Note: The following post contains minor spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises
It didn't take long after The Dark Knight came out for Christopher Nolan to announce that he wouldn't use the Joker or Heath Ledger's portrayal of the character in any subsequent Batman movies. He told EW, "I felt very strongly that the Joker was off-limits. I don’t want to trivialize a tragedy like that by explaining it away in some fashion. I made the choice, immediately, that talking about the Joker was off the table. It’s just the way I feel about it, based on my relationship with Heath." Of course that's not stopping fans from coming up with their own versions of how the Joker could've factored into the story of The Dark Knight Rises.
One fan took their vision to the next level by storyboarding a sequence in which the Joker could've made an all-too-brief cameo in Nolan's final Batman film, just as other characters from the franchise did. The idea behind these storyboards, created by Sam Saxton, is that during the prison release scene where Bane frees all of those criminals locked up behind bars, one of those prisoners would've been the Joker, who, as seen here, becomes distraught when he realizes his cell isn't one that's opening like the rest.
Of course comic fans have been quick to point out the flaws in this idea -- the most noticeable being that Joker would probably be locked up at Arkham instead of Blackgate -- but it's still a cute idea from a fan's perspective. From Nolan's perspective, though, it's not hard to understand why he wouldn't want to go near this character, and we respect him for that.
It does make you wonder what sort of film The Dark Knight Rises would've been had Heath Ledger still been alive. Would he have returned as the villain? Popped up for a brief cameo? Would it have been a better film? Did the finale need this character?
What do you think?
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