There's a part in The Dark Knight Rises that's stumped me, where it sounds like Bane's voice is suddenly and significantly changed -- beyond his normal post-production mask-speak. It sticks out so starkly, I can't help but feel that it was intentional, for effect.

When I saw it in theaters, I initially thought it was perhaps an allusion to the "spirit" of Ra's speaking through Bane, or similarly, that perhaps it was the League of Shadows as a whole -- a legion of spirits speaking through the League of Shadows-"incarnate".

After the movie, when discovering that others hadn't heard or noticed it, I wondered if it was just coincidental, or perhaps just some fluctuation or mismatch of Bane's voice processing in post-production.

Where it is:

In the underground sewer scene, when Bane and Batman are fighting, listen to Bane's lines right after Batman throws the smoke bombs in front of Bane.

BANE: "Theatricality and deception, powerful agents to the uninitiated."

BANE: "...But we are initiated, aren't we, Bruce?"

BANE (voice change): "Members of the League of Shadows. And you betrayed us."* (emphasis mine)

BATMAN: "..."Us"? You were excommunicated... by a gang of psychopaths." (*See EDIT)

BANE: "I am the League of Shadows..." (switches to normal voice) "And I'm here to fulfill Ra's Al Ghul's destiny!"

++ The YouTube clip is no longer available ++

It sounds so distinct to me, it sounds like a different actor's voice entirely.

Batman calls out Bane on his "altered"-voice statement where Bane infers that he's still in full fellowship with the League of Shadows. This could lend credence to Bane actually changing his voice as if it were the League speaking through him, like a legion, or as a spokesperson.

This could be an intentional alteration by Bane himself, or it could perhaps be an "audience-only" subtext or view -- subtly foreshadowing the coming resurgence and "reincarnation" of the League of Shadows through both Ra's' appearance and Talia's (eventual) unmasking.

It definitely doesn't sound like Ra's' voice (Liam Neeson), though, which could've made plausible sense (plot-wise) as a foreshadowing or reminder of Ra's' "eternal" nature. Although this voice change could similarly be alluding or foreshadowing to a wider scale of the League of Shadows as a whole (if intentional, of course).

Any ideas?


After rereading and rewatching the scene, it's now my opinion that the voice change here very likely is intentional, whether in a "conscious" or "subconscious" theatrical vein.

I lean toward it being a subtle, subconscious form of directorial foreshadowing, where it's not intended for the audience to be consciously aware of or focused on it -- much like the similar "subconscious" foreshadowing of when we first see Miranda and Bruce meet (at the charity ball) --

Miranda enters the scene covering her face with a masquerade mask (alluding/foreshadowing her deception as "Talia"), as Bruce asks her, "Miss Tate, ...isn't it?" (she doesn't answer him, only puts down the mask):

Talia's Foreshadowing

What makes Bane's voice change seem too unlikely to be coincidental is that the pairing of the voice change coincides with the precise instance of his dialog where he no longer refers to himself as a singular individual, but rather, as multiple people, a group --

"Members of the League of Shadows.... you betrayed us"

And even Batman doesn't let this slip past unnoticed, calling Bane out on it --

"...'Us'? You were excommunicated..."

...Which Bane then responds by reversing his reference of himself as a singular individual rather than many -- while also coinciding with the "altered" voice suddenly disappearing into the shadows.

Hence, I think I'll put my money on this being a subtle, "unconscious" foreshadowing for the audience that the League of Shadows is still alive, that it's not just Bane acting solo.

Nevertheless, I'm going to try to reach out to someone involved in the production process, in the hopes of shedding some definitive light on this -- (just for fun, of course) :) I'll post back any information.

  • 3
    At one point they had to re-dub the whole movie due to how hard it was to understand him, which was a complaint from the first 8 min that was released early. I wonder if its an artefact of that
    – Tablemaker
    Mar 13, 2013 at 18:54
  • @TylerShads you raised a valid point. It could be used as an answer.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Mar 13, 2013 at 18:59
  • 2
    possible duplicate of Was Bane's dialogue spoken during filming or dubbed in during post?
    – user209
    Mar 13, 2013 at 19:28
  • While it didn't occur to me earlier, in this clip I can really notice this change of voice. Though I still think this change might be too small to be significant or more than coincidence. Interresting question, though, especially when seen with respect to the words he speaks.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:43
  • interesting thoughts about the voice change, but, IMHO I think it's because of the re-dub Tyler informed us about. If it was intentional they would most likely have emphasized it visually somehow. Either with a close up, or special lighting or something.. And also, while the voice change is noticeable, it's not that big of a change, and it's not changed in the way I would've expected it to be if it actually was intentional
    – Tom
    May 4, 2013 at 22:04

4 Answers 4


I think that the voice change was more about drama and theatralics as Bane often used them. E.g. When Bruce is in the pit, Bane says "when gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die...".

While we could speculate what emotion spectrum the voice change signified, Bane's voice itself was very unique, and that makes it difficult to try and guess such a thing.

When Bruce calls them all a gang of psychopaths, Bane is clearly agitated and proceeds to beat up Bruce. So I think that The League of Shadows is something that entices pride for him. So he says it in (maybe) a prideful tone - that they both are members of the League, and above all the theatralics and deceptions that Batman was using to distract Bane.

Also, since Bane holds the League very close to himself, he harbored a particular resentment towards Bruce for shunning the League. Clear examples of this resentment can be seen when Bruce insults the League, and also when in spite of Talia asking Bane to stop until the Bomb explodes, Bane proceeds to kill Bruce. Hence more so the reason to elevate the League in front of Bruce.


I wondered that same thing; but I think Bane did that purposefully since he actually probably had some resentment toward Bruce Wayne betraying all that Bane loved (the League of Shadows, not Talia). He was excommunicated and couldn't be one of them while Bruce had all the chances in the world to lead the League but simply walked away. Bane's voice could have just been agitated or something...

Though your idea is quite convincing.


It, definitely, is an intentional change, to illustrate an added depth to the villain.

In the Dark Knight trilogy, and (more specifically) in the last two films of the series, we see the villain, doing villain things, blowing stuff up and causing mayhem. But whenever the villain is speaking on their motivations or even the philosophy of their evil or cause thereof, there is a significant change in tone, exhibited on a physical level, emotional as well as tonal voice change. Almost a physical transformation of sorts to illustrate an added depth to the character.

These same voice changes are seen in the scenes with the joker in The Dark Knight. In the interrogation scene, the Joker changes his voice while talking to Batman revealing truths and similarities between them. The same thing happens when he visits Harvey in the hospital, and again when Bane speaks to Batman in the sewers, also revealing truths and similarities between them.

When I saw the Joker do it the The Dark Knight, I viewed it as a peek, or glimpse, into hidden, deeper and darker parts of their mind. The Joker and Bane, even Ras al Ghul wore a mask (Ras did it by hidng his identity. it wasn't a physical mask or make up, but a mask just the same) and beneath the mask was a whole different and deeper part of themselves, and we saw peeks of it during those moments.

  • Very interesting. Makes me want to rewatch the films, watching for this. Thanks for sharing! Feb 19, 2017 at 2:15

I think you are looking too deep into it. It's definitely not intentional. Now that you have told me there is a voice change, I keep hearing it, which is pretty freaky. I watched the movie twice in the theatre with digital surround and I didn't think it was out of place. I don't think it has anything to do with the plot or contains any subtext but that's just me.

  • 3
    Why the downvote?
    – user4431
    May 30, 2013 at 7:54
  • I wasn't the one casting the vote, but, I'm sure it's because your answer doesn't cover anything that we haven't already discussed (or, are discussing) in the comments to the initial post.
    – Tom
    Jun 22, 2013 at 22:15

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