By Darren Franich
December 12, 2011 at 04:30 PM EST

On the rare occasions when blockbuster demi-god Christopher Nolan emerges from his bleak dream-cave to unveil non-revelatory revelations about next year’s The Dark Knight Rises, the director has worked overtime to explain that Rises will be a genuine conclusion to his version of the Batman mythos. A new poster for the film makes that idea explicit. Batman’s mask lies on the ground, broken. In the background, we can see apparently unintelligible villain Bane walking away. The tagline is simple: “The Legend Ends.” It’s an interesting, uncompromising sales pitch — it’ll be intriguing to see how Rises plays in the same summer as the candy-colored superhero bromance The Avengers. It also adds more fuel to the main question hovering over Rises: Could they actually kill off Batman? Check out the full poster below:

Of course, it’s also entirely possible that the altercation we’re seeing represented here happens early in the movie, and Bruce Wayne spends the film’s second act doing a Rocky IV montage to get back into shape, before putting on a ridiculous Nintendo costume and challening Bane to a grudge match. Somehow I doubt it, though.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:

Christopher Nolan on the ‘Dark Knight Rises’ prologue

Christian Bale on ‘The Dark Knight Rises’: He’s done with Batman, and he really really means it

‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Watch the official teaser here!