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Talking to Empire Magazine, Nolan addresses the long-running and, to be honest, slightly surreal, rumor that the Joker would appear in the follow-up to The Dark Knight despite Ledger’s tragic death:
There is the ever-lurking question about villains: who will The Dark Knight tussle with this time… Could it possibly be a returning (and recast) Joker, pulling strings from Arkham, Lecter-style, Empire wonders?
“No”, says Nolan emphatically and unhesitatingly. He resists elaborating simply because, quite understandably, he says, “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it”.
It’s be churlish to say “Good,” wouldn’t it? And yet, good. Ledger’s performance was amazing, and the idea of somehow artificially extending that just seems… very wrong, somehow.