Chris Nolan Firmly Says 'No' to Joker Returning in Batman 3

June 4, 2010
Source: Empire, Obsessed With Film

Joker - The Dark Knight

The only real thing we know about Christopher Nolan's Batman 3, or The Dark Knight sequel, or whatever you want to call it, is that it's coming on July 20th, 2012 - and that's it. We don't know anything else about it and we barely know that Jonathan and Chris Nolan are working on it already. In the latest issue of Empire apparently there's a quote about The Joker in Batman 3 that Obsessed With Film pulled from the mag (it's not out in the US yet). The question was if The Joker is in the cards again? "'No', says Nolan emphatically and unhesitatingly. He resists elaborating simply because, 'I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it.'"

That's the Nolan response for "I'd rather not reveal details about the plot to Batman 3 yet," which is fine by me, because there's no point in spoiling the movie this far out. Nolan doesn't say enough about why Joker won't be back, but if he wants to keep Heath Ledger's legacy intact, I think it's a great decision. In fact, I'm happy to see that he's not going to try and recast the character or bring him back. But I wonder what villains he will pick instead, if not Batman's ultimate nemesis? Maybe the Riddler or someone else just as fun? Only time will tell. At least we know they won't ruin Ledger's Oscar winning performance from The Dark Knight.

Find more posts: Hype, Movie News, TDKR



Nolan respects Ledger enough to let his Joker Rest In Peace. Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the next Batman movie, maybe as the Riddler

Loser on Jun 4, 2010


Bring in Tom Hardy too

Loser on Jun 4, 2010


Well it'd take quite some balls to bring The Joker back after Heath's performance. The chance that someone would do a BETTER job is kinda slim; better to try and write The Joker out of this one and maybe, some more movies down the line (that is, if the franchise continues), they could bring the character back when there's been some water under the bridge and Ledger's spirit isn't as connected to the character as it is now.

Drama on Jun 4, 2010


Sounds good to me. Ledger's performance was amazing so keep it epic forever.

Hedgehog on Jun 4, 2010


Smart move. While I'm not one of those idiots who think that only Ledger should be allowed to be Joker on film (there was seriously a campaign where people thought this), it is way too early for another actor to helm the Joker role and it would only be a negative for the actor and the movie.

SkaOreo on Jun 4, 2010


apparently chris nolan respects heath so much that there are ZERO featurettes about joker in The Dark Knight blu ray/ DVD. i love the man but i just cant understand why. on a further note i do hope chris nolan adds directors commentary to the bluray/dvd, it would be nice to have an insight of the film making process.

andrew on Jun 4, 2010


It's all about image really, he wants to look good so the movie looks good. But there are tons of villains in the batman series so there should be no problem finding a good ones.

Lincoln on Jun 4, 2010


I think bringing back the Joker wouldn't do anything to hurt Ledger's legacy and fans shouldn't keep the character hostage just because Ledger died. In fact, I think Gordon-Levitt might make an even better Joker. He is acrobatically adept and looks enough like Ledger, plus the character wears heavy makeup. Granted they should give the Joker a break at least until the 4th installment.

eric on Jun 4, 2010


I really don't want the Riddler, he's too much like The Joker already...but I trust Nolan and if he and Jonathan Nolan write the character then so be it, I hope that Tom Hardy or JGL get the part of the new villian.

Xerxex on Jun 4, 2010


#8: I disagree. I think the fans and Nolan do right by keeping the character hostage because Ledger died. As much as I love movies, real life trumps them. Respecting a great actor and a great performance in light of the recent tragedy associated with it is more important than milking more life out of the Joker character for the sake of the franchise.

equustel on Jun 4, 2010


The fact hes working with Tom Hardy on Inception gives me the feeling he will be cast as a new batman villain. Watch Bronson, hes already a villain in that movie, a villain someone like Nolan would totally create. Maybe Hardy as Zsaaz or even a modernized Bane would be cool.

Cody w on Jun 4, 2010


O yeah and #8, Nolan has made it clear that Batman 3 will be the conclusion to his Batman.

Cody w on Jun 4, 2010


Two Face? I can't remember if its the Long Halloween or Dark Victory which supports the case of the possibility, but I feel as though he'll be the main villain in Batman 3.

radbots on Jun 4, 2010


@13, nah, Nolan already said 2-face is dead and won't come back. I vote for Riddler!

Antioch on Jun 4, 2010


so help me if he brings Mr. Freeze out i'm going to go ballistic.

Jericho on Jun 4, 2010


he should throw in HUSH for Batman 3

Marius on Jun 4, 2010


What's up with this Riddler obsession? He's already stated he wants to use villains that have not been done yet.

LW on Jun 4, 2010


Thats a dissapointment and aload of bollocks because don't forget what The Joker said to The Batman "You and I are destined to do this forever". If he wasn't gonna make a return then they should have edit that bit out of the film.

Carl on Jun 4, 2010


joker's in arkham, why the hell would he be in part 3 even if ledger was alive? bring on the next villain, nolan's a good enough writer to figure a way around having joker in the film anyways...

kp on Jun 4, 2010


Then I guess we miss out on the debate "the new joker vs. Ledgers' joker".

Jake the snake on Jun 4, 2010


I agree the Joker has been done, and done right. Dont do him again.......not yet. and no Riddler everyone does riddler like the joker which hes not. I cant think of a good one right now but no Joker and no riddler.

Jimmy Love on Jun 4, 2010


I once made a cast and general story for a Batman 3. My cast was: Deathstroke/Slade: Sean Bean Talia Al Ghul: Paz Vega A realistic/non-fat Penguin: Leonardo DiCaprio Riddler: Casey Affleck I never finished the script as I decided it was too similar in story structure to Begins where Penguin= Falcone, Riddler = Scarecrow, Deathstroke = Ra's, but it was a generally sound story in spite of the many characters.

Audioout on Jun 4, 2010


With that said, I still vote for Deathstroke/Slade and the whole regaining control of the League Of Shadows with the help of Talia story personally. It would tie back to Begins nicely as the League is still out there but it doesn't have it's leader anymore and it would get Batman out of Gotham which would make this film stand out from Dark Knight.

Audioout on Jun 4, 2010


Actually, we know a bit about Batman 3, we know it won't feature Mr. Freeze.

Glass on Jun 4, 2010


The plot of Inception reminds me a lot of something The Mad Hatter would come up with.

Audioout on Jun 4, 2010


All on board for no joker.... This is simply Nolan's take on how batman got started and I'm sure that what we saw was their first (of many off-screen) encounter(s). My vote for the new baddie is for the riddler or a non-supernatural bad guy (like dead shot or firefly).

Neva Evah on Jun 4, 2010

27 All I got to say...

Audioout on Jun 4, 2010


I never doubted that Nolan would do otherwise. He is...a G.

Felix on Jun 4, 2010


My villians: Man-bat and Bane. That's what I want. Both awesome, both not done before.

Daniel Felts on Jun 4, 2010


In future installments without Nolan, Clayface would be very cinematic and possibly quite scary if done more like his comic appearances. Will never happen though...sigh.

Audioout on Jun 4, 2010


I wish I could say I didn't see "Batman and Robin" like #29. Bane was in there and was a terrible character. While I would like to see Joker return. Ledger did well, but did nothing to change my opinion of Jack Nicholson's superior performance as the Joker.

The Crow on Jun 4, 2010


Harley Quinn working with Deadshot to take down the Bat

drunkimus on Jun 4, 2010


no shit there ain't going to be no joker in it, sadly we will have to do without him 🙁

DaftPUNKFAN on Jun 4, 2010


or Harley Quinn and Hush

drunkimus on Jun 4, 2010


Batman 3 is going to be FAR less of a hit than TDK no matter what they come up with for the simple reason that without Heath's Joker, the whole story is really a bore... really smart move on his part to not even TRY and revive Joker with another actor as it is going to be bad enough as it is....

blasphemer on Jun 4, 2010


@18... That was one of the best scenes in the film and it would have been disrespectful to Ledger and his family to cut it regardless of future sequels. Real film makers don't think in terms of franchises and just want the best final cut possible; he didn't even know if he was going to do a sequel when he was editing TDK. My vote for a villain would be Zsasz, Firefly, or Hugo Strange...

peloquin on Jun 4, 2010


Nolan has the imagination to invent and introduce a brand new villain into the world of Batman instead of using the same old cast of villains that everone else has used. Now that would be an exciting and orginal twist to the Batman movies!

Hattori Hanzo on Jun 4, 2010


Philip Seymour Hoffman as Penguin.

richard on Jun 4, 2010


Don't think Nolan will go for the Riddler, but Michael C Hall sounds interesting. Nolan likes to use actors from his previous movies so Andy Serkis or Joe Pantoliano may fit the role if the character is right. I like the fact that he wants to end with this third film.

richard on Jun 4, 2010


I find it interesting that Nolan seems to have a thing for the third weekend of July-- Dark Knight came out July 18, Inception will come out July 16, and Batman 3 will come out July 20.

EmilyXIV on Jun 4, 2010


I would like to see Black Mask.

Redbeard on Jun 4, 2010


Catwoman and Phillip Seymore Hoffman as Penguin!

Cmurder on Jun 4, 2010


There definitely needs to be the joker in the third film!! He's batman's arch nemesis and one of the best villians in the franchise, after all he never died in the Dark Knight. Just because Heath Ledger died is no reason to not cast him. Look at how they replaced rachel's character and got away with it, besides it would be relatively easy to pull off cause the joker wears makup (It would definitely have to be cast very carefully though). Honestly who would have known that that was Heath Ledger without being told prior to the movie, it's still hard for me to tell. The riddler should also definitely appear in the third movie and I'd like to see it done like a toned down Saw version with extremely difficult situations to figure out (Making the Riddler a genious, and more cunning than the Batman). The Riddler (Johnny Depp???) would also admire the Jokers traps and schemes from the Dark Knight also, so I would like him to free the Joker to create anarchy once again in Gotham and a further challenge for Batman. Lets not forget about Scarecrow probably locked up in the same place as the Joker too. The penguin should also make a small villian appearance kind of like two face was a villian for a brief moment in the Dark Knight. Though the Penguin should be more of a nickname for a mob boss or something than a characteristic like Burton's awful movie. Maybe even another appearance from scarecrow, or bringing out the Holiday Killer. There probably shouldn't be a poison ivy, catwoman, robin, Mr. Freeze, or Bane unless they can be believable and real life, and not cheezy (I also feel that this should be the last movie in the trilogy and it should go out with a bang. There should also be a definite ending (Batman dying.... Gordon dying.... Batman turning himself in... something), and it should be the LAST film. The Dark Knight was amazing and to pull off a BIGGER movie than that Nolan would have to make a better, crazier story with more twists, and pull out more characters to make for an epic ending.

studgunner11 on Jun 4, 2010


Phillip Seymore Hoffman as penguin - an inventive gun supplier to the mob to give it new fire power. Johnny Depp as The Riddler - a hi-tech bank robber luring out batman to show his identity with riddles. (maybe) Scarlet Johanson as Harley Quinn - a girl who becomes obsessed with the joker and wants to follow in his foot steps. and Bane( idk who should play him)- an underground wrestler who had takes "venom" to beef up. He kills Batman.

artman on Jun 4, 2010


this is just a thought as i am not as fanatical or as well versed in film as you guys are but how about 1 or 2 main villans with a whole bunch of villans being implied throughout the film as to give the end of the batman saga the feel of no matter what no matter whatr he does, who he stops he will always be out numbered and alone in his fight against evil and as he can not bring himself top break his own rule (killing) he can never go far enough to actually stop the type of criminal he fights with. Oh and if they were ever going to bring in a sidekick/ other hero a darker nightwing could be awesome but make him able to kill and therefore not have batmans restraint and that could maybe make nightwing dance the line between hero/villain.

Andy on Jun 5, 2010


Villian - The Riddler played by either: Daniel Day Lewis why? because he's the still the best out there. a legend. gave many heartfelt speech in praise of Heath's work, and more than capable of matching Heath's "spindly" intensity. OR a slimmed down, uglier Tom Hardy why? watch 'Bronson' and Martina Cole's 'The Take'. Inception... a tester for Nolan maybe? Result? either way, incredible, unforgettable third chapter ensues, duration = 2.5hrs ends with the either; the death of The Dark Knight, or we see him survive (barely), but only after killing someone and ultimately turns into an aged, violent old man, eaten up by the demons of his past and ends up in Arkham where no one knows his "true face". makes more money than Avatar.

A Fan on Jun 5, 2010


Justifiably so

Jaf on Jun 5, 2010


imo after Jack N in the Tim Burton movie, no 1 could replace him ( they should of kept the Joker character hostage after him ) and i was right, he's still the best joker in my book. As for the riddler, this will sound crazy but please try and imagine it for a moment. I THINK THEY SHOULD GET TOM HANKS 4 THE RIDDLER.

chris Eubank on Jun 5, 2010


The Joker's in arkham... I'd like it if they did some kinda nod to that Like how the joker said they need each other, maybe batman could go to arkham to ask the Joker something about the next villain. We dont need to see the jokers face.. maybe tey could use sound clips of heath's Joker outtakes or something? And if they did want us to see his face, I think JGL looks enough like Ledger and is capable enough to be in a small scene as the Joker. The Joker is too big a character to be completely out of Batman's life in the next film.

Paul on Jun 5, 2010


agree with #49 just give us a cameo, the character is way to important to the progression of Batmans story at this point.

DoomCanoe on Jun 5, 2010


and to tell you the truth i just want Two-Face back (im one of those internet ninnies who thinks Harvey Dent died and Two-Face survived)

DoomCanoe on Jun 5, 2010


Personally, I'm glad that Nolan is leaving the Joker out of the next film, for all the reasons previously stated. As for new villains, I know little about the Batman universe outside of what I've gleaned from film boards and the movies themselves, but I would definitely like to see either Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Tom Hardy portray them.

Corran Horn on Jun 5, 2010


I am tired of people suggesting the Riddler and Penguin for villians. Nolan already said that he will NOT use any villians that have been used in the films.

julian on Jun 5, 2010


@53 um...The Joker was used in Tim Burton's Batman.

Xerxex on Jun 5, 2010


@LW, What Nolan means is he wants to use character he hasn't used yet I.E. No return of Ra's Al Ghul, no Joker, no Two-Face. He's also stated that there will be no Mr. Freeze, as he wants to avoid the sci-fi/fantasy aspect. And in my honest opinion, I think that catwoman would suck.. she's not much of a villain anyway.. I don't think Nolan would go the route of a jewel thief in his kind of batman flicks.. the riddler is the only logical villain in my opinion. Someone stated that the riddler's too much like joker already, but I disagree. They are quite different. And imagine the mind fucks that a Nolan Riddler would put Batman through. And thank god, Nolan won't be introducing Robin.. EVER.

Dresden on Jun 5, 2010


@Dresden At this point, I think Nolan could _save_ the Catwoman and Robin characters if he wanted to and I'd fully back that. In fact, if Nolan were to play with the Robin or Catwoman idea, I think even Christian Bale would trust him with that decision or I'll be a monkey's uncle. That said however, I don't think we'll be seeing Catwoman or Robin.

LW on Jun 5, 2010


Nolan takes inspiration from The Dark Knight series created by frank miller, all you people who keep banging their heads with characters like Cat woman and Penguin are just plain ignorant.

vic on Jun 5, 2010


The idea of using the Riddler is amazing. He unlike the Joker(who was psychopathic and just had no real plan) is a mastermind criminal. What the Riddler does is plan for everything, he doesn't leave anything for chance. His riddles and puzzles that he leaves will also allow Nolan to explore the true nature of Batman which is his detective side. After all Batman is from Detective Comics. Just overall the only logical choice is the Riddler to be a suitable stand alone villain like The Joker was. As for a sub character he will probably bring in Catwoman because that is another broad enough character for non Batman readers to get.

Movieraider321 on Jun 6, 2010


#48 I dont agree with u on the first thing i said about the Joker but i have to say, i really like the idea of Tom Hanks playing the Riddler. Tom Hanks can play a smart looking man when he wants too and also he can act a bit crazy. Cant wait for this movie.

James on Jun 6, 2010



dean on Jun 6, 2010


I trust Nolan on wot ever he does.

Joey Dunlop on Jun 6, 2010


#59 I totally agree, that could be the Actor to play the Riddler, Tom Hanks is always top notch in all of his movies. Hanks could be the actor that nobody would see coming, just like Liam Neeson in BEGINS & just like Heath Ledger in DARK NIGHT.

Joey Dunlop on Jun 6, 2010


who cares Transformers 3 is going to kill it anyways

Bo Bo on Jun 6, 2010


Transformers 3 dont make me laugh, go play with your toys kid. Im really liking this Tom Hanks idea that people seem to be talking about, there's something about his Name at the top of the Batman 3 poster that would just look right.

Will on Jun 6, 2010


Tom Hanks sounds really good, did anyone actully here Nolan or any other person say that this could happen??? I hope it does. Hanks is a true Professional and he would make sure that he gives 110% into the Riddler Character.

Mr Tobaco on Jun 6, 2010


Nolan has said that he will not be using any character that has appeared in previous films in the final chapter; this includes The Riddler and Catwoman. I don't understand why people are stuck on these villains when there's about a hundred others to choose from.

peloquin on Jun 6, 2010


#66 Yes but Nolan has been known for telling lie's from time to time. Look at when Begins first came out, he said that he wasnt planning to make a 2nd movie but then everybody was thinking, " Why is Batman being handed a Joker card from Gordon" IT WILL BE THE RIDDLER. Liking the Tom Hanks idea folks

dd on Jun 6, 2010


Good to hear. Leave it alone. It wasn't needed anyway. I say The Riddler, he's a smarter character, especailly with the Nolan's writing it.

Brian on Jun 6, 2010


1.) no catwoman and no robin; if they are in it the movie will suck 2.) this may just be me but the way its stated in the article makes it sound like the Joker just won't be seen; who's to say that behind all these scenes of a movie the Joker is behind everything, like the Riddler is just a henchman of the Joker's someone to take on an active incarnation of the Joker while the mastermind is behind bars coordinating everything and making all the decisions; no replacement would be needed but just plot lines and easter eggs left behind to say the Joker is still in a passive-active ( if that makes sense) role 3.) ending: Riddler maybe gets thrown in jail or to arkham but the Joker is free still causing problems for Batman, the way he said they were destined to chase each other forever and the final installment ends like this: Batman stalks cautiously upto one of Gordon's men, who is just staring at a lumped figure on the sidewalk which Batman recognizes as Gordon himself, dead, with a knife to his chest and a bloodied joker card lying on his body; Gordon's man doesn't try to arrest Batman for his crimes but just watches him as Batman picks up the card and finds a note that has fallen to the ground (it was behind the card) that says in the Riddler's "handwriting": "show us ur face, Batman" and with one last look at the joker card, Batman looks up, camera zooms to his eye and we see a reflection of the Joker in Batman's eyes (just a shadow/silhoutte or outline of the Joker, no real detailed features) and then the screen goes black, we hear Joker's laugh, and after a second or two we see the symbol of Batman approach us

cooper on Jun 6, 2010


just think about how intrakate the viral would be if the riddler was the villan...i am all in!

AC on Jun 7, 2010


i think since batman is now a fugitive this is a great time to bring Bane onto the screen. it would fit with the realistic approach (have him to a russian hitman or something) i think catwoman/robin/riddler would be corny. obvioulsy one more villian could be brought in

chickenpotpie on Jun 7, 2010


@cooper Are you stating facts? or opinions? or stating your opinions as facts? :S

LW on Jun 7, 2010


@ LW more opinions that can only be dreams really...thought it would be a great way to go

cooper on Jun 7, 2010


@cooper Okay, that said, I'd just like to add again that if Nolan _did_ do Robin and Catwoman, I believe he could save those characters if he wanted to. Going as far as to say that I think even Christian Bale would trust Nolan with Robin and Catwoman characters at this point. But once again, I don't think Nolan will use Robin or Catwoman. ((mini-trivia: 'Batgirl' is still a baby girl in 'Dark Knight', so Robin wouldn't even appear for a long long time anyway))

LW on Jun 8, 2010


I respect his decision to let the joker r.i.p. because NOBODY could match up to what he brought to the plate so i'm hapy R.I.P. Heath We still miss ya down here

max s. on Jun 9, 2010


What do you mean by down here 75? Did they send him into space to research his next role? I thought he died after job shadowing serial killers for months... We should shoot a rocket into the sky asking him to come back and play the joker...

peloquin on Jun 9, 2010


the riddler needs bad teeth. like jude law in road to perdition

jonny b on Jun 11, 2010


you know what else would be sick. for the riddlers costume instead of the tacky question marks on his suit he should just wear sweaters with tattooed question marks all over his neck and hands. that be crazzzyyyyy

jonny b on Jun 11, 2010


I don't think Nolan needs to completely put the Joker to rest to be successful, but I respect his decision to do so. Meanwhile, there's a vast rogue's gallery to choose from - it's just an intricate balancing act introducing any of these characters without their cartoonishness. And in some cases, I can't see how it can be done - Catwoman and Mr. Freeze, to use previous films, are ludicrous characters that have no basis in the crime-saga world Nolan has cultivated. Riddler, without Jim Carrey histrionics, is entirely possible, and, I would argue, a terrific idea. I do think Bane would prove a formidable villain - some sort of nod back to the Knightfall storyline would be captivating, I think, considering what an intricate tale it is of Batman's fall and inevitable rebirth. Whoever protested that Bane was used in Batman & Robin needs to realize how ridiculously dumbed-down the character was on film - there's a lot of potential in a story like that, and considering the havoc Bane wreaked on Gotham (the Arkham mass break-out, etc.) there's a lot of potential to incorporate smaller villains. This is all, of course, assuming that Nolan is set against bringing back Eckhart's Two-Face. Which is a shame.

Andrew 3000 on Jun 11, 2010


I vote for Guy Pearce or Michael Fassbender as The Riddler.

jbaker475 on Jun 16, 2010


I vote for Guy Pearce or Michael Fassbender as The Riddler.

jbaker475 on Jun 16, 2010


Those of you saying they should keep the joker away until the fourth installment are idiots. This is nolans last batman, he already said that. . . . Shut up about replacing him. The only time the joker should be replaced is when another director and writer take on the series with a new style. Heath ledger's performance was too good to continue in nolan's gotham in nolan's series. . . . as for the villain, i'm kind of hoping he just makes up his own villain now that everyone thinks it will be the ridler... get over it

David on Jun 16, 2010


Ok, 1) Why would a different actor portraying the Joker character "ruin" heath ledger's Oscar performance? that's retarded, Alex. 2) Everyone would like never to see the Joker in another Batman film ever again? They will all be Jokerless just because one man did him well and died? also retarded.

Jimbone on Jun 24, 2010


they are prolly gonna get the penguin

ant on Jun 25, 2010


I really would love to see guy pearce play something. i think hed make a great riddler, but really i just want to see him in it.

jack on Jul 1, 2010


I think he should invent a new villian. One that is really scary with big hands and balls. He blows up cars and stuff and tries to eat people's heads. He doesn't want money. He just wants heads..."Head Gorge". He could be played by Ben Affleck.

Olive on Jul 7, 2010


why not do the bane, azriel storyline. althought it was stated they dont want to make a 4th film it would be awesome to do a 2 or 3 movie storyline with it

michael13 on Jul 10, 2010


I got a wild idea... Since Nolan's already slated to reboot Superman, how about a subplot about corporate espionage between Wayne Enterprises & Lexco? Be a great jumping off point from one franchise to the next and ties the DC universe together. Shame that they used Scarecrow already. I thought he was under utilized in the other films.

jasonmd2020 on Sep 29, 2010


To be frank I think they should recast. I don't think it would be diserspectful at all I think ledger would wont someone to try to top him would need to be different Joker but close to the same. U CAN'T JUST BURRY THE JOKER HE BATMAN"S BIGGEST RIVAL. was ledgers joker scary or whatever yea did ledger do good job yes was he best EVER NO.

unknown on Nov 18, 2010


They need to bring The Joker back....he is Batmans main nemises ......who cares if he is played by another was batman....and before heath Ledger Jack nicholas was the Joker. Bring him back...not the same story without him. just be picky when you cast.

ShadowWeezle on Mar 10, 2011

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