The notion of Christopher Nolan incorporating unused footage of Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker from The Dark Knight in The Dark Knight Rises is not a new one. In fact, we revealed this information way back in October of 2008. Its been known for a long time that there were deleted scenes Nolan had saved for possible later use. The beloved villain is left dangling at the end of a rope during his climactic parting scene in The Dark Knight, and the character is in no way dead.
The Joker may return in The Dark Knight Rises
As production ramps up, so are new rumors that The Joker may actually be making an appearance in The Dark Knight Rises via this old footage and a little CGI manipulation. Director Christopher Nolan is keeping mum about this potential spoiler, and he refused to comment on this particular subject in a recent interview. Around the time of The Dark Knight's release, Nolan insisted that Heath Ledger wouldn't be making an appearance in the final chapter of his Batman trilogy, CGI or not. Maybe it was too close to the death of Ledger at the time of that decision, or Nolan simply wanted to keep it a secret and make it a surprise for the fans.
Now, sources close to the production team responsible for creating Clu 2.0 in Tron: Legacy, which enabled Jeff Bridges to play a younger version of himself, are saying that The Dark Knight Rises will pay a fitting tribute to Ledger's Oscar winning performance utilizing a mix of excised footage and new motion capture technology employing a look-a-like double. Don't expect a long exchange between Batman and the Joker, though. Heath Ledger's screen time might be on par with Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator Salvation cameo, which was completely animated and only lasted for a few minutes.
Showbiz Spy has new information on this old story, which has made many fans frown in the past. Their source states, "The idea is to use these fragments of cut scenes and use CGI to have The Joker appear one last time. Chris wants some continuity between movies and for the franchise to pay tribute to Heath and his portrayal of the Joker. It would only be a fleeting moment in the movie and would only be included with the full consent of Heath's family."
Is this right? Is this wrong? Is this what the fans want to see? It really depends on how much saved footage there truly is, and how much of it will be spooky CGI Heath as opposed to real Heath. It seems enough time has passed since the actor's death for this subject to not be such a sensitive issue.
The Dark Knight Rises was released July 20th, 2012 and stars Tom Hardy, Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan.