, but we didn’t know who he would be. Speculation fuleed by plot rumors put him as Dr Hugo Strange, but an official press release from Warner Bros has eliminated rumors and confirmed another cast member.

Tom Hardy will be Bane, a Batman villain notorious for breaking the caped crusader’s back during the Knightfall plot in the mid-90s. Bane’s power is derived from a super potent steroid-like substance called Venom that amplifies his musculature.

Additionally, Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman. A very popular character for decades in the Batman mythos as both a villain and a hero, its unknown what role she will play in Nolan universe. One thing is for sure: it will likely be better than Halle Berry’s attempt.

Read the full press release:

BURBANK, CA, January 19, 2011 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” She will be starring alongside Christian Bale, who returns in the title role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Christopher Nolan stated, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.”

In addition, Tom Hardy has been set to play Bane. Nolan said, “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”

Nolan will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Nolan will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is slated for release on July 20, 2012. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.