Originally Posted by The Eradicator
All the way back in the days and months following the release of Batman Begins, there was talk about how Goyer had a rough outline for a trilogy, where the Joker would be the villain of film 2 and Two Face the villain of film 3, with the Joker still playing some sort of role. After TDK, those plans obviously changed, but there were always rumors about how the death of Heath Ledger had a big impact on Nolan's initial plans for a third film. I remember hearing that a sort of Hannibal Lector type role was being eyed for the Joker. There's no way to tell just how true or false those rumors were, but after watching a few TDKR clips on YouTube, I thought of something.
The problem is that the outline Goyer talked about is from 2005, just in time for the release of Batman Begins. That concepts became the storyline of The Dark Knight. The first developments for Rises came shortly after The Dark Knight was released.
But speculation is fun.