Originally Posted by Symbiotic
I see Bane referring to him as "the clown" or "the sideshow act", etc.
Something along this line. A literal name-drop wouldn't be typical of Chris Nolan as he is far more subtle, usually doing things of this nature with a wink and a nod to those who have been following along.
To address the topic in general, while I am sure that there will be no Joker in TDKR, I can understand completely why it's a hard thing to accept, even going so far as to outright deny the word that came straight from Chris Nolan's mouth.
Speaking from the mind of the general audience, you have a rising star in Heath Ledger who passionately portrayed the greatest villain since Satan himself, who arguably gave his life for such a role, and was literally left hanging. He's alive, he's the
villain of the Bat-universe and he is infamous for his ability to escape confinement. Of course people are going to think that Joker could be in TDKR. After the shCHILDRENtstorm he created, it makes far less sense for him not to be acknowledge in some fashion, but alas, Ledger is gone and the Joker seemingly with him.
So fast forward to the next movie and you have.. Bane. Yeah. Great villain with greater potential, but, deep down, almost everyone knew that there would be nowhere to go but down after the one-two punch of Joker and Two-face. Bane is not the Joker, simple as that. Why people still wish for the Joker's return is because following up with Bane, regardless of his potential, is a disappointing decision to many. What can you do, though, when Ledger's done for and recasting would be a huge mistake at this point? Nolan's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't with regards to the Joker.
This movie will succeed for its sheer scope and epic storytelling, not because people give a shCHILDRENt about Bane. It makes perfect sense that Tom Hardy is playing him, really. Phenomenal actor/character that the mainstream is slowly learning about, but not yet household names. Hopefully things change after the release. Pretty sure they will.