Originally Posted by JackWhite
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.
Joker was going to come back for sure. He was either going to be the main villain again, a minor villain, or one of the main villains (in case of multiple villains). Nolan himself stated many times he had plans for the Joker in TDKR.
We don't know who Nolan was originally going to use other than the Joker but we can't be quick to assume that it's Bane. It could've been Bane (highly doubt it since he said he doesn't want to redo villains done in live-action before and when asked about Catwoman, he said "I needed a whole movie to explain why one guy would dress up as a bat!") but at the same time, it could've been anyone else too. It could've also been a guy like Black Mask. You never know.