Joker in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’; Bane Mask Concept Artwork Revealed

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The Joker Dark Knight Rises Location Joker in The Dark Knight Rises; Bane Mask Concept Artwork Revealed

Christopher Nolan may have successfully put a cap on his Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises but that doesn’t mean that all of our questions were answered. During a lengthy special edition of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, one (of several) questions that interested the Screen Rant editorial team was the location of Heath Ledger’s iconic villain, The Joker. Nolan had openly commented that the film would not reference the fan-favorite character, out of respect for the now-deceased actor, but a real-world explanation didn’t stop fans from speculating on where the “Clown Prince of Crime” might have been during Bane’s assault on Gotham City.

Now we’ve got a minute tease regarding the location of The Joker at the time of The Dark Knight Rises – by way of the film’s novelization tie-in – and, much like the enigmatic villain, his location is still pretty mysterious.

An excerpt from The Dark Knight Rises: The Official Novelization, by Greg Cox, offers insight into where The Joker might have been holed-up – without, in keeping with the Nolan approach, outright grounding speculation with a firm answer:

“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.”

The mention of Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) is an interesting tidbit that is not developed, leading to further questions about the anti-heroine’s past – possibly the reason she was so eager for a “fresh start”? Of course, a more likely purpose for namedropping the character could be, with Batman out of the game, Kyle had taken-up the Caped Crusader’s penchant for hacking into law enforcement databases. Batman does, after all, question Kyle about Bane and his mercenaries.

It’s definitely commendable that the director didn’t want to alter Ledger’s interpretation of the villain by shoe-horning him into The Dark Knight Rises storyline; however, there’s no doubt that the character’s presence was missed – especially since he’s not even referenced by name – and other characters from prior installments reappear. Ultimately, the novelization “explanation” is definitely fun to think about – Ledger’s Joker alone in the ruins of Arkham Asylum (or not) – even if it doesn’t actually provide the kind of closure that some fans might have hoped. That said, who wants closure on such iconic characters? Isn’t it more fun to think about caped heroes and costumed villains locked in an eternal struggle of cat and mouse – or as the Joker reasoned:

“You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

Where the novelization gave further insight into the potential fate of The Joker, The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Trilogy offers a candid look into the creation of The Dark Knight Rises‘ leading man, Bane (played by Tom Hardy).

Screen Rant regulars will likely remember that the art book also features an emotional goodbye letter to Batman from Nolan. However, as expected, it’s also chock full with cool pre-production artwork including a look at early sketches of Bane’s mask as well as a better look at the Batcave.

Check out a few handpicked images below (or head over to Comic Book Movie for a larger spread):

Please Do Not discuss Dark Knight Rises SPOILERS here! For discussion of the film, head over to our Dark Knight Rises SPOILER DISCUSSION page.

You can order The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy – HERE and The Dark Knight Rises: The Official NovelizationHERE.

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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on The Dark Knight Rises as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Dark Knight Rises is now open in U.S. theaters (2D and IMAX).

Source: Movies.com and Comic Book Movie

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  1. I would have liked if they at least mentioned The Joker at some point in the movie. I can understand why Nolan didn’t want to, but the character caused too much mayhem in the last film for them to not mention him. Even if the film was set 8 years later.

    • I kind of imagined the Joker was more like a “boogeyman” type character. Never mention him, unless you absolutely have to. He’s probably the kind of monster the mothers of Gotham tell their children about to scare them into cleaning their rooms.

  2. I would have used the Joker as the judge. They could have easily used one of Ledger’s close-up, cutting-room-floor scenes and pulled a stand-in for the long-distance shots … similar to The Crow. Scarecrow could have been the fear inducing executioner.

    • It also would have been good just to show a shadowy hole somewhere deep within the bowels of Arkham. Screaming mad into laughter as Batman is breaking.

    • That seems like way too much work for a small cameo appearance for a character who’s actor has passed away. Better to just leave it be.

    • That’s the worst idea ever….This movie takes place 8 years after The Dark Knight. I always imagined that if Heath hadn’t died Batman 3 would have been about Joker and taken place right after he got thrown in Jail or Akham or where ever. The only reason this movie took the route it did was because it’s hard to make a movie with the Joker in it without the guy that made it. So you just move on to another idea and so in this case they made it take place 8 years later with a different villain

      • it was just an idea. get over yourself.

      • Also remember DiCaprio turned down the Riddler role. Interesting to speculate how that would’ve turned out.

    • that would never work for a number of reasons- dialogue and lighting to name a few.

    • Banes movement represents order, it would be a blatant contradiction for the Joker to have sided with Bane at any point, if anything, the joker would have sided with the Batman

      • The Joker wouldn’t have sided with either of them.

    • When watching that scene I immediately thought, Crane/Scarecrow as the judge is cool, but it WOULD be cooler if the Joker was doing it.

      Though thinking about it a bit more, wouldn’t the Joker find that a bit boring? I reckon he would probably try to escape the city and be seen doing it, getting it blown up and then doing his thing all over again in Metropolis or something.

  3. Having Joker play such a role as the judge would be a slap in the face of the character. Even if he was alive and the movie went the same route it would be absolutely dumb and forced.

    • That sounds an awful lot like a personal attack….

  4. Heath Ledger was a good actor but he was not innovative. Here is where he got his Joker.

    • So they are similar. That doesn’t mean he happened upon that youtube video and stole it, hoping no one would notice. He locked himself in a motel room and got his character down. Don’t try and start some dumb conspiracy about him ripping off Tom Waits.

    • He also stated Tom Waits was indeed inspiration for The Joker, geez.

      • i hate that ever since someone noticed the similarities tho very very close, people are calling it a non innovated performance. He worked extremely hard at his performance and pulled it off with incredible talent.

        • was that for me or him? lol

          • For him lol

        • Because I meant he stated that as inspiration meaning he didn’t outfight copy anyone, there were lots of other variation in his performance.

    • And Johnny Depp got Jack Sparrow from Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew, Robert Downy, Jr. isn’t really playing Tony Stark as much as he’s just being an exaggerated version of himself.

      At the end of the day, Tom Waits is really only a foundation upon which Mr. Ledger built the rest of his performance. Please don’t make something out of nothing.

      • I still think jack Nicholson was prob the best joker for he displayed insanity to a whole new height Heath ledger took it down a few notches

        • Not really.

  5. I’m reading the novelization as we speak, and it seems to me that the officials locked the Joker up in an undisclosed location. Reasons being so that no one could attack him for revenge’s sake, which would make it less likely for him to escape. If a simple or “intelligent” individual were to attack, then he would most likely find an opportunity to become free and perform more of his social ‘experiments’ on Gotham City. He probably is in Arkham, under careful watch, and under lock and key. He’s an extreme danger to others around him, solitary confinement wouldn’t be enough, so confining him on an island would be your next best bet. Other than killing him of course which would solve the problem altogether… but where would be the fun in that.

  6. I really don’t understand why people bother ‘missing’ the Joker at all anyway. We all knew when the movie was announced that he wasn’t going to appear in any form, yet everyone’s still making a fuss about his presence in the movie being sorely lacking. What happened to taking the film as a stand-alone thing?

    All it does, IMO, is make people enjoy the movie less.

    Plus, would a reference or short cameo make the movie better? No. And all it would do is highlight further for the people who already ‘miss’ the Joker how absent he is in TDKR. So it serves no purpose whatsoever – as far as I’m concerned, having him referenced in extra tie-in material like the novelisation is a better step.

    Besides, as mindblowing as Heath Ledger’s performance was, I really think he gave it his all…I can’t exactly see the Joker topping himself were he to be the TDKR antagonist. We all got tired of Jack Sparrow…maybe it’s good that they let his sole performance stand alone and stay fresh.

    • I think it’s just kind of a plot hole, in a way. In the events of the film, Gotham would have been The Joker’s playground. Where was he? Why wasn’t he reveling in the chaos, or trying himself to kill Bane and finally win the battle for Gotham’s soul?

      And in the end – and this was mentioned in the Screen Rant podcast – 20 or 25 years from now, when a lot of the audience doesn’t know the particulars what happened to Heath Ledger, people will wonder why he’s missing even more than now.

      • I think people have the whole ‘Bane sets the prisoners free’ thing confused. He busted open Blackgate prison, NOT Arkham Asylum, where the Joker supposedly was kept. No mention was made of Arkham being broken free, and I don’t think the League would be particularly interested in freeing legitimately insane people (since they were trying to feed into the idea of corruption etc., Blackgate is the priority target because of the Dent Act).

        So I don’t see it as a plot hole at all. The Joker was captured at the end of TDK, and likely put into Arkham. The only thing the novelisation makes clear (and I’m not even sure we can consider it canon) is that the Joker’s whereabouts aren’t entirely known to the general public, but it could just likely be that he was thrown into Arkham and locked away forever.

        And again, I don’t think Bane and the League would really want the Joker on their side…remember they are ‘cleansing’, and in their eyes that’s justice. I hardly think they would approve of the Joker’s aim of instigating chaos just for the sake of it.

        • but wasnt scarecrow in arkham?? that’s where it went wrong, the scarecrow somehow managed to escape arkham…..

          • He was locked up in Blackgate because of the Dent Act vis his imvolvement with organized crime

    • Still….there is about 15 minutes of unused Joker footage that could’ve been used in the movie to just bring that “awe” into it some more! Think about it, out of the blue while the prison is letting loose, they decide to head to Arkham next and let loose, and we see The Joker part of that little mayhem!!! Not to mention that it would’ve provided another check for his widow and daughter!

  7. I believe that even if Bane knew Joker was in Arkham, that he wouldn’t have broken him out. Bane only wanted people to join him if they were easily controllable and would follow his orders. The Joker doesn’t follow anyone’s rules besides his own. And The Joker’s main motive from The Dark Knight wasn’t to destroy Gotham, but to expose the dark nature of all people and to prove that the people of Gotham, when put into the life or death situation, could easily be turned into merciless killers like himself. At least that’s what I believe The Joker’s ultimate motive was.

  8. Yes!

  9. I like to think they wasted no time sending him to the electric chair. And since eight years have passed since then, he’s not mentioned in DKR.

  10. I kind of hate how just because Heath Ledger died that the Joker wasn’t evem mentioned. Yeah. I see why, but I think that he shouldve atleast been mentioned. People die everyday. Its not like he died while filming. Look at The Crow. The actor died on set and they still went on with the movie and sequels/remakes. Ibthink.it would have been more of a way to remember him if they would have mentioned the joker.

    • …and hence my idea to at least make some kind of cameo. Maybe going nuts in a hole as he knew Batman was about to be destroyed…as if someone else was stealing his fun.

    • The Crow continued with different actors playing different characters though, each as their own standalone piece after Lee died.

      That has nothing to do with leaving Joker out of this movie because Joker is one guy, The Crow can be many.

      As much as I love Joker, not only in TDK but in the comics too, I really didn’t miss him in TDKR and if he’d been mentioned or shown in some form, I would’ve found it incredibly stupid and pointless fanservice.

      Seriously people, get over it.

  11. Personally, I would have preferred to hear that the Joker had escaped several years previously (in line with his comic book counterparts bad-habit) and had occasionally been causing a nuisance, but for the most part remained hidden…

  12. I don’t know why some people are hammering on this subject… Nolan didn’t want to mention the Joker out of respect for Heath Ledger.
    If they’d have shown him as the judge in the movie it would have cheapened his portrayal IMO.
    Someone mentioned that they could have just shown a closed door with an outline/shadow of the Joker and a sound of laughter… that could have worked very well, but where would they have included that scene? Wouldn’t it have felt out of place? – I think so.

    Joker being the sole inmate at Arkham? I’d buy that. Sounds like a valid explanation IMO. It would have been cool if they’d have mentioned that in the movie, or just alluded to it on a tv screen or something. but I’m not too hung up about it. I understand why he wasn’t mentioned and I respect Nolan’s decision.

  13. have the concept art draw nolans kids ? no,fun by side but it would be cooler if they would show more and already done conceptarts from bane and catwoman. like the – t.am.sp.- concept they were realy cool.

  14. TDKR Storyboard: Where is/was The Joker scene.

    http://i.imgur.com/Pgv1Y.jpg

  15. It isn’t that big of a deal. People are asking for him to be in there for kind of ridiculous purposes. Scarecrow came back as the judge and that showed Bane’s ‘justice system’ for Gotham. I don’t really see how the Joker could have fit in unless Nolan went out of his way to go “Here is Joker! Remember? The guy from the last movie? Yeah that one.” People know the Joker. But this was not his movie. And, I respect Nolan’s decision to not put him in out of respect for Ledger. You may not like the decision but it is the one that was made. We can sit here all day whining that he wasn’t in it but at the end of the day it was Nolan’s choice. Not ours. The movie was great. Stop nit picking.

  16. Why are people getting mad if some of us wanted to see Joker in the movie? We can dream, can’t we? And I’m sure some people have already written fan scripts including him. Let them have their fun.

    Personally, I thought TDK was better than DKR for a number of reasons. Nolan does not own the character of the Joker. I understand his decision, and I think if Ledger hadn’t died, and the Joker returned in DKR, it would have been a better movie.

  17. Personally I like the idea that the Joker got taken to Arkham Asylum where he eventually went catatonic from boredom when Batman retired for 8 years, leaving him nothing to fuel his psychotic mind (that did actually happen in one of the comics). Though I love the Joker, I’m glad that he wasn’t shown in TDKR because I don’t think that showing unused footage of him does his character or Heath Ledger justice.

  18. I absolutely understand why Nolan passed on referencing Jokers character into the film. Still, it seemed a little lacking without mentioning such a character that turned Gotham upside down. I mean Harvey Dent still had a presence in the film but the man who completely change things in Gotham did not get so much of glance. Heck he push Dent over the edge. Either way the film worked out fine so it’s all good.

  19. Prisoner 1 – “Bane, shall we free the Joker?”

    Bane – “And let someone as insane as him run free in our city? Fool, keep him confined, he too deserves his punishment.”

    Something as simple as that would have been nice and I would think that it would make people more happy at the very least. And in no way would it disrespect Heath or his character.

  20. Jokerblogs. I know it isn’t canon, but it’s a great story and I would have been happy if it would have been referenced. Not to mention the actor did a tremendous job.

  21. well ok

  22. It’s pretty simple, the Joker was kept in Arkham Asylum which is an ASYLUM, police only imprison crazy people there, people that has problems in their minds, as we were able to watch in the first movie, when they ask Doctor Crane (Scarecrow) to analyze Falcone’s mental state, after Crane sprays Falcone with his “fear cocktail” and only then, they decide to send Falcone to Arkham ASYLUM which was located in the “Narrows”,across the bridge, as you can see in the first movie when Batman jumps across the draw bridge with the Tumbler. Now, since Bane destroyed every Bridge but one, and the only one that he didn’t destroy wasn’t the one leading to Arkham, because the bridge that led to Arkham was a Draw Bridge, even if Joker would have escaped from Arkham there was no way in which he would have been able to enter Gotham.

    Last but not least, this article mantions that Blackgate Prison had “replaced Arkham Asylum as a preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons” well, it had not, because Blackgate is meant to keep ordinary felons, now “super villains” such as every Poison Ivy, Bane, Joker, Penguin and every villain that have caused trouble to Batman have something in common, their minds are evil, they always plan to affect the whole city, not only murder some random guy or kidnap another guy, because they have no logical reasons to do what they do, they are not in search of money… they just want to watch the world burn.

    PS: If you wonder why Scarecrow was in Blackgate, well in spite of his crazyness, he also had an incredible skill of self-control, he had always been a crazy man, even at the start of Batman Begins, but he was able to act as a normal person, for that reason he might have been able to convince any psychiatrist that analyzed him, that he was a sane person.

    • Mystery solved.

      PS: mentions* (second paragraph, first line)

    • thank you, that is what i said while we were debating this at work the other day and everyone was all like “NO!!!!”.

      • Well dude, you had tour mouth filled up with truth… you were spilling truth.

        • your*

  23. I think the Joker would have eventually been executed before the events of TDKR ever occurred. This of course, is going based off of CHristopher Nolan’s intention of realism. Lets not forget that the Joker was responsible for the death of a couple cops and a judge. Not to mention terrorism and the crimes of homicide and strong arm robbery that he was wanted for at the beginning of TDK. Killing a cop is a felony, and warrants an automatic death sentence. Bottom line, we would have us one dead clown. Then again, that doesn’t make for a very interesting idea to explore.

  24. I think that if Heath Leager was still alive, The Joker and Bane would have made a great comeback against the Batman. Just think Joker was just as Phyco as Bane and they were both Terrorist trying to destroy Gothem City. This would have indeed made a perfect movie Bane and Joker Alliances lol

  25. No mention of Ras in TDK…never bothered me.

    So no mention of Joker in TDKR is fine with me, too.

  26. Bane and the League had a plan… and if you’ve got a plan then the last thing you do is add the Joker to the environment. He can’t be planned for, can’t be relied upon to play a part. What you do is exactly what the novelization suggested. You leave his crazy ass locked in the deepest, darkest hole you can find.

    Trying to involve Joker in a plan is like trying to light your BBQ with an artillery shell. Guaranteed to have explosive and unexpected side effects.

  27. I Read a interview with Chris Nolan he said He didn’t want the film to be ‘Just another Joker movie’ (OK, not his exact words but that’s what he said)

    • Forgot to mention, I’m sure in the novel that The Joker’s in a Coma, but he wakes up and terrorizes the city, or am I thinking of the wrong Canon ?

  28. miss heath

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