To most of us, the obvious answer to that is “No.” But not to Stuff, who’s reporting that there’s talk of potentially using cut footage from The Dark Knight and some CGI to give the Joker a quick appearance in The Dark Knight Rises similar to Cillian Murphy’s brief cameo as the Scarecrow in the last film. According to their source, it would require the blessing of the late Ledger’s family to even happen. For the sake of general decency, let’s hope they don’t approve.
Poor taste aside, the idea itself, besides being completely ridiculous, would cheapen the whole point of The Dark Knight. As far as I’m concerned the moment Batman ties up the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime disappears in a matter vaguely reminiscent of the final panels of Alan Moore & Brian Bolland’s Batman: The Killing Joke. Batman and Joker have a good laugh and any illusion of duality (which, I argue, is the point of the comic) disappears in the rain.
That’s right, the Joker doesn’t exist. He’s an apparition that appears to wreak havoc upon Gotham City, and once Batman conquers him and restores order, *POOF*. If Harvey Dent, the man almost literally split in half by the Batman/Joker conflict, dies as Batman restores a semblance of order, then there’s no Joker to speak of.
Besides, if the Joker’s still running amuck in the third Batman movie, who cares about whatever villain Tom Hardy is playing? And if he’s in Arkham Asylum, isn’t he just an unfulfilled Chekov’s gun?