While a more obvious choice would’ve been a villain like The Riddler or The Penguin, “The Dark Knight Rises” chose to go with the relatively lesser-known Bane. The reasoning this time was simple: Batman would be dealing with a final, existential battle, so he’d need a villain who wanted to end things. Cue the villain who’s famous for breaking Batman’s spine in the comics.
As great as the Joker was, he was a character who never wanted to kill Batman or destroy Gotham completely. If the Joker had his way, he’d get to continue terrorizing Gotham forever and Batman would always be one step away from catching him. He was basically just trying to reenact “Tom and Jerry” on a much larger scale on a long-term basis. Bane, meanwhile, genuinely wanted to kill Batman and destroy Gotham for good. He was a literal, physical threat in the way that his predecessor never tried to be.
“This is a much more driven character,” co-writer Jonathan Nolan said of him. “Bane is a resourceful, cunning, and committed villain who knows exactly what he wants. He wants Batman dead and Gotham in ruins. That’s fitting for a third film.”