- You traveled the world... Now you must journey inwards... to what you really fear... it's inside you... there is no turning back. Your parents' death was not your fault. Your training is nothing. The will is everything. If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely. Are you ready to begin?
- — Ra's al Ghul src
Ra's al Ghul was the head of the centuries-old League of Shadows, an organization dedicated to keeping order and justice in a world which it views as decadent and corrupt. He was the mentor turned enemy of Bruce Wayne, who later became a vigilante protecting a city the League attempted to destroy.
Ra's al Ghul goes by the name Henri Ducard and acts as a mentor to a young Bruce Wayne, teaching him the martial arts that he will one day use as Batman. During this time, Ducard hides behind a decoy Ra's al Ghul. The decoy is killed while battling Bruce. After learning of the League's intention to destroy Gotham City, Bruce sets fire to the League's temple, rescues Ducard from the burning ruins, and returns to Gotham.
Months later, Ducard unexpectedly reappears, and reveals that he is actually the real Ra's al Ghul: "Henri Ducard" was merely an alias, and the Ra's al Ghul Bruce defeated at the beginning was actually a decoy, which Bruce himself deciphers when another man attempts to pass as Ra's before Ducard reveals the truth. In the ensuing confrontation, Ra's boasts of the League's supposed exploits throughout history (the Sack of Rome, the Black Death, and the Great Fire of London). He explains that the League plans to use a hallucinogenic fear toxin invented by the Scarecrow to infect the city with mindless panic and watch it destroy itself. He claims that the League of Shadows once attempted to use economics to destroy Gotham, but had underestimated men like Bruce's father, who used their wealth to restore the city. Furthermore, he explains that the destruction of Gotham City is merely another mission by the League to correct humanity's recurring fits of "decadence." Ra's then orders his henchmen to burn down Wayne Manor, saying, "Justice is balance. You burned my house and left me for dead. Consider us even."
With the aid of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce survives the fire, and confronts Ra's al Ghul as Batman. Ra's scornfully comments that Batman has taken his advice of "using theatricality" too literally. He escapes and goes on with his plans. Batman follows him, however, and teacher and student have a final battle aboard a runaway train. Ra's gains the upper hand defeating Bruce and pinning him to the floor, however Ra's al Ghul's arrogance ultimately leads to his downfall when he fails to notice that Sergeant Gordon has used the Batmobile to derail the train. Batman then uses this distraction to his advantage and pins Ra's to the ground ready to finish him. Ra's then asks, "Have you finally learned to do what is necessary?" (referencing of what Bruce had stated that he would not kill). Batman then replies, " I won't kill you...but I don't have to save you." Batman then escapes, leaving Ra's alone on the doomed train, which falls into a garage and explodes.
- Martial Arts
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced)
- Pedagogy: Ra's was an adept teacher of martial arts.
- Ra's al Ghul was portrayed by Liam Neeson. Josh Pence plays a younger version in a flashback in The Dark Knight Rises.
- Appearances of Ra's al Ghul (Nolanverse)
- Images featuring Ra's al Ghul (Nolanverse)
- Quotations by or about Ra's al Ghul (Nolanverse)
- Character Gallery: Ra's al Ghul (Nolanverse)
League of Assassins member