David S. Goyer has revealed there was “studio pushback” about the idea of not explaining the Joker’s true backstory in The Dark Knight.
Famously, Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning take on the Clown Prince of Crime offers up a number of different origin stories to various characters throughout the film.
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He said: “Even after the success of Batman Begins, [the ambiguous origin] was considered a very controversial thing, and we got a lot of pushback. People were worried.”
The 54-year-old scribe, who has worked on numerous comic book properties, concocted the idea with director Christopher Nolan and the duo share “story by” credit on the movie.
Ledger, who died before The Dark Knight was released in 2008, famously lived alone in a hotel room for a month in order to construct his iconic performance.
His performance allowed him to posthumously win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor — the first acting award for a superhero movie.
It would remain the only Oscar win for a performer in the comic book genre until Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor earlier this year for playing the same villain in Joker.
Todd Phillips’ film provided a far more concrete origin tale for The Joker, depicting him as failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck, biting back against a hostile society.
Both The Dark Knight and Joker proved to be box office hits, as well as receiving widespread critical acclaim.
The Dark Knight earned $1bn (£762m) worldwide, while Joker managed an even heftier $1.07bn (£815m) to become the most profitable comic book movie ever made.
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Meanwhile, Jared Leto also played The Joker in Suicide Squad and received decidedly mixed reviews for his out-there portrayal.