Who Dark Knight’s Joker Really Was? This Wild Theory Gives a Surprising Answer
Heath Ledger’s Joker was absolutely iconic but we never learned much about him… Except we did, just never realized it. Joker’s origin was shown in Batman Begins!
Back in the day, Christopher Nolan did what many people thought was near-impossible: he revived the genre of Batman live-action movies that was absolutely decimated by George Clooney’s notorious Batman & Robin. With Batman Begins, a new era of grim and grounded Caped Crusader movies started.
Most viewers and critics regard The Dark Knight, the second installment of Nolan’s trilogy, as the best movie of all, and it largely owes its popularity to the genius of Heath Ledger. The actor managed to create one of the most compelling, unique, and memorable antagonists in the history of cinema and totally outshone all his co-stars.
Why do we know so little about The Dark Knight’s villain?
Heath Ledger’s Joker is nothing but iconic — but admittedly, we know all too little about such a popular character. What is his real identity? Where did he come from? What are his motives? Finally, why is he so obsessed with Batman?
The Dark Knight never gave any answers to these questions, and for the vast majority of viewers, Joker forever remained a mystery man. But if we were to dig a bit deeper, we could’ve discovered something more than what the second movie allowed us to learn. If only we focused on what really mattered: the beginning.
That might have just worked — because according to one theory, Joker’s origin is literally shown on-screen in Batman Begins, Nolan’s first Caped Crusader movie.
Who is Joker, really?
Ra's Al Ghul was not alone when he came to destroy Gotham: he had a small army of his League of Shadows henchmen by his side. They did most of the dirty work setting up their leader’s plan to poison the city’s population with Dr. Crane’s insanity-inducing toxin, and they were there during the final train fight.
As Ra's Al Ghul sent in his henchmen to slow Batman down, the latter had to fight through their numbers to stop the head of the League of Shadows. One by one, Batman disposed of the goons using his martial arts skills; and that’s when things got interesting. Do you remember those spiked forearms on Bruce Wayne’s armor?
Batman’s spikes pulled off the protective mask from one of the henchmen he thought, scarring his face in the process. Without the mask, the goon became exposed to the Scarecrow’s toxic gas, and it drove him insane as he lay there knocked out. Against all odds, the henchman survived the encounter and woke up.
Riddled with insanity, he still retained the sense of his mission to destroy Gotham — and to take revenge on the man who scarred him both mentally and physically. After escaping the authorities, he was no longer part of the League of Shadows; he was his own man now, and he learned from his previous bosses’ mistakes.
The deformed goon took on a new persona that suited his new self: that of Joker.
Why did he become Batman’s deadliest enemy?
As Joker, he stayed in Gotham and began developing his utterly crazy plan. The skills he’d learned from the League helped him greatly: he was proficient with various weapons and explosives, was adept in martial arts, and had extensive para-military training. All of these qualities we saw in Joker, and now we know how he’d got them.
Joker became an independent agent of chaos, a new, unpredictable threat for Gotham…and he definitely had some fun. The mixture of the League of Shadows’ ideology, proper insanity, terrifying skills, and total lack of any information on Joker made him an enemy way more formidable than his former “colleagues.”
Apart from Joker’s origins, this theory also finally explains how he got his scars, which is a nice bonus. It holds too much water, all things considered, doesn’t it?