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The Joker is one of the most iconic and popular villains in history. And we're not just referring
to the history of comic books when we say that - Batman's arch-enemy stands up alongside
the likes of Professor Moriarty, Darth Vader, The Wicked Witch of the West, Cruella de Vil
and the Devil himself as one of the most recognizable bad guys in fiction. As a result of his popularity,
there have been countless adaptations of the character across various media platforms.
As well as appearing in comic books and graphic novels, The Joker has appeared on television,
in movies, in video games and on all manner of merchandise and paraphernalia.In terms
of mainstream versions of the character, the ones that have appeared in movies are undoubtedly
the most well known, and it's pretty amazing how fresh the character has remained in each
depiction - and this video is going to run through them in chronological order, discussing
each version and how they differ from each other. Welcome to The Evolution of The Joker
on the big screen. Cesar Romero
The late Cesar Romero was the first man to portray the Clown Prince of Gotham in live
action on the big screen, reprising his role from the Batman television series in a 1966
movie. In the movie, The Joker teamed up with The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman to form
the United Underworld - a quartet that posed a very significant threat to Adam West's Batman
and Burt Ward's Robin.This version of The Joker was the lightest of them all - which
was fitting with the era and the tone of the television series and movie in which he appeared.
He was unashamedly camp, wore a bright pink suit, and was more like a pantomime villain
than a ruthless criminal overlord.He first appeared in the TV episode "The Joker is Wild"
and made his last appearance in the episode entitled "The Joker’s Flying Saucer". In
between those, he appeared in twenty more episodes, as well as the aforementioned movie.
As he appeared more, his schemes and gadgets got more and more crazy and elaborate - and
he even had his own version of Batman's utility belt, which held devices with names like "strangling
screamers" in it. Incidentally, Romero refused to shave his moustache for this role, so The
Joker's white face makeup was simply heavily smeared over it whenever he played the character.
He remains one of the most memorable versions of the character to this day, in spite of
the fact that he last appeared 48 years ago. Jack Nicholson
In 1989, the man who was clearly born to play The Joker took on the role of the character
- and he did so brilliantly. That man was, of course, Jack Nicholson, and he made his
one and only appearance as the character in Tim Burton's Batman. The Joker had appeared
on the small screen in numerous animated series since Romero's version had last been seen,
but this live action, big screen return was long overdue.Nicholson's Joker still possessed
an element of campness - you could clearly see the influence of Cesar Romero - but Burton
and Nicholson took the character down a much darker route.This version was violent and
temperamental and, even when he was being light and funny, those moments would be juxtaposed
with acts of physical brutality. In the same vein, his bright purple suit and constant
sickly smile were in stark contrast to the drab and very grey version of Gotham City
created by Burton for this movie - something that gave the character an edge and made him
even more unsettling.His line "have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight"
has become one of the most iconic in cinema history and defines Nicholson's interpretation brilliantly.
Many still argue that this version is the definitive Joker, but that's simply
a matter of opinion. Mark Hamill
Although this video is mainly focusing on live action adaptations of the character,
no such video would be complete without mentioning Mark Hamill's animated version of The Joker.The
Star Wars legend has loaned his voice to the character since 1992 - commencing with Batman:
The Animated Series - but his credits extend to a variety of other DC-based cartoons, and
indeed three movies.The first movie in which Hamill's Joker appeared was 1993's Batman:
Mask of the Phantasm, which got a theatrical release, but he has also appeared in the direct-to-video
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker from the year 2000, and he will reprise the role in
the eagerly anticipated Batman: The Killing Joke, which will also go straight-to-video
in the summer of 2016. In addition to those productions, he has voiced the character for
various theme park attractions and video games.Hamill's Joker clearly took influence from both Romero
and Nicholson's portrayals of the character, combining laughter, campness, mayhem, totally
crazy schemes, wickedness and dark humour brilliantly. He looks very different to any
version of the character that came before him - although he does still wear the signature
purple suit - and Hamill has received almost universal praise for his voice work with the
character. Heath Ledger
The Dark Knight Trilogy was a huge success. Christopher Nolan brought a level of gritty
realism to the world of Batman that had never been attempted before with Batman Begins,
The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises between 2005 and 2012. But the highlight of
the trilogy was undoubtedly the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker.His sole appearance
came in The Dark Knight, in which he was depicted as a sociopath and a bringer of pure chaos.
He was completely reimagined and his appearance was far more rugged and shabby than that of
any version of the character seen before and, frankly, he was the darkest, most unpredictable
and most violent version as well.To prepare for the role, Ledger reportedly locked himself
away in a hotel room for weeks; perfecting his mannerisms, totally immersing himself
in the character. Some people have theorised that getting inside the head of such a maniacal
character contributed to Ledger's death, but that is, of course, just a theory.Ledger's
passing came just before the release of The Dark Knight in 2008, but he received universal
praise for his performance and even earned a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting
Actor for it. His iconic line "why so serious" will forever live on in cinematic lore.
Jared Leto. Next in line to play The Joker on the big
screen is Jared Leto - a man who will put as much into the role as Ledger did back in
2008 (he's already terrified his fellow cast members by remaining in character at all times
on set - and he's famously sent them some very strange gifts, including bullets and
dead animals).Leto has the responsibility of taking on the role in the DC Extended Universe,
starting with 2016's Suicide Squad and, potentially, in several other movies going forward in the
franchise .This version looks more different to any that came before it than any other
version, with his slicked back green hair, silver teeth and body covered in tattoos.
He looks as though he revels in the pain of other more than other versions, and fans and
critics are completely divided about him, based on what they've seen of him in promotional
material and trailers so far, with some claiming it looks as though Leto and the people behind
Suicide Squad are "trying too hard to be different".It remains to be seen how he will be received
once Suicide Squad is actually released, but the likes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger
are undoubtedly tough acts to follow, and Leto will need to have brought his A-game
to his performance in order to garner favourable reviews. All we can say is that we remain
hopeful of this drastically different version being as brilliant as his predecessors.
Thanks for watching our documentary about the evolution of The Joker. Which version
of the character is your favourite? Our good friends over at the CBR Youtube channel decided
to tackle this question head on and have produced an amazing animated video pinning all of the
Jokers against eachother in a hilariously awesome Joker Debate. Click the preview here
or the link the description to check it out and don’t forget to tell them that Screen
Rant sent you!
That’s all for us, are you looking forward to seeing Jared Leto's take on the character?
Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe to our channel for
more great videos like this one.
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The Amazing Evolution Of The Joker Throughout History

3671 Folder Collection
Kit Yung published on August 12, 2016    Una Li translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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