Despite what Christopher Nolan has said publicly, I have no doubt that Heath Ledger’s Joker would’ve been in The Dark Knight Rises if Ledger had still been alive. Ledger’s sister, Kate Ledger, backed up that theory in an interview with Australian website news.com.au last year while promoting the documentary I Am Heath Ledger.
“I spoke to him the night before (he died) and we were laughing and joking,” Ledger said. “He was so proud of what he had done in Batman. And I know he had plans for another Batman. He loved working with Chris Nolan and Christian Bale and Gary Oldman. He just had the best time ever doing that film.
“When he came home at Christmas he couldn’t wait to tell us all about it and he was doing the voice and laughing, showing me all the rushes. We had a great time.”
Whatever plans Nolan had for The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises were scrapped after Ledger’s death, which was obviously the right call. Recasting someone else in the role for a sequel to The Dark Knight wouldn’t have been the same.