Originally Posted by Shikamaru
Bane was probably not even in Nolan's original plan for TDKR before Heath died.
If not Bane, then I wonder who then? I really doubt he would have used the Joker again as the main antagonist. Nolan clearly stated he felt Riddler was a Joker knock-off pretty much.
Bane really fit the bill when it came to being an extremely fresh villain to use, who both has intellect and can do what no other villain had done before on film - test Batman physically.