The Dark Knight almost had a scene that would have changed the entire film

Film’s co-writer said they received ‘pushback’ for wanting to omit the Joker scenes

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 25 July 2023 18:53 BST
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Heath Ledger as the Joker performs grisly pencil trick in The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight almost featured some Joker scenes that would have changed the entire film.

Released in 2008, the film – which was released 15 years ago this week – was critically acclaimed and went on to win Heath Ledger a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

However, writer David S Goyer revealed last year that he, Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan faced pressure from Warner Bros to add several scenes explaining the backstory of Ledger’s villainous Joker.

“I do remember when we were talking about, ‘Well, what if the Joker doesn’t really have an origin story?’ Even after the success of Batman Begins, that was considered a very controversial thing, and we got a lot of pushback,” Goyer said during an interview as part of Comic-Con@Home last year.

He admitted that bosses at Warner Bros ”were worried” and initially opposed the idea before coming round to Nolan’s vision. The film, a follow-up to 2005’s Batman Begins, is commonly regarded to be even more effective for omitting his origin story.

Heath Ledger as the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’

The character would return – played by Jared Leto – in Suicide Squad while, in 2019, Joaquin Phoenix starred in Todd Phillips’ film detailing his origin story.

Phoenix won Best Actor at the 2020 Oscars for the role.

A resurfaced interview with Christian Bale, who played Batman, recently shed light on Ledger’s portrayal.

He revealed that the actor, who died months before the film was released, wanted to be hit for real in one of its key scenes.

Nolan’s latest film, Oppenheimer, has seen him score the third-biggest opening weekend of his career, behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

Find The Independent’s review of the acclaimed biographical drama here.

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