Joker in other media

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Adaptations of the Joker in other media
Created by Jerry Robinson (concept)
Bill Finger
Bob Kane
Original source Comics published by DC Comics
First appearance Batman #1 (Spring 1940)
Films and television
Film(s) Batman (1966)
Batman (1989)
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)
Television
show(s)
Batman (1966)
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.[1]

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 the DC Extended Universe's 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.

Live-action[edit]

Television[edit]

Cesar Romero (standing) in his role as Joker in Batman.

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.

Of the six Batman OnStar commercials that ran from 2000 to early 2002, the Joker appeared in one of them played by Curtis Armstrong.[4]

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.[5]

In the TV series Gotham, a character named Jerome Valeska, played by Cameron Monaghan, served as a reference 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."[6]

Film[edit]

Batman (1966)[edit]

Main article: Batman (1966 film)

Cesar Romero reprised his role in the 1966 film Batman, in which the Joker is a member of the United Underworld, alongside fellow Gotham City villains the Penguin, the Riddler and Catwoman.

Batman (1989–1997 film series)[edit]

Main article: Batman (1989 film)
Jack Nicholson played the Joker in the 1989 film Batman.

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.[7] In 2003, American Film Institute named Nicholson's performance #45 out of 50 greatest film villains.[8] Hugo Blick plays a younger version of the character in a flashback.[9]

In the film, Jack Napier is the right-hand man of mob boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) prior to his transformation into the Joker. During a confrontation with Batman (Michael Keaton) 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.[10] 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.

The Joker was one of the villains to appear in Batman Unchained (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Batman Triumphant),[11] the fifth film planned for the Batman series, with Nicholson reprising his role from the first film.[12] 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.[13] 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)[edit]

Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight received critical acclaim.

The Joker appears in The Dark Knight, portrayed by Heath Ledger, who was posthumously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance,[14] ultimately winning the Oscar.[15]

DC Extended Universe[edit]

Jared Leto as the Joker in a promotional poster for Suicide Squad (2016).
Main article: DC Extended Universe

Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto portrays the Joker in the DC Extended Universe.[16] Originally set to appear in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the character was ultimately cut from the film.[17]

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.[18] At some point, the Joker kills the vigilante Batman's partner, Robin, with Harley's help,[19] 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.[20][21] Leto revealed that many of his scenes were omitted from the final cut.[22] The actor later reprised his role in the music video "Purple Lamborghini", by Skrillex and Rick Ross, from the film's soundtrack.[23]

Theatre[edit]

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.[24][25] 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.[24][26][27]

Animation[edit]

Television[edit]

Filmation

The Joker appears as a recurring villain in the 1968–1969 Filmation series The Adventures of Batman, voiced by Larry Storch.[28] He also appears in five episodes of Filmation's 1977 series The New Adventures of Batman, voiced by Lennie Weinrib.[29]

Hanna-Barbera

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.[30][31] 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.

Mark Hamill provided the voice of the Joker in the DC Animated Universe.
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 version of the animated Joker,[32] often for, as he describes, his wide range of "joyful, gleeful, maniacal, [...] malevolent and evil laughs."[33]

The Joker's first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995) is in "Christmas with the Joker", in which he escapes Arkham Asylum on Christmas Eve. The series 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), although the writers were initially reluctant to include him since it was only a few years since the 1989 Batman film was released. However, they realized they "could make his appearance serve the story in a way that we never could in live-action".[34]

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. The Joker also makes several appearances in non-Batman titled series. In Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000), he travels to Metropolis and makes a deal with Lex Luthor to kill Superman in exchange for one billion dollars. In future DC Animated Universe appearances, the Joker was reverted back to his original look, albeit with a more angular design with yellow sclerae. He was featured in Justice League (2001–2006), in which he forces his way into Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang. In his most prominent episode "Wild Cards", he pits the Justice League against the Royal Flush Gang as part of an elaborate ruse. He also starts a crime spree on Static Shock (2000–2004) in the episode "The Big Leagues", in which he recruits Hot-Streak, Kangor, Shiv and Talon, but the group is foiled by Static.

Although presumed to be long dead, his legacy inspires a motorcycle gang known as the Jokerz in Batman Beyond (1999–2001). The Joker reappears in the direct-to-video spin-off Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), in which he mysteriously returns to Gotham. A flashback reveals that the Joker had kidnapped and tortured Tim Drake, turning Robin into an insane, miniature version of himself dubbed Joker Junior (voiced by Andrea Romano); 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.[citation needed] 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)

The Joker appears in the Young Justice cartoon series, voiced by Brent Spiner.[35] He is a member of the Injustice Gang.

Justice League Action

The Joker will appear in Justice League Action, with Mark Hamill set to reprise the role.[36]

Other appearances

Film[edit]

The Joker has appeared in several DC animated original movies:

John DiMaggio voiced the Joker in Batman: Under the Red Hood.

Video games[edit]

As Batman's nemesis, the Joker has appeared in several Batman-related video games.

Early appearances (1988–2003)[edit]

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.[41] The game contains two parts that can be played in any order—the Joker's story or the Penguin's story.[42] 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;[43] Batman: The Video Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy;[42] Batman for the Genesis;[42] and an arcade game, Batman.[44]

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.[42]

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.[45] 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.[42] 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.[42]

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.

Lego series[edit]

Main article: Lego Batman

The Joker is a playable character in Lego Batman: The Videogame (2008), voiced by Steven Blum.[46] 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.

Batman: Arkham series[edit]

Main article: Batman: Arkham
Troy Baker took over Mark Hamill's voice of the Joker for Arkham Origins.

Mark Hamill reprises his role of the Joker in the main series of the Batman: Arkham franchise, while Troy Baker voices a younger version of the character in Arkham Origins.

  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, he takes over Arkham Asylum in an elaborate trap set for Batman, and combines the "Titan formula" (a more potent version of Bane's Venom) with his army of thugs to create "an army of a thousand Banes". After foiling the other villains' agendas, Batman confronts a Titan-enhanced Joker atop Arkham. In the game's PlayStation 3 version, players are able to actually play the Challenge Maps as the Joker with thugs replaced by Arkham guards.[47][48]
  • In Batman: Arkham City, Joker is locked up in the new city sized prison "Arkham City" operated by Hugo Strange and is involved in a gang war against the Penguin and Two-Face. It is revealed that he is slowly dying as a result of his exposure to the Titan formula, Joker infects Batman with a sample of his blood to ensure that Batman is motivated to find a cure. Despite aid of Clayface and Batman's own efforts, Joker eventually succumbs to his disease and dies with a smile on his face. During the credits, he can be heard singing Only You (And You Alone). Joker also appears in Batman: Arkham City Lockdown. The Batman: Arkham City version of Joker was awarded the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards "Character of the Year" award.[49]
  • The prequel Batman: Arkham Origins focuses the first meeting between Batman and the Joker as well as their conflicting philosophies. The Joker kidnaps and poses as Black Mask (voiced by Brian Bloom) for some time as he was planning to send Gotham into anarchy. To rid himself of Batman, Black Mask hires eight assassins to kill Batman. When Batman goes after Sionis at Gotham Merchants Bank, the Joker finally reveals himself, attempting to provoke Batman into killing him or Bane to corrupt his nemesis. During the credits, he can be heard singing Cold, Cold Heart while being returned to his cell at Blackgate. The Joker is playable in the Batman: Arkham Origins multiplayer mode. If a player controlling a Joker Elite gets to an entry gate as the Joker is demanding they let him in, the thug is replaced with Joker. He has a lethal joybuzzer melee attack and two guns, The Ace of Spades (a large revolver) and The King of Hearts (a rapid-fire gun that shoots small explosives). In Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, he is among the three criminal kingpins that takeover Blackgate following Toyman being blown up. The Batman: Arkham Origins depiction of Joker has been widely praised. Critics have lauded the voice acting and the exploration of the Joker and Batman's relationship.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, the Joker returns as a hallucination. After reducing the blast radius of Scarecrow's fear toxin at Ace Chemicals, Batman begins to hallucinate his nemesis after the residue of the Joker's blood in his system mixes with Scarecrow's gas. Other than having Joker in his head commenting on every action he makes throughout the game and twisting his perception of reality, Batman is also forced to experience the Joker's memories of Barbara Gordon's crippling and Jason Todd's torture. It's also shown that Joker's blood affected four other people: Christina Bell (voiced by Sara Cravens), Albert King (voiced by Isaac Singleton), Johnny Charisma (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum) and Henry Adams (voiced by Garrick Hogan). Each of them slowly taking on each aspect of Joker's personality; Christina having the obsession with Batman, Albert having the violent nature, Johnny inheriting the showmanship, and Henry having the intellect. In the final encounter with Scarecrow, Bruce Wayne is injected with fear toxin and has a nightmare where Bruce becomes Joker himself and kills all of Batman's friends and foes, destroying Gotham in the process. However, Batman is eventually able to break free by showing Joker's greatest fear: being forgotten after his death. Batman then defeats Joker and locks him in an Arkham-esque prison within his own mind, conquering the fears and ending Joker forever. Joker also appears in the Batgirl: A Matter of Family DLC story content. Set before the events of Arkham Asylum, Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon on Valentine's Day, holding Gordon hostage on an abandoned amusement park built on top of an oil rig, forcing Batgirl and Robin to attempt to rescue.

Online games[edit]

  • 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.[50]
  • The Joker appears in Infinite Crisis as costume for purchase.[51]
  • 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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