Really, what did you expect? On the whole, I can’t believe the amount of people online who actually believed this one. First of all the rumor came from an ‘un-named source’ which is typically a journalists first clue that this is ridiculous. Secondly, Nolan has made adamant statements in the past that the Joker will not be returning in any form in the third film.
Warner Bros. reps were pretty quick to say “It’s just not real,” when asked about the rumor. So, more than likely, this is stemming from Nolan and Goyer’s original plan from several years back, to have the Joker come back in the third movie. Since then they’ve dropped that plot and are still working on the script.
With Nolan officially confirming in a recent EW interview that this will in fact be his last Batman film, I’m sure many fans will be saddened to find this rumor debunked. Personally, I was torn about it, when I first caught wind of the rumor. I would have loved to see the Joker again, especially with Ledger not being replaced, as that would have been able to garner even more continuity. However, I’m just not sure how ‘right’ it would feel. I mean, they resurrected Marlon Brando to great effect in Superman Returns; making it feel more like an homage than a cheap gimmick. So who knows? It could have worked, but I think fan backlash would have been pretty noticeable if this was their plan.
Either way, that’s one more rumor down….a ridiculous amount to go.