Originally Posted by The Joker
That doesn't prove a thing. Deciding on what villain they wanted doesn't mean they'd decided what exactly they were going to do with him in the story. Or indeed what the story was going to be. Your own article you posted there proves that when it says Nolan didn't even start looking at Batman Begins plot threads til after Inception. What more proof do you need?
You just acknowledged that they were thinking about Bane just after TDK premiered. How does working with Hardy for the first time on Inception and thinking he'd be perfect for Bane give you the impression they had already decided on the LOS before? Again your own article says Nolan did Inception first, THEN he looked at the plots he'd established in Batman Begins.
I'm not sure how you can think no information that Joker wasn't going to be used is somehow proof that he might have been originally planned, when something Chris has said specifically is that he planned to use the LOS all along for thematic reasons. Sure, maybe Joker might have been involved had Heath been alive, but either way LOS was coming back. Nolan has stated many times that they had a basic outline for the trilogy ever since BB, but they didn't look into the specifics of the stories until they finished each film so they wouldn't hold anything back. Joker's thematic purpose was done by the end of TDK. His line at the end of TDK about them being destined to do this forever is more of a thematic idea of opposing forces than a statement that he'd appear in the sequel.
Also, like BatLobster indicated, jealousy can certainly be used as a great motivation (it is, after all, a very human feeling that can drive one to obsession, something Nolan has a penchant for), and there was certainly a hint of Bane's need to prove himself the true worthy successor to bring balance back to Western civilization rather than the rich idealist who's unwilling to do 'all that is necessary' to reset the balance of Gotham's social infrastructure. Both him and Talia seem to ooze resentment for Ra's having chosen Bruce as his heir only for him to betray them all. Which I can't really blame them for, it was pretty ****ed up (from their point of view).