“Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just... do things".
Why so serious? Nah, just kidding, maybe you’re relaxed, sitting at your laptop and sipping coffee. Whether you’re just scrolling through the web or specifically looking for your fix of DC character info, join us in all the craze and chaos of the world of the Joker. From the iconic Health Ledger role to the voice of Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, the infamous Batman villain is full of stories and surprises.
1. Let’s Start Off Simple
When it comes to the Joker, things aren’t simple. So beginning with a quick fact about the Joker’s name, background, etc., is a little difficult. In fact, it just so happens that his identity is unknown. Throughout all the comics, his true name and background have never been revealed. All of his personal records are nonexistent, making him even more dangerous.
2. The Nine-to-Five
Despite his identity being unknown, the Joker’s background has been explored in limited ways throughout the comics. One part of his historical background is that he actually worked a job as a lab assistant and even tried to be a comedian before he found his calling terrorizing Gotham as the Joker.
3. He Will Naht Do It
The release of James Franco’s The Disaster Artist has brought new fame and attention to the irreplaceable cult actor Tommy Wiseau. So much new attention, in fact, that Wiseau voiced his interest in playing the Joker in a possible upcoming Batman prequel. However, Wiseau admitted he had reservations about playing the role because he thinks he has "too much emotion" for the Joker.
4. Joining the Family
It is now near certain that Joaquin Phoenix will be playing the Joker in a stand-alone Joker origin story. To play six degrees of separation for a moment, Phoenix’s sister Summer is marred to Casey Affleck, the brother of Ben Affleck (AKA Batman himself).
5. The Image
The inspiration for the Joker’s image goes back to 1928. Actor Conrad Veidt played the role of Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs, and if you take a look at a photo of him in character you'll see how freakishly close it is to the Joker.
6. Laughing From the Beginning
Batman got his first independent comic in 1940, and his very first issue introduced the Joker character. Originally the Joker was supposed to die early on, but the character remained and appeared in nine out of the first 12 Batman comics.
7. The Tale of Three Jokers
The DC Universe Rebirth #1 comics set up the theory that there are actually three jokers. A teaser image released before the comic has images of different Joker faces, all with the same grimacing features.
8. A Couple of Jokesters
Many people are aware of Harley Quinn, the Joker's notorious accomplice and a bona fide villain in her own capacity. However, the Joker also had his own sidekick, a little person named Gaggy. This was back in the 40s and 50s, and if you ask me, that's where it should stay.
9. The Joker From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
This may be a more commonly known fact, but for those who don’t know, surprise! The Joker has been portrayed by many actors throughout history, but perhaps one of the most iconic performances (besides Heath Ledger) was that of Mark Hamill (you might know him as a obscure Jedi named Luke Skywalker), who voiced the Joker for 20 years in Batman: The Animated Series.
10. Always Getting the Last Laugh
The Joker has actually been eliminated or ended numerous times throughout his existence. Somehow, he always manages to come back and say, “Hi Batsy!”
11. All by Himself
The Joker was and is such an iconic character that his fame rivals that of Batman himself, which is why it would seem like a great idea for the Joker to have his own comic series. Well, they tried that, but at the time the rules of the Comics Code Authority required all villains to be apprehended at the end of an issue, and this tightened the possibilities for narrative and plotlines. His first standalones only lasted nine issues.
12. He’s Got Brains
It's been heavily suggested that the Joker knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne. While the Joker's identity remains unknown, there have been instances in the comics that hint that the Joker is a step ahead of the Batman. For example, he always targets people close to Bruce Wayne, and he's even cut off Alfred’s hand.
13. Joker-Oker-Oker, Where Are You?
In a Scooby-Doo episode titled “The Caped Crusader Caper,” the Joker made a fun appearance where he joins with The Penguin and kidnaps a professor, which sends the Scooby-Doo gang on a new mystery.
14. Joker’s Origin
Alan Moore (one of the most renowned novelists in the comic book genre) is largely recognized for formulating the Joker's origin story. However, Moore's inspiration for the narrative was derived from the 1951 story “The Man Behind The Red Hood". This is why the Joker was originally called the Red Hood. In this origin, the Joker was created after he fell into a vat of chemicals.
15. Getting a Little Crazy
In 1996, things got a bit weird in the comic book world as a DC/Marvel crossover released an issue titled “Legends of the Dark Claw,” which featured Batman merging with Wolverine, becoming Dark Claw, and the Joker fusing with Sabretooth, becoming Hyena.
16. The Big Grin on the Big Screen
The Joker’s cinematic debut was in Tim Burton’s Batman movie, as played by Jack Nicholson. Nicholson launched an iconic role and left his mark not only by giving a great performance; he actually even chose the makeup design for his Joker, working closely with Burton to build the character.
17. Middle-Aged Man
The casting of Nicholson as the Joker had a great impact on the role largely due to the fact that the Joker of the comics is much younger than Nicholson. The choice to cast Nicholson resulted in the Joker becoming a middle-aged man, which allowed the writers to script him as the killer of Batman’s parents.
18. It’s Getting Real
For the production of Squad, Warner Bros. appointed a therapist/life coach to be present on set and support the cast during the filmmaking process. Many people believe this is because off the toll playing the Joker took on actor Heath Ledger. I mean, it definitely seemed to take a toll on Jared Leto.
19. Round of Applause
Heath Ledger's take on the Joker was truly astounding. Heath was known to stay in character with full makeup on set, and his ability to get into the mind of the Joker is seen many times throughout The Dark Knight. However, the role also required him to go to some dark places: before filming, he locked himself in a hotel for a month so that he could feel completely isolated.
20. A Clockwork Joker
When Ledger was researching the part of the Joker, Stanley Kubrick's chilling film A Clockwork Orange was a massive inspiration for his acting choices.
21. Leaving a Legacy
Ledger’s performance as the Joker led many to speculate that the role brought him down a dark, twisted path into the mind of the character. But in a new documentary, I Am Heath Ledger, family and friends dispute this and say it was quite the opposite. They say that playing the role of the Joker brought great joy to the actor’s life as he loved the sense of humor of the character.
22. A Family Man
According to accounts of both the Joker and the Riddler, a woman named Jeannie is said to be the wife of the man who became the Joker. Carrying an unborn child, Jeannie was in a household accident and neither she nor the child made it out alive. This tragedy may be a major reason why the Joker went insane.
23. What Could Have Been
Can you imagine Robin Williams as the Joker? Well, it almost happened. Williams was considered for the role in Tim Burton’s Batman, but it never worked out. It’s a shame because that would have been an awesome character for Williams, but it's not like Jack Nicholson was anything to sneeze at.
24. Precious Gifts
The most recent portrayal of the Joker was by Jared Leto in the film 'Squad' that includes a word meaning to end one's own life. Leto’s take on the role saw a younger, punkier Joker take the stage, and Leto really gave it his all. He might have even given too much. He remained in character while on set, thoroughly unnerving all of his co-stars. He sent Margot Robbie, who played Harley Quinn, a live rat and a love letter. Meanwhile, he gifted the other cast members with the unsettling present of a lifeless pig.