Mark Hamill Reveals What Made Him Rediscover One of His Most Iconic Characters
The actor's second most famous role remains DC's mad clown, and his work for the Batman: Arkham video games gave him "a whole new Joker" to work with.
The Joker remains one of, if not the most iconic and famous DC Comics villain, which naturally led to many variations of the character, sometimes drastically different, appearing over the years, not only limited to comic books.
Several actors have portrayed the mad clown, each adding a unique touch to the character, from the utterly insane agent of chaos portrayed by Heath Ledger to the almost sympathetic victim of a cruel society portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix.
However, one of the best and often overlooked iterations of the character was given to us by none other than Mark Hamill himself, and he was so good that the Joker is arguably his second most famous role after Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.
Triumph As The Joker
First voicing the character in 1992's Batman: The Animated Series, the actor quickly won the hearts of countless fans with his outstanding performance, making it hard to believe that this was the same person who played the humble Jedi.
In the years that followed, Hamill reprised the role several times in other animated TV shows and even a couple of animated feature films, such as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, further solidifying himself as one of the best Jokers to date.
But his appearances in the cartoons weren't the actor's finest work as the Joker, according to some fans, as his take on the character in the Batman: Arkham video game trilogy put his acting skills to an even greater test.
In a recent post on X (formerly Twitter), timed to the 12th anniversary of the second game, Arkham City, Hamill explained that the trilogy helped him rediscover the character in a whole new way.
Unlike his previous work voicing the character, the Arkham trilogy wasn't constrained by TV censors and was aimed at a mature audience, which allowed the actor to make his portrayal darker and grittier.
The Story Of Batman: Arkham
Looking back on the trilogy, it is clear that each game presented a slightly different take on the Joker. Spoilers ahead.
It all begins with him being brought to Arkham Asylum by Batman, once again brilliantly portrayed by Hamill's frequent co-star and one of the best Batmans, Kevin Conroy, who sadly passed away on November 10, 2022.
After that, the story of the first game took a very familiar turn, with the Joker escaping and unleashing other villains for the Caped Crusader to fight, but the finale presented a surprising twist.
The clown used a modified version of the drug Venom ( usually associated with another DC villain, Bane) to transform himself into a monstrosity for Batman to defeat in a final battle.
But the second game, Arkham City, upped the drama by answering one of the most intriguing questions about Batman: what would he do if his nemesis died?
It appeared that injecting Venom into his system had fatal consequences for the clown, and much of the game revolved around finding a cure (as Joker infected hospitals with his blood), leading to a devastating finale.
When the madman accidentally destroys the last vial of the cure, the Caped Crusader reveals that even after all the atrocities Joker has committed, he would still have saved him, but now the clown dies in the arms of his greatest enemy.
But even death can't stop the Joker, so in the series' grand finale, Arkham Knight, he appears in Batman's hallucinations, as Bruce is still infected with his blood.
These sequences also shed light on the clown's greatest fear of being forgotten, making his seemingly insane motivations clearer.
The legendary duo of Conroy and Hamill elevated the trilogy to legendary status, and without their brilliant performances, the games would have lost much of their charm.
And although Kevin is no longer with us, we will hopefully hear Mark reprise the role of the Joker at some point in the future.
Source: Mark Hamill on X