The arch-nemesis of the Dark Knight, the Joker has transcended from just being a criminally insane supervillain to one who challenges the very existence of Batman and his unshakeable morality. Over the years, the Joker has been played by various actors starting with Cesar Romero against Adam West in the 1960s Batman live-action television series. Since then, the character has been played by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), Jared Leto in Suicide Squad (2016), and most recently by Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (2019), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. With so many unforgettable performances, the Joker has become synonymous with insanity, and in some cases, anarchy. The character’s mysterious past and eerie presence has fuelled numerous fan theories that are as crazy as the Clown Prince of Crime. Here are 15 crazy fan theories that will leave you shocked.
1. The Joker Is The Real Hero Of ‘The Dark Knight’
Before the Joker arrived, Gotham was a breeding ground for corruption and crime. A decadence of morality, the streets of Gotham reeked of hedonistic debauchery committed by the mob and the powerful men. But as soon as the Clown Prince of Crime arrived, the mob-families quickly fizzled out. While the Joker was surely a psychopath who didn’t have any concern for human lives, his radical ideology eliminated organized crime in no time. His willingness to go the extra mile to butcher mobsters and policemen (who were mostly corrupted and having a hushed affair with criminals) made all the difference. Surely, the Joker is no role model. Worse, he is a deranged psychopath who should have been hanged. But nonetheless, the Joker cleaned the streets of Gotham in a much more efficient way whereas the Dark Knight was having a hard time rounding up the city’s criminals while using superior tech and an intimidating costume. The Joker might have failed to prove his point, but his actions definitely lifted the city’s morale, as the people of Gotham held their ground during moral crisis. Not to mention, he also got rid of a costumed vigilante, forcing him to retire for nearly eight years.
2. The Joker Is A War Veteran
Heath Ledger’s Joker was not just an agent of chaos and madness. He was also a skilled fighter who was able to take down trained police officers and take Batman head-on during their epic clash. A highly trained tactician, the Joker orchestrated his nearly flawless plan which resulted in the death of Harvey Dent, Rachel Dawes, and forced the Dark Knight to retire from his crime-fighting career. While not implied explicitly, all these skills are not mere coincidences. Even during the police ritual burial, his movements were seamless, which hints at his background as former military personnel. As a former member of the military, he must have undergone various torture methods which explain his unflinching demeanor during the unforgettable interrogation scene where Batman viciously attacked him.
3. The Joker Can Escape Death
While it has never been mentioned that the Joker is immortal, even in the comics, the Clown Prince of Crime has always seemed to escape death. Be it falling from great heights or getting shot, the Joker always comes back, more insane than before. The freak accident, which caused his disfigurement and made him insane might also have granted him unnatural regenerative powers. While those powers might not be on par with the Wolverine or Deadpool, they are strong enough to let the Joker cheat death on multiple occasions. This is where it gets interesting since he always encourages Batman to snap and become a murderer by killing him. But if the Dark Knight ever succumbs to his darker instincts, it will be the Joker’s greatest win. Though the Joker won’t die, the act of killing will taint Batman’s no-killing policy, thus proving that everyone has their limits. And, that’s the cruelest joke the Joker can play on Batman.
4. Arthur Fleck’s Dance Was Symbolic
In Todd Phillips’ Joker, Arthur Fleck was shown to dance gracefully at times for no particular reason. While this might be attributed to his deranged psyche, the dance might be much more symbolic than it seems. When Arthur kills the bullies in the subway, he forays into the world of chaos and murder for the first time. The rush of adrenaline and the temptation of his dark underlying instincts are something he cannot quite fully comprehend. As a result, his dance is slow and unenthusiastic. However, as the movie progresses, his dance becomes much more explicit, almost frightening, since he gradually understands his motives, and what he has become due to the crumbling society.
5. The Joker Is A Former CIA Agent Gone Rogue
The one fan theory that has received widespread attention is that Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight was actually a former CIA agent who went rogue. While the movie never explicitly confirmed this detail, the traits of an accomplished CIA agent can be seen in the Joker upon closer inspection. From using war paint for intimidation tactics to his advanced knowledge regarding explosives, the Joker might be a former CIA agent who was left for dead during a mission. If you watch closely, the Joker uses the term ‘jurisdiction’ frequently. Only law enforcement types use that word regularly. It is highly possible that the Joker had a nihilistic awakening after being left for dead by the CIA, which explains his radical views.
6. Joker’s ‘You Wouldn’t Get It’ Line Is A Set Up For A Joke Ending In Murder
In the final scene, when the Joker hums the lyrics to “That’s Life” I’ve read a few interpretations that go pretty deep. I took it at a bit more of face value and just wondering what the general census is. It seemed to me that he said, “you wouldn’t get it” to illicit her response as part of his joke, much like the way a knock-knock joke requires a “who’s there.” This happens as the lyrics are “I said that’s life (that’s life), and as funny as it may seem. Some people get their kicks stompin’ on a dream.” So, she responds with what I think most would expect anyone to say to “you wouldn’t get it.” She says, “try me.” At which point he throws her to the ground and crushes her “dream” (head) by “stomping” on it, thus ending her “life.” The evidence of which we see from the bloody footprints.
7. John Blake Is The Joker’s Son
Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the role of John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises. The acolyte detective became a powerful ally of Jim Gordon and ultimately, the Batman, in their fight against Bane and his army. As it was widely thought that Blake became Robin at the end of the movie, a fan theory has suggested that his past might be truly horrifying. According to the theory, Blake is the son of the Joker for various reasons. Considering the theory that the Joker was a former war veteran, he probably struggled to keep his demons in check and lost himself in the world of drugs, gambling, and the mob. It is possible that the Joker had a child somewhere in the late ’80s, and soon forgot about him. As a result, John Blake was adopted into various foster homes, and ultimately found his place in the orphanage due to his anger issues. Even in the movie, Blake said this particular line which explains this twisted connection: “You gotta learn to hide the anger. Practice smiling in the mirror. It’s like putting on a mask.”
8. The Joker Formerly Worked For Gotham City Police Department
While the theory of the Joker is a former war veteran has gained considerable clout, another similar theory has also prevailed which states that he was actually a member of the Gotham City Police Department. Despite being a psychopath with no concern for human lives, the Joker never really went out of his way to harm civilians. Most of his attacks were coordinated on either the mob or the police themselves.
Prior to the movie, the Joker might have been an undercover cop whose identity was blown. As a result, he was brutally tortured by the mob, which explains his scars. Since he was undercover, his identity was probably only known to a few officials. It is quite plausible that the officials were either killed by the mob or by the Joker himself, when he returned for vengeance.
9. The Majority Of ‘Joker’ Happens Solely In Arthur’s Mind
Apart from suffering from a laughing disorder, Arthur Fleck also suffers from Severe Fantasy Prone Personality disorder. This is subtly hinted at when Arthur is shown to be a caring, amiable, and considerably normal person when he first meets the therapist. As the story progresses, Arthur is shown to have met a love interest, another Black female who resembles his therapist. But when the movie nears its end, Arthur snaps out of his fantasies and disconnects from Sophie. In the movie, he does commit a murder, but it is just the therapist he met at first. Everything else happened in his mind.
10. The Joker’s Final Story About His Scars Is The Real One
In Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman is indirectly responsible for creating the Joker. One fan theory has suggested that Nolan subtly paid homage to the comics in the final act of the movie. When Batman confronts the Joker on the top of a building, the Joker bursts into a burst of maniacal laughter when he is thrown off the ledge by the Dark Knight, only to be caught at the end. At that moment, Batman realized that his crimefighting career is responsible for creating the Joker. At some point in his career, Batman was responsible for giving those scars to a street-criminal, who later became the Joker.
11. The Joker Doesn’t Actually Care About His Origin Story
It is pretty much established that the Joker doesn’t really care about anything. In The Dark Knight, the Joker becomes an agent of chaos. But despite his actions, Batman never really shows any real interest in his origins. It also clearly doesn’t matter to the Joker himself. He’s telling these stories to mess with people. He knows that they want to impose some kind of rationality on what he’s doing. If there’s some reason for all of this, maybe you can predict what he’s going to do. But there isn’t, so he just lies about it. His “origin story” is, to him, a series of jokes that he tells to people.
12. The Joker Is Ra’s Al Ghul’s Back-Up Plan
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne trains under Ra’s Al Ghul to become an accomplished ninja/warrior. However, the student and the teacher have a fallout when Bruce becomes disgusted with Ra’s Al Ghul’s radical ideology of killing and cleansing as a viable way to stop crime. Even in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane is revealed to be a member of the League of Shadows, who was tasked with destroying Gotham for its ever-rising corruption and crime. However, a fan theory has emerged that also considers the Joker as a sleeper agent of the League of Shadows who was created by Scarecrow. Upon the Joker’s arrival, Gotham’s mob-families were running for shelter and the rampant corruption came to a screeching halt. Like the Joker said, he is just ahead of the curve.
13. The Joker Is A Voice In Bruce’s Head
It has been a long-standing theory that Bruce Wayne was never able to overcome his trauma. As a result, he imagines all these wild scenarios where he becomes Batman and fights numerous costumed supervillains as a path to get emotional closure. Batman is a figment of Bruce’s imagination – a creation of his psychosis, in which he takes on the form of the one thing he fears the most and hunts down criminals like just like those who murdered his family.
14. Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka Becomes Heath Ledger’s Joker
The uncanny similarity between Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and Heath Ledger’s the Joker has led to some interesting fan theories. While Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory might be termed as a movie for children, it did have some horrific moments that could make a grown man go insane. In the movie, a kid was shown to be drowning in a river of chocolate, followed by Willy Wonka losing his mind for a second in the tunnel. Already close to his tipping point, the loss of his factory finally made Willy Wonka snap. To hide from the world, Willy escapes in his glass elevator. But as fate would have it, his machine malfunctioned right when he was flying above the streets of Gotham. Though the fall didn’t kill him, it left him scarred, particularly near his lips. The cathartic experience of escaping death pushes him to pursue an almost Nietzschean ideology of twisted nihilism. As a result, he gradually climbs up the crime ladder to become an established mobster. And honestly, Willy Wonka was always a twisted individual from the beginning. Who lures children to a dangerous chocolate factory in their right minds?
15. John Daggett Is Related To The Joker
Ben Mendelsohn’s brief performance as John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises is a definite highlight from the movie. However, a fan theory has suggested that Daggett might be related to the Joker, considering his subtle mannerisms, including the slimy lip-licking and eye-rolling. And as Gordon says later in the film, “You’re a detective now. For you, there are no more coincidences.”
In The Dark Knight, Alfred once talked about his time in Rangoon where a man was often stealing precious rubies only to throw them away. As a parallel to “some men just want to watch the world burn“, Daggett’s connection with the Joker puts this perspective in a new light. While Daggett might have been a billionaire who was responsible for toppling third-world countries for his own profit, the Joker was someone who never really cared for all the riches in the world. He just simply wanted to watch the world burn.