Prior to his untimely passing, Heath Ledger was going to be a part of Nolan’s third Batman film. I’d like to think there’s a parallel universe where Christopher Nolan’s The Trial of the Joker sees Ledger winning his second Oscar for his masterful portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Obviously, things changed and The Dark Knight Rises came and went without a mention of what happened to Joker in the eight years since TDK. One would assume that, after Bane frees the inmates of Blackgate Prison, Joker would’ve been freed as well. But Greg Cox’ 415 page “Official Novelization“ says otherwise. Whether or not you want to treat it as canon, the below quote lifted from the book should help alleviate the pains of Joker’s absence:
“Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible for the city’s criminals to cop an insanity plea, it (Blackgate Prison) had replaced Arkham Asylum as the preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina.”
So there you have it, Joker is still safely tucked away in Arkham during the events of The Dark Knight Rises. Or maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s in space, or touring Coast City in a one-man band. Don’t look at me, I just work here…
Source: Nuke the Fridge