The Joker had left an indelible mark on pop culture long before Heath Ledger assumed the role. He’s one of the few super villains to be consistently featured on merchandise going as far back as the 1960s. His classic semi-origin story in 1998’s Batman: The Killing Joke spurred a dramatic shift in the medium that left fans demanding more of its darkness in their comics. The Joker’s place in the cultural firmament was enough to lure the likes of Jack Nicholson to portray the character on the silver screen. For decades, despite his myriad misdeeds and sizable body count, The Joker nevertheless garnered a consistent crowd of acolytes who saw him as a sort of harlequin antihero.
However, Ledger and Christopher Nolan’s take on the character would change his complexion in the popular consciousness in ways we’re still feeling a decade later. Joker had long since been an agent of chaos, mixing garish, loony displays with unnerving malevolence. But in 2008’s The Dark Knight, that sense of chaos found both an ideological weight under Nolan’s hand and a captivating avatar in Ledger’s interpretation that extended The Joker’s reach and influence beyond what anyone involved could have imagined.
Script By: Andrew Bloom
Editor: Perry Froelich
Voice Over: Caroline Daniel
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