Joker in other media
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|Adaptations of the Joker in other media|
|Created by||Jerry Robinson (concept)
|Original source||Comics published by DC Comics|
|First appearance||Batman #1 (Spring 1940)|
|Films and television|
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
The Batman vs. Dracula (2005)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012-2013)
Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite (2013)
Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
Superman: The Animated Series (1996)
The New Batman Adventures (1997)
Static Shock (2000)
Justice League (2001)
The Batman (2004)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008)
Young Justice (2010)
Although Batman's archenemy, the Joker, originated as a comic book character, he has appeared in various forms of media. WorldCat (a catalog of libraries in 170 countries) records over 250 productions featuring the Joker as a subject, including films, books, and video games.
The Joker has been portrayed by Cesar Romero in the Batman television series, Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman, Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, and Jared Leto in David Ayer's DC Extended Universe film Suicide Squad. Throughout the years, Larry Storch, Lennie Weinrib, Frank Welker, Mark Hamill, Michael McKean, Allen Enlow, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, Michael Dobson, John Kassir, Richard Epcar, John DiMaggio, Corey Burton, Brent Spiner, Christopher Corey Smith, Michael Emerson, Troy Baker and Dee Bradley Baker have all provided voice work for the character in animated, motion comic, and video game form.
- 1 Live-action
- 2 Animation
- 3 Video games
- 4 References
Cesar Romero portrayed the character in the 1960s Batman television series. Romero refused to shave his distinctive mustache for the role, and it is partially visible beneath the white face makeup applied. This version of the Joker is based on the character in the 1960s comics, who is more of an elaborate prankster than a psychopathic madman. As a parody of Batman, the Joker develops his own "utility belt" and "Jokermobile". Batman has remarked that the Joker was a hypnotist during his youth.
Roger Stoneburner makes a cameo appearance as the Joker in an episode of the 2002–03 series Birds of Prey. Mark Hamill (the voice of the Joker in various animated projects) provided the character's voice in the scene.
In the Fox television series Gotham, a character named Jerome Valeska, played by Cameron Monaghan, served as a tribute to the Joker. Monaghan has stated that he drew inspiration from previous Joker actors for his performance, particularly that of Mark Hamill. He added "I think he’s the Joker in that he represents the idea, the greater concept."
Main article: Batman (1966 film)
Batman (1989–1997 film series)
Main article: Batman (1989 film)
The Joker appears in the 1989 Batman film, portrayed by Jack Nicholson, who received critical acclaim for his performance; The Newsweek review of the film stated that the best scenes in the movie are due to the surreal black comedy portrayed in this character. In 2003, American Film Institute named Nicholson's performance #45 out of 50 greatest film villains. Hugo Blick plays a younger version of the character in a flashback.
In the film, Jack Napier is the right-hand man of mob boss Carl Grissom prior to his transformation into the Joker. During a confrontation with Batman in a chemical factory, Napier is shot in the face and falls into a vat of chemical waste, which turns his hair green, his skin chalk white and his lips bright red. A botched attempt at plastic surgery leaves him with a permanent rictus grin. Driven insane by his reflection, the Joker kills Grissom and takes over his syndicate, launching a crime wave designed to outdo Batman, whom he feels is getting too much press. The Joker describes himself as "the world's first fully functional homicidal artist" who makes avant-garde "art" by killing people with cosmetics laced with Smilex, which leaves its victims with a grotesque grin similar to his own. Bruce Wayne later confronts the Joker and recognizes him as the mugger who murdered his parents. During Batman and Joker's final battle, they discover each other's identities and realize that they created each other. As the Joker attempts to escape in a helicopter, Batman ties a grappling hook around the Joker's leg and attaches it to a stone gargoyle, causing the Joker to fall to his death when the gargoyle breaks loose of its moorings.
Jack Napier appears briefly in a flashback in the 1995 film Batman Forever, the third film in the series, portrayed by David U. Hodges. The flashback is a re-creation of the death of Bruce Wayne's parents from the 1989 film.
Nicholson was to reprise his role as the Joker in Batman Unchained, the fifth film planned for the Batman series. He was to return as a hallucination in Batman's mind caused by the Scarecrow's fear toxin. Harley Quinn was to appear as the Joker's daughter trying to get revenge on Batman for her father's death. But due to the poor reception by critics and fans of the fourth film in the series, Batman & Robin, Batman Unchained was cancelled.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Main article: The Joker (The Dark Knight)
Heath Ledger portrayed the Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, and was posthumously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, ultimately winning the Oscar.
DC Extended Universe
Main article: DC Extended Universe
Academy Award-winning method actor Jared Leto portrays the Joker in the DC Extended Universe. Originally set to appear in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the character was ultimately cut from the film.
The Joker makes his debut in the 2016 film Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer. Flashbacks reveal that the Joker, already known to be Gotham City's most powerful crime lord, manipulated psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel into falling in love with him during his time as a patient at Arkham Asylum. He eventually manages to convince Dr. Quinzel to free him, and he subsequently gives her electroshock therapy. The Joker then takes her to the Ace Chemicals plant, and Quinzel voluntarily jumps into the chemicals that created her lover, bleaching her skin and completing her transformation into Harley Quinn. At some point, the Joker kills the vigilante Batman's partner, Robin, with Harley's help, though Quinn is ultimately apprehended and blackmailed into joining Amanda Waller's government task force composed of captured supervillains. In the present day narrative, the Joker attempts to extract Harley from the task force. He tortures one of Waller's security officers into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs used to control the criminals are manufactured, and threatens one of the A.R.G.U.S. scientists there to disable the bomb implanted in Harley's neck. After commandeering one of Waller's helicopters, Joker and his men rescue Harley in Midway City and make their getaway. However, the chopper is shot down, and Harley jumps out while Joker seemingly perishes in the explosion, prompting Quinn to rejoin the task force. After the "Suicide Squad" defeat the Enchantress, Joker, who survived the crash, breaks into Belle Reve Prison with his gang to free Harley from her cell, and the pair reunite as the movie ends. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, Jared Leto's performance was praised despite his character's minimal screen time. Leto revealed that many of his scenes were omitted from the final cut. The actor later reprised his role in the music video "Purple Lamborghini", by Skrillex and Rick Ross, from the film's soundtrack.
The Joker appears in the 2011 theatrical production Batman Live (portrayed by Mark Frost), in which the character masterminds a plot to defeat Batman by uniting several of the superhero's greatest foes, including Harley Quinn, Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Scarecrow. The show is an adaptation of the Batman property, drawing inspiration from the 1966 television series, the 1989 series of Batman films, and the 1992 animated series, among others.
The Joker appears as a recurring villain in the 1968–1969 Filmation series The Adventures of Batman, voiced by Larry Storch. He also appears in five episodes of Filmation's 1977 series The New Adventures of Batman, voiced by Lennie Weinrib.
Storch reprises his role for two crossover episodes of the 1972 series The New Scooby-Doo Movies. In both episodes, he teams up with Penguin and runs afoul of Batman, Robin, and the Mystery Inc. gang.
The Joker makes one appearance in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985–1986), in the episode "The Wild Cards", voiced by Frank Welker. In the episode, the Joker assists in Darkseid's latest plot by disguising himself as Ace, the leader of The Royal Flush Gang. Batman deduces Joker's masquerade upon noticing that the Joker's house of cards fortress was short the Joker's namesake card.
- DC animated universe
The Joker appears in several animated series set within in the DC animated universe, voiced by Mark Hamill, who is often credited as the iconic voice for the animated version of the character because of his wide range of "joyful, gleeful, maniacal, [...] malevolent and evil laughs."
The Joker first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995) episode "Christmas with the Joker", in which he escapes Arkham Asylum on Christmas Eve. The show is notable for introducing his accomplice and lover, Harley Quinn, to such acclaim that she became a character in the comics. The Joker is also a pivotal character in the spin-off feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993).
The Joker later returned in the follow-up series The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999). He went through a stylistic revamp that included black sclerae and the omission of his trademark red lips. In Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000), he travels to Metropolis and makes a deal with Lex Luthor to kill Superman. In future DC Animated Universe appearances, the Joker was reverted back to his original look, albeit with a more angular design and yellow sclerae. He was featured in Justice League (2001–2006), in which he joins Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang. In "Wild Cards", he pits the Justice League against the Royal Flush Gang as part of an elaborate ruse. He also starts a crime spree in the Static Shock (2000–2004) episode "The Big Leagues".
The Joker reappears in the direct-to-video spin-off Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), in which he mysteriously returns to Gotham. Flashbacks reveals that the Joker had kidnapped and tortured Robin (Tim Drake), turning him into an insane, miniature version of himself dubbed Joker Junior; The Joker's death was edited and redubbed amid controversy surrounding the Columbine High School massacre with the original version sees 'Joker Junior' shoot Joker in the heart whereas the edited version simply sees his victim push the Joker into damaged cables to be electrocuted out of sight. However, a microchip implanted in the back of his victim's neck possesses a copy of the Joker's mind and DNA, allowing him to gradually take over his host as a duplicate of the Joker until being defeated by the new Batman (Terry McGinnis).
- The Batman (2004–2008)
The Joker appears in the animated series The Batman, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Richardson was nominated twice for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program. This version has long, wild hair, and he initially wore a straight jacket modified to his kooky color scheme, though he later adopts his signature purple suit. In the first season's finale, he is responsible for transforming Detective Ethan Bennett into Clayface. In the 2005 direct-to-video spin-off The Batman vs. Dracula (2005), the Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum and unwittingly becomes a vampire under the control of Count Dracula. Batman cures the Joker of his vampirism in order to learn the location of Dracula's lair in Gotham Cemetery.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008–2011)
The Joker appears on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Jeff Bennett. His appearance and personality are similar to the Silver Age version as drawn by Dick Sprang. On a parallel earth, he is known as the heroic vigilante Red Hood.
- Young Justice (2010–2013)
- Justice League Action
- Other appearances
- The Joker makes several appearances on Robot Chicken, voiced once again by Mark Hamill (in "But Not In That Way" and "Catch Me If You Kangaroo Jack") and by Giovanni Ribisi (in the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise).
- "The Joker's Playhouse" (2010) is an original video animation produced for Fisher-Price Imaginext's DC Super Friends, and features the Joker taking over the Hall of Justice and the Super Friends running the gamut to reclaim it. The Joker is voiced by John Kassir.
- The Joker appears in the animated special Lego Batman: Be-Leagured, with John DiMaggio reprising the role from Batman: Under the Red Hood.
The Joker has appeared in several DC animated original movies:
- A heroic version of the Joker from a parallel earth, called the Jester, appears in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010), voiced by James Patrick Stuart. He is a member of their world's Justice League/Justice Underground. He sacrifices himself during a battle with the Crime Syndicate of America.
- The Joker appears in the animated original movie Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010), voiced by John DiMaggio. He is hired by the terrorist Ra's al Ghul to distract Batman from foiling his plans. To do so, the Joker lures the Dynamic Duo to Sarajevo, Bosnia, where he captures beats Robin (Jason Todd) with a crowbar, and leaves him to perish in an explosion. Years later, Todd returns as the Red Hood, and attempts to force Batman to kill the Joker. However, Batman refuses to do so, and the Joker is returned to Arkham Asylum.
- The Joker appears in the two-part adaption of The Dark Knight Returns (2012–2013), voiced by Michael Emerson. It is revealed that the Joker went into catatonia after Batman's retirement, and was held in Arkham Asylum for ten years. But when Batman returns, the Joker's mind awakens and he goes on a killing spree. During his final battle with Batman, the Dark Knight snaps his neck in a fit of rage, paralyzing him. Content that he made Batman a murderer in front of witnesses, the Joker twists his neck to completely sever his spinal cord, killing himself. His body was later cremated.
- The Joker appears in Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite (2013), an adaptation of the video game Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2012), with Christopher Corey Smith reprising his role. He forges an alliance with Lex Luthor in an attempt to kill the Justice League. However, the Joker and Luthor are ultimately defeated and apprehended.
- The Joker appears in the animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014), set in the Batman: Arkham universe, with Troy Baker reprising his role from the video game Batman: Arkham Origins. In the movie, the Joker hides a bomb somewhere in Gotham prior to being arrested, which Batman is trying to find. The Joker later escapes his cell at Arkham Asylum, and clashes with both Batman and the Suicide Squad before reuniting with Harley Quinn. The bomb is revealed to be hidden in Harley's mallet, and the two get off Arkham Island on a helicopter, with Batman and Deadshot following suit. While Joker battles Deadshot, Batman deactivates the bomb. After being defeated, Joker disappears and goes into hiding.
- Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker in the 2016 animated film adaptation of the Eisner Award-winning graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, which is the first DC animated film to be rated R.
- The Joker will appear in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
- Zach Galifianakis will voice the Joker in The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
As Batman's nemesis, the Joker has appeared in several Batman-related video games.
Early appearances (1988–2003)
The Joker's earliest video game appearance is in Batman: The Caped Crusader (1988) developed by Ocean Software for 8-bit home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 and by Data East for other platforms such as the Apple II, Commodore Amiga, and PC. The game contains two parts that can be played in any order—the Joker's story or the Penguin's story. The Joker also appears in several games based on the 1989 film, released between 1989–1992, including Batman: The Movie for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, and ZX Spectrum; Batman: The Video Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy; Batman for the Genesis; and an arcade game, Batman.
Batman: Return of the Joker (also known as Batman: Revenge of the Joker) features the Joker in a platforming shoot-em-up game based on the comics, released for the NES in 1991 and the Genesis in 1992.
Two games were released based on Batman:The Animated Series. The first is the Konami-developed game Batman: The Animated Series (1993) for Game Boy. The second, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, was released for the Super NES as an action adventure platformer, while the Genesis version is a side-scrolling shooter. The only game based on the Batman Beyond franchise, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, was released as a companion to the eponymous film for Game Boy Color, PlayStation and Nintendo 64.
Batman: Vengeance (2001) was released for several platforms, based on The New Batman Adventures and starring its voice cast, including Mark Hamill as the Joker. In the game, the Joker and Harley Quinn mastermind a plan to destroy Gotham City using an explosive compound consisting of Joker Toxin and a new substance called Promethium. Other games include Batman: Chaos in Gotham (2001) for Game Boy Color, Justice League: Injustice for All (2002) for Game Boy Advance, and Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003) for GameCube and Xbox, voiced by Allen Enlow. The Joker also has a cameo in Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (2003), released for several platforms.
The Joker is a playable character in Lego Batman: The Videogame (2008), voiced by Steven Blum. The Joker leads a group of villains—Harley Quinn, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow and Killer Moth—to spread Joker toxin to all of Gotham City. His weapons are dual Uzis and lethal joybuzzers, as well as a helicopter with a grappling hook.
The Joker returns in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2012), with Christopher Corey Smith taking over the role. The Joker breaks out of Arkham using "The Deconstructor", a kryptonite-powered weapon developed by Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor also plans to use the Joker's toxins to gain the Presidency through mind control.
Christopher Corey Smith reprises his role in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (2014). The Joker joins Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom and creates mayhem with other villains using a map he received from Killer Croc. The character has several versions, some having separate abilities as well as different costumes: the original version, the 1960s television series version, the Dark Knight version (via downloadable content), and the Batman Beyond-era version (via downloadable content).
The Joker is a playable character in Lego Dimensions (2015), voiced again by Christopher Corey Smith. In the story mode, he is a member of Lord Vortech's army of villains, and faces off against the three main heroes (Batman, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf) in Springfield from The Simpsons using the same giant mech from Lego Batman 2. After being defeated, he warns Lord Vortech not to underestimate Batman.
Batman: Arkham series
Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker in the main trilogy of the Batman: Arkham franchise, while Troy Baker voices a younger version of the character in the prequel Arkham Origins. This depiction of Joker has been widely praised, as critics have lauded the voice acting and the exploration of the Joker and Batman's relationship. He won the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards "Character of the Year" award for his appearance in Arkham City.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker and Harley Quinn take over Arkham Asylum in an elaborate trap set for Batman, and inject their thugs with the "Titan formula" (a more potent version of Bane's Venom) to create "an army of a thousand Banes". After foiling the other freed villains' agendas, Batman confronts and defeats a Titan-enhanced Joker atop Arkham. In the game's PlayStation 3 version, players are able to play as the Joker in the Challenge Maps, where the thugs are replaced with Arkham guards.
- In Batman: Arkham City, the Joker is locked up in Professor Hugo Strange's new city-sized prison "Arkham City", a lawless and walled city whose inmate inhabitants are free to wreak havoc, and is involved in a gang war with Two-Face and the Penguin. The Joker later infects Batman with a sample of his poisoned blood after it is revealed that he is slowly dying as a result of his Titan overdose in Arkham Asylum, thus motivating Batman to find a cure for them both. But despite Batman's efforts, the Joker ultimately succumbs to the disease and dies with a smile on his face. During the credits, he can be heard singing Only You (And You Alone) to Batman. The Joker also appears in Batman: Arkham City Lockdown.
- The prequel Batman: Arkham Origins focuses on Batman's first encounter with the Joker. The Joker kidnaps and poses as the crime lord Black Mask (voiced by Brian Bloom), and hires eight assassins to kill the vigilante Batman. At the Gotham Merchants Bank, the Joker finally reveals himself as the mastermind behind the evening's events, though he is later captured and sent to Blackgate Prison. There, he meets psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel for the first time, and convinces her to free him after he shares his origins with her. The Joker then attempts to corrupt Batman by coaxing him into killing Bane, but fails and realizes that his nemesis is his philosophical opposite, thus beginning his obsession with the Dark Knight. During the credits, the Joker can be heard singing Cold, Cold Heart while being returned to his cell at Blackgate. He is a playable character in the Batman: Arkham Origins multiplayer mode, and he also appears in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman begins to hallucinate the Joker after the residue of his nemesis' blood in his system mixes with Scarecrow's fear gas. Throughout the game, Batman is forced to experience the Joker's memories of Barbara Gordon's crippling and Jason Todd's torture. It is later revealed that Joker's blood also affected four other people: Henry Adams (voiced by Garrick Hogan), Johnny Charisma (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum), Christina Bell (voiced by Sara Cravens), and Albert King (voiced by Isaac Singleton). Each of them slowly take on an aspect of Joker's personality, though they are all ultimately killed. At the end of the game, Batman is able to fully break free of the Joker's influence, and locks him away within his own mind. The Joker also appears in the Batgirl: A Matter of Family DLC story content. Set before the events of Arkham Asylum, the Joker and Harley Quinn kidnap Commissioner Gordon, whom Batgirl and Robin attempt to rescue.
- The Joker appears in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, voiced by Richard Epcar.
- Mark Hamill reprised his role as the Joker in DC Universe Online.
- The Joker appears in Infinite Crisis as costume for purchase.
- The Joker appears in Injustice: Gods Among Us, with Richard Epcar reprising his role. In an alternate universe, the Joker kills Superman's lover, Lois Lane, and their unborn child, and destroys Metropolis with a nuclear bomb. Driven insane, Superman subsequently kills this Joker and takes over his world with the Regime. The primary universe's Joker nearly destroys Metropolis with a nuclear bomb as well, but he is accidentally transported to the Regime universe when the alternate Batman and Lex Luthor bring most of the Justice League to their world. After escaping Batman's grasp, the Joker explores Gotham and sees the legacy of his alternate self. He defeats an injured Batman and is introduced to the alternate Harley, who shows him the gang she created after his counterpart's death, who operate out of Arkham Asylum. Despite being arrested by the Insurgency Batman, the Joker is freed by Harley. The alternate Lex Luthor later defeats the Joker, who is taken back to the primary universe by the prime Batman.
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