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Quote1.png Don't talk like one of them. You're not. Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're just a freak... like me. They need you right now... but when they don't... they'll cast you out like a leper. You see, their morals, their code... it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these-- these civilized people... they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve. Quote2.png
The Joker src

The Joker was an enigmatic criminal with a Glaswegian smile who terrorized Gotham City and its protector Batman. His only motive was to prove his nihilistic philosophy about the lack of human goodness and, in other words, to watch the world burn.

Possible Origins

The Joker treated his history like a running gag, fabricating a new story of how he obtained his iconic scars with each retelling.

In one instance, the Joker claimed that he witnessed his drunken father murder his mother before turning the knife on his frightened son. Asking him "why so serious?", the Joker's father sliced his son's cheeks, giving him a permanent smile.

In a second version of the tale, the Joker recounted that he once had a wife who, due to being in serious debt with a group of loan sharks, was captured and tortured by them. She was physically scarred by them and, to cheer her up and show solidarity, he scared his own face. The Joker's wife was repulsed by the display of affection and rebuked him, causing him to lose his mind with heartbreak.

Attack on Gotham

The Joker started out small, leaving his "calling card" at the scene of his early crimes. [1] Eventually, he made his big move by robbing a bank controlled by Gotham's organized crime, giving him the leverage to bargain with the underworld bosses. Barging in on one of their meetings, the Joker asked the criminal kingpins to 'hire' his services to kill the Batman that plagued them all. They refused at first, but agreed after their Chinese accountant, Lau, was kidnapped by Batman.

The Joker called out Batman publicly by killing a vigilante impersonator, warning the authentic Dark Knight to turn himself in to the police or more people would die every day. His threats were not empty, and Joker began killing public officials, including Commissioner Loeb and the Judge presiding over the mob trials. After an attempt to kill Mayor Garcia, Bruce Wayne decided to turn himself in, until an impassioned speech by Harvey Dent made himself a scapegoat to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker tried to kill Dent while being transported in police custody, but the Joker was arrested by Jim Gordon.

The Joker, however, intended to be captured. When Batman's interrogation obtained no results the Joker baited him with an impossible decision, revealing that Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent had been taken to separate locations, forcing him to choose who to save. Batman sped off to save Dawes, while Gordon and the police went after Dent. The punchline was revealed when Batman arrived to find Harvey instead of Rachel. With the deceptive distraction occupying police, Joker escaped GCPD headquarters with Lau in tow.

After escaping, Joker burned his half of the dirty money and declared himself the criminal Gotham deserved. When Coleman Reese announced he knew the identity of the Batman, Joker placed a bounty on his head, explaining that if he was not executed in an hour a hospital would be destroyed. While emergency services rushed to evacuate the City's hospitals, the Joker infiltrated Gotham General to speak with the bitter, and severely burned, Harvey Dent. In an ultimate gesture to prove his nihilistic manifesto, the Joker tried to goad Dent into murdering him for revenge. Dent was tempted, but left the Joker's fate to chance.

With the coin toss in his favour Joker needed a new way to make his statement, and rigged two ferries with explosives. Causing mass panic, Gotham evacuated it's population via the river. One ferry carried civilians while the other transported inmates from Blackgate Penitentiary. As the boats made their way across the river, Joker announced that each ferry had the detonation device for the other ferry's bomb. If one of the boats had not been destroyed by midnight, both ferries would be blown up. Joker's location was discovered by Batman and the two fought, with Joker managing to subdue the vigilante with the aid of attack dogs. To his disappointment, no ferries were sacrificed by the deadline, so Joker prepared to detonate them himself. He was caught off guard when Batman launched his gauntlet spikes into his face and threw him over the edge of the building. The Joker was saved from the fall by Batman's grapple, but he had the last laugh when he explained to Batman that he had already won by corrupting Harvey Dent, the symbol of Gotham's righteousness justice.


Years after the Joker's attack, Gotham began massive reform, focusing on something called the Dent Act, named in honor of the district attorney who the public was lead to believe was killed by Batman. The Dent Act was tougher on crime and made insanity pleas more difficult for offenders to claim in court. Therefore, many convicted criminals that were confined to Arkham Asylum were instead transferred to Blackgate Penitentiary. According to rumors, the Joker was the last patient held at Arkham Asylum due to the severity of his crimes. Other rumors indicated that he had escaped prior to Bane's attack on the city. He wasn't present during the city's takeover. [2]



  • This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the Nolanverse film series and is an adaptation of the Joker. The original character was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson and first appeared in Batman #1.
  • The Joker was portrayed by Heath Ledger.
  • There is only one scene where the Joker can be seen without any makeup. During the memorial service for Commissioner Loeb, the Joker masquerades as a police officer in an effort to assassinate Mayor Anthony Garcia.
  • The Joker was Heath Ledger's final completed performance, having done all his work on the movie shortly before his death in January 2008. He was working on another movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death.
  • The viral marketing for The Dark Knight was initially centered on the Joker, with news on the movie released in https://WhySoSerious.com. This changed after Ledger's death, with Harvey Dent becoming the new focus.
  • Ledger's performance gave him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


External Links


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Batman Villain(s)
This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of the Batman, or the Batman Family as a whole. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Batman Villains."