Note: Be warned, possible spoilers for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES ahead.
Last week the world finally got to feast their eyes on Christopher Nolan’s final entry in his Batman trilogy. We could obviously sit and argue up and down about rather or not it lives up to the previous films and debate the overall quality of the film- which from my side of the coin I find THE DARK KNIGHT RISES to be a phenomenal film and a near perfect wrap-up of the series. One thing that has been debated about the film is that Joker was nowhere to be found- at least as far as anyone can tell. Obviously we all know that the character wasn’t going to play a big part in the film, out of respect Heath Ledger who played the role brilliantly in THE DARK KNIGHT and passed away after filming.
What people may have at least hoped for- since even Dr. Crane/Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) made yet another appearance- was that Joker would at least be referenced to at some point even if they didn’t actually show him. Well what if I told you that Joker IS referenced in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES- that is, if you get your hands on the movie novelization.
Sure you can go see it multiple times in theaters or wait for the DVD and scan the film frame by frame, but you will likely never have the closure you want. Now it seems that in the book tie in the character is name dropped which you can read below. It’s possible the reference could have been included in the film- possibly in a deleted scene- and maybe Nolan or the studio decided that it just wasn’t necessary to use or this is just here to quench the thirst of those wanting some sort of Joker inclusion in the final installment of the franchise.
Here’s a selection from the book:
“Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible for the city’s criminals to cop an insanity plea, it (Blackgate Prison) had replaced Arkham Asylum as a preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina.”
There have also been other outlets of fans filling in their own blanks with the use of storyboards that you can check out and imagine for yourself in context of the film- though it’s almost a certainty that Joker never had a millisecond of screen time in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES or even a place in the final script. Check out the storyboards below and feel free to share your opinion on both the lines from the novelization and the storyboard.