back to article Joker must retire, insist Heath Ledger fans

Fans of the late Heath Ledger have launched a net campaign aimed at ensuring that his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight remains the ultimate and definitive outing for the character. That's according to website The Ultimate Joker, which is pressuring Hollywood to retire the Joker on the grounds that Ledger's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is tragic

    This is truly tragic. Do these people not have lives?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Boot once put it...

    ..."In a few years they'll have the vote..."

  3. Matthew Ames

    The musings of a batman fan

    As a Batman fan, the way I see it like this:

    Every writer for the Batman series as portrayed him differently and every artist has drawn him differently. By changing the actor, I feel it adds to the variety that you find in the comics.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    overly sentimental bull dung

    Ledger was good as the Joker don't get me wrong, but its not as if he was the only decent actor in the world, there are other actors that could do an equally good performance and deserve the chance to attempt it.

  5. Chris Lovell

    Get real

    As sublime as Ledger's Joker was, this is as likely to be listened to as PETA's attempt to rename fish 'sea kittens', and rightly so. Just because one actor's performance of a character is the best that has been seen doesn't mean that it will never be improved upon.

    Get a grip on yourselves.

  6. Daniel

    It's nice to see some people have their priorities in the right place

    It's just as well he never played Hamlet or MacBeth, I suppose

  7. Lyndon Hills

    Jack Nicholson

    was just as good IMHO.

  8. Rick
    Thumb Down

    Dont let sentiments blind you....

    ... to an average performance by Heath as the joker... I mean, ok - it was good. But the stuff of legends? Clearly not! To much hype on this just because he is dead.

    To my mind, Jack Nicholson played an equally good joker in the first one..

  9. jai

    good grief !!

    yes, he was brilliant as the Joker, yes he brought the more evil and psychotic side of the Joker to life

    but before him, i'd have said that Jack Nicholson's version was perfect.

    i don't see why the character should be made to suffer just because the actor kicked the bucket

    if you're going to retire the Joker from the screen, then retire Batman too - the whole point is that they need each other to define themselves, it's the way the characters evolved in the comics. as the previous movie franchise proved, if you kill the Joker off, the series is going to do downhill.

    IF there is a 3rd and maybe 4th Nolan film, then yes, they shouldn't use the Joker as the main villian, but maybe a cameo at the start perhaps.

    and then, in the 5th film, do the Joker/Scarecrow team-up from Knightfall, by which time all the fanatical fans will be fixated on some other poor actor and have forgotten all about Heath Ledger

  10. A J Stiles

    More crap

    Oh, just fuck off with this whole adoration of the deceased thing. This is the same mentality that expects me to stop whatever I'm doing for a minute in honour of some random stranger I never knew, just because they're dead -- as though I ever gave a flying one when they were alive.

    If Heath Ledger was still alive, these same people would be ripping him to pieces for being such a poor substitute for Jack Nicholson. And they know it.

  11. Tim

    Erm...No? Does that mean we have to ban gay cowboys?

    Some people eh?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Any other performance will be below expectations for sure"

    Ignoring the inherit dichotomy of the statement: how do they know?

  13. Martin Huizing

    Digital age

    I am sure there is a 'digital copy' of Heath they can use to create a digital Joker character.

    I do have to agree his performance was phenomenal I'd hate to take anyone else take his place.

    Then again there are so many super villains for Batman to battle...

  14. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Up

    hate to say it

    But they have a damn good point !!

    Never have i been impressed by acting, but this guy really took the biscuit !

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What nonsense

    Jack Nicholson's Joker was much better.

  16. Ash

    Would imitation do?

    I do a very good impression. Not kidding.

    With make-up, I could look like him.

    Maybe i'll contact Hollywood.

  17. Oliver Mayes
    Thumb Down

    Since when has that been reason enough to stop re-doing something?

    Hollywood remakes everything sooner or later, even though it's almost universally acknowledged that remakes are inferior to the originals.

    Personally I honestly don't think his version was as amazing as everyone seems to think. It was good, and I can't think of anything significantly bad about his performance but let's be honest, if he hadn't died he would have received nowhere near as much attention as this. He's just been sensationalised.

  18. Paul

    Balls to the internet

    His performance was good - but tell 'em to piss off. They'll have to finish the story somehow. Batman's survived different actors and so will the Joker. They'll always have the last film to remember it at its most awesome.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the ultimate and definitive outing"

    that was jack nicholson, back in the day.

  20. Adrian Waterworth

    Who are these dweebs?

    OK, so I would be one of the first to say that Ledger's performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight was excellent and pretty much left the rest of the cast in the dust. However, who's to say that someone isn't going to take on the role in a couple of years' time and come up with something far better?

    It's like all the stupid "Best <XYZ> Song Ever" albums or the music critics with the ludicrous "Albert Scrotemangler is going to be the artist of the year" pronouncements that they make in the first fortnight of January.

    Short-sighted feeble-minded idiots.

  21. Stephen

    I disagree, imagine that.

    What these people need to understand is not everyone may agree with them. Personally I was disappointed watching Heath as all I could think about was comparing him to Jack Nicholson's character, so my opinion is it wasn't as good as they say.

    But to say "This is the line that cannot be crossed" is silly, just as we have had good and bad actors playing batman, james bond and loads of other popular reoccurring characters over the years doesn't ever mean we should just stop because one of them was good and passed away young.

    A successor may be better or worse as proven by different James Bond's but its always up for audiences to decide after enjoying the film.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    two things occur

    Firstly assuming this loser and his "friends" are not merely shills for hollywood conjuring up free advertising, surely the character is a major component of the whole Batman canon ? That Hollywood paid for ? That doubtless after the success of the last movie the comany will wish to trot out agin endlessly unto nausea ? Sound familiar ?

    Secondly - F*ing grief athletes...... After (not too) recent events down the road from us, we now have a skipful of rotting vegetation and inappropriate plastic tat blocking the pavement, that nobody dare pass comment on, where some unfortunate met their doom. Get an fscking grip...... he never knew you, the majority of you never knew him. Same true here for yet another "tragic", "misunderstood", rich drug, using actor. Jeez you think he was the "queen of hearts" or sommat.....

    Crappy over rated Hollywood tat.... I dunno.....enough to turn me into a grumpy old geezer.... Makes my blood boil. </rant>

  23. Dan Skinner

    Oh dear

    Sadly, this is one of the saddest things I've seen in a while. Firstly, it's just a film. Accept it.

    But more importantly, if Ledger's interpretation of the Joker is so unutterably amazing that any further attempts will pale into insignificance... then surely, by definition, all further attempts will pale into insignificance. So where's the problem?

    Presumably this self-appointed band of losers is trying to save Hollywood and all the world of potential viewers some appalling future two hours of watching something not-quite-so-good-as-something-else. Well, I'm happy to look after myself, thanks. No, really. Flattered and all that but I think I'll be ok. Now, off you go and play. Twats.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Jack Nicholson was good.

    And that chap from the TV series fitted the feel of the show as it was then, so all thing change in line with "society". I bet someone better will come along in due course if they're not already here. The Joker isn't exactly a fly to be preserved in amber.

    But if the Ledger fans (makes them sound like accountants) want a contest. I bet Chuck Norris' Joker could beat their Joker anyday.

    Flame On!

  25. Jimmy Floyd

    The best there can ever be?

    That urban myth about closing the patent office because everything that could have been invented had been invented (in the 19th century) was just that: a myth.

    Might have some relevance here, however...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The only expectation I would have after Heath Ledger's performance would be that future actors playing the role would also die. I think that expectation will be lived up to by every actor, sooner or later.

    Not that I'm implying Ledger's performance gained it's 'iconic' status merely due to him dying.

    Certainly not.

    Not me, on no.

    Wouldn't dream of it.


    It was because he killed himself, that's why. Mere death isn't enough, in these days of emo-reportage. I actually think this harms Heath's legacy, not enhances it. He'll only ever be remembered for playing a scarred, white-faced loon, and then topping himself. Not really a good epitaph is it?

  27. Ad Fundum

    Dumb, dumb, dumb

    People like this make me laugh - here's a character that has existed for what, sixty years? And someone turns in a half-decent performance and they think we should retire the character because he died? And I suppose that we should stop playing football because George Best died too?

    People like this are so thick they make me spit, like the Americans who said that New Line were 'cashing in' when the called the second LotR movie "The Two Towers". Jesus, with people like this on the planet we'll never be short of people to fill McJobs.

  28. Paul Graham

    Oh please....

    .... if Jack Nicolson had died after his outing as The Joker they would have said the same thing then. I remember thinking at the time that Jack would be nigh on impossible to top. Arguably he hasn't been topped, instead they took the Joker in a different, darker direction. Who's to say it couldn't happen again. The internet has a lot to answer for.

  29. Bad Beaver


    Can these people please STFU? I mean, it is sad that Ledger is dead, and nobody tells them not to hold him or this specific performance in high regard. But seriously—WTF?! The movie was OKAY. Ledger's performance was GOOD maybe even VERY GOOD in parts, yet the whole thing was far from "classic" or "ultimate". This latest depiction of the Joker's character shows, compared to Nicholson's, that it is quite a variable figure for an actor to explore. The Joker also is a comic and therefore a cultural icon. You don't quit icons just because people who enacted them kill themselves.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If poor Heath hadnt died, his performance would not have been proclaimed as so epic, he certainly would not have been nominated for so many awards. It's very sad he passed away, he was a good actor and probably a nice guy too. I liked some of his films but dying shouldnt somehow improve his reviews.

    Maybe its me, and I watched a different film or something? Insanity involves more than licking your lips a lot and breathing heavilly. Plus his impact on screen is often increased by the weird white noise in the background whenever he is on.

    Dark Knight was good, except for too much lip licking and batman's stupidly gruff voice. Its certainly not a historic performance on anyone's part.

    For me Jack Nicholson is still the best Joker.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ledger was good

    But let's be fair about this. He wasn't as good as Nicholson.

  32. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)


    I'm always pleased to see so many of the nation's respected film critics commenting on our humble pages.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Other Characters That Should Be Retired

    * Cassanova

    * Bisexual cowboys called Ennis

    * Any brother Grimm

    * Artherian era Knights

    Paris because even she can see someone's been honkin' on their crack pipe a bit too much

  34. Paul Segrue

    is the best an actor could ever do???

    Eh what the....? ODFO is the first thing that comes to mind... do these people have a life? do I considering that I am writing this... yes I do cause I am sciving :)

    I thought his performance was overrated and only got so much praise due to the fact he died after filming... ok some bits were good but most of it was much lower than expectaion, come to think of it I thought a lot of the film was overacted and left the cinema slightly disappointed that I had paid to see it if I am honest.

    I am sure the character can be played better than it was (I am a fan of Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker anyway) and would anyone be saying "retire the Joker" if Heath Ledger had not killed himself with an overdose/died by misadventure (depending on what you believe)?

    I would rather a character continue rather than be linked to overrated performance simply because the actor died. I wonder how many of the people calling for the retirement are fans of the Batman films etc or if they are simply Ledger fans...

    Oh damn I seem to have let slip a geeky side to me... I mean... I really don't.... oh sod it I will just grab my coat!

  35. Ian Brown


    Fer Barbella is worthy of an ODFO icon.

  36. DutchOven

    Missing the point

    The point is that heath Ledger didn't just play the joker - he played a man.

    So I don't EVER want to see ANY men depicted in films EVER again.


    Arsecandling fucktards. I hope they all die. Then I'll campaign for Hollywood never to allow pant-wettingly stupid fans to ever be depicted in films.


    and when *I* die, I hope you all write to Hollywood and ask them never to allow anyone else like me to post comments on-line.


  37. Liam

    big jack...

    was class... but compared to heath in this batman there is no contest. mainly due to time burton's vision being nowhere near as dark as heath's. burton is fantasy, chris nolan has taken batman downa much darker route.

    on a side note, the first new batman was better than this one anyway... its just heath's performance was amazing.

    did anyone really feel intimidated by jack's rendition of the joker? also the tim burton films apparently made up their own story of the joker's background, this version is supposed to be more what they originally intended for the joker.

  38. Stevie


    This wishy-washy mission statement does not go anywhere near far enough!

    Yes, The Joker must from now on be Charactera Non Grata, to be replaced whenever called for by other super villains. That much is obvious to even the dimmest film auteur.

    This is just the merest beginning.

    The name "Heath" must be expunged from the English language except for on a paving slab on Hollywood Blvd. All parklands, former British Prime Ministers and babies named in The Great Ledger's honour must be renamed to avoid using the sacred name. There must be no exceptions.

    Similarly, the word "ledger" must be changed to "book", except when used to address my former colleague Ledger White who was so cool he can keep using the name unmolested. But no more computer systems must be allowed to use it. "General Cash Book" is now the accepted standard. Severe penalties must be enacted into law to enforce this ruling.

    Furthermore, the lines of dialogue from "The Dark Knight" that are spoken by he who must not now be named must be included into the King James Bible, that never shall we forget the messiah who was sent to walk amongst us unworthy cinemagoers, and select pieces of said dialogue included as new verses in the National Anthem, which shall be properly learned by all schoolchildren under pain of a damn good thrashing.

    As it is written, so let it be.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    "No one can improve it."

    Hmmm. Imagination FAIL much?

  40. andy rock


    nothing to see here. move along.

  41. Mike Crawshaw

    I feel for Adam West...

    Because no one, ever, ever, will ever top his performance as Batman. No way, no how. Ever. George Clooney and Val Kilmer? Pussies. Christian Bale? Whiney bitch.

    I'm off to start a Facebook group to ban all Batman films, comics, animations, video games, action figures, posters and novelty lunchboxes (careful, Sarah!) unless they feature the perfect Mr West as the Dark Knight.

    Or I would if I had a Facebook account, and could be arsed. Which isn't the case. Oh well.

  42. David

    Complete Crap

    I thought that the film was boring and Heath Ledger no more than adequate as the Joker.

    Even Tom Cruise could have done a better job.

  43. Thomas

    I wish someone had done this for Brandon Lee

    Has anyone else seen those Crow sequels? The original may have been a relatively light genre piece, but at least it was enjoyable!

  44. Sir Runcible Spoon

    you're missing the point

    Christian Bale is a SHIT batman, and you can take that to the bank.

    @Sarah, is it possible to get that little vulture icon with it's tongue in it's cheek*

    *or elsewhere, take your pick :P

  45. Thomas Swann

    It's a bit of a...

    ...Joy Division/New Order, old-Manics/nu-Manics kind of debate this - uh, if you replace the depressive musicians with super-villains.

    Some people just got so entranced by everything that was (genuinely) brilliant about the original act, that they just couldn't - or refused - to see anything worthy in what came after.

  46. Rob Dobs

    @ AJ Stiles

    Not sure what you mean by this...

    If you're talking about moments of silence, well somebody ought to be really respected and loved by all for them to expect a nation to pause and honor them.

    If you are talking about a passing funeral procession then show some respect!!! its not for the dead, it for the grieving wife/son/mother/daughter etc. These people are having the worse day of their entire life and to have you along the street yelling and laughing is disrespectful. This isn't about a waste of time honoring the dead, this about human decency for those around you.

    If you don't the point of this, I can only hope your mothers funeral gets cut off by some jerk so you can finally learn what I am talking about.

    I will say I agree with yours and others comments though about Ledger, he had his chance, if his version was so definitive, then it will stand the test of time, no need for a such a waste of time.

  47. Francis Fish
    Thumb Down

    Get a life FFS

    All the shit going on in the world and these boneheads get wound up about this piece of triva?


  48. Timbo

    Time to start a campaign for the next Batman to be........

    Keanu Reeves, just to piss these grief addicts

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A J Stiles (More crap)

    Well said

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Huh ?

    Does al this mean that the Joker is gay, and who the **** is Heath Ledger

    Mine's the one with the assorted Stetson

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's not so much that it's film critics's hit on a nerve..... the whole grief athlete thing.

    None descript drug using actor tops self !=best performances in film ever

    None descript drug using muso checks out under the 'fluence != best albums in genre

    jeez you can even do it on the cheap by getting offed while having no discenible talent but cute enough, fashionable enough, or simply reported publically enough to hit critical mass with the burberry wearers..

    Folks were damn near lynched in this chav benighted burg if they said anything bad about Princess bleedin' Diana at the time of her demise. Actually, not even bad, anything other than fullsome praise would set off the grief athletes...... "Oh She's a saint on earth"....Saint on Earth ? My hairy arse ! Bullimic Sloaney, self publicist, control freak more like....... Like deceased muso's, actors, god knows who..... a trace of celebrity+death==sainthood in the eyes of the masses these days, and that's these Heath Ledger web2.0orrea types to a T.

  52. kk

    Mark Hamil

    aka Luke Skywalker will always be the definitive Joker for me. Well his voice anyway!

  53. Tom

    Jackky N

    Jack Nicholsons was much better! just because of the tradgedy surrounding Heath, people think they need to jump on this stupid bandwaggon, the same effect could be noted when Princess Di Died...

  54. Patrick O'Reilly


    People like that infuriate me.

    Tragic as his death was, and excellent as his portrail of the character was, he was only an actor.

    Actors come and go, the characters live on forever.

  55. Peter Kay

    Aren't we a little bit desperate for stories here?

    'sad fans call for something non IT related on the Internet' isn't exactly news!

    The Dark Knight was pretty good, but didn't achieve classic status due to a muddled plot and flawed scenes. Originally I thought Tim Burton's Batman would be very difficult to top, but then Batman Begins came along and proved me wrong. I hope Batman Begins is topped again, sometime.

    It really is pretty sobering how many reinventions comic book characters have had over the years to remain relevant to each new generation of readers. Having said that, I have trouble believing some of the 70s characters weren't incredibly naff, even at the time..

    Probably the same crowd will bemoan the departure of David Tennant from Doctor Who, and then a month later shout loudly about how marvellous Matt Smith is...

  56. system

    Simple solution...

    ...ban these emo kids from watching any future Batman movies. Problem solved.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    never forget ...

    There's always more than one Joker in a pack!

  58. Dan
    Thumb Up

    when then... might as well also retire the character of Mr. Freeze since Arnold Schwarzenegger was pinnacle of character interpretation in that role.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    keanu reeves as batman + tom cruise as joker = shit film

  60. A J Stiles
    Dead Vulture

    @ Rob Dobs

    I'm talking about the riduculous public outpourings of grief for people whom I never met, but who nonetheless died probably in some more or less horrible fashion. To be expected to show any respect for total strangers -- when, to be brutally honest, I never even cared up until now whether they were alive or dead -- cheapens my relationships with the people I know.

    Incidentally, I bet Jade Goody will get two minutes .....

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Am I the only person who thinks batman films (as with all superhero films) are completely overrated?

  62. Anonymous Coward


    Surely these people have better things to do?

    If they didn't spend so much time dealing with other people's lives they may be able to do something great with there.

    Anyway I'm off to feed a homeless person then fight some terrorists and finish the night off with a bit of time machine inventing.

  63. Nev
    Dead Vulture

    Oh FFS!

    Does anyone else she death-of-someone-famous induced hysteria a la Diana, Princess of Wales in all this?

    Now looks like all someone has to do to win public adoration and critical acclaim is to cark-it.

    (No matter how mediocre their oeuvre really is.)

    Hopefully some celebs will take it upon themselves to try for this type of praise.

    Death: The new black?

  64. Q Preik
    Thumb Up

    Mark Hamill?

    Mark Hamill is the best joker...if only he had the look. But for me, his voice is the Joker's voice!

  65. Ron Christian

    Agree, but for different reasons

    I agree that Hollywood needs to give the Joker a rest, but not necessarily because Heath did a great job (which he did). I think we've gone back to the Joker well enough times. It's time to give the character a rest and delve into the other 40-odd villains in the Batman mythos. The Joker went out with a stellar performance. I'm not against bringing him back under the right circumstances, but geeze, let's try something else for awhile.

  66. Ed


    I did not know ledger, but i would like to think that his response to all this would be along the lines of "what a bunch of wankers"

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love that Joker

    The same people who bitched when Heath was cast as the Joker are now saying no one else can play him.

  68. Anonymous Coward

    actually an insult?

    Wait, so they think Mr Ledger would have wanted the Joker buried with him? That anyone else playing the Joker would have offended him?

    So, they're saying he was an arrogant, pompous, arse, and that everyone should respect that?

    I don't think these Heathtards have thought this through.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They said the same after JFK died.

    Retire the role ...

    .. and they did.

  70. Nick G

    In other words:

    Never rub another mans Rhubarb...

  71. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Last Thursday's Eastenders was the best there could possibly be.

    I demand no more episodes are ever made!

  72. Lottie


    I watched the Dark Knight, hoping for a really amazing performance and was mildly let down in all aspects. That includes the role of the Joker.

    I remember when he was still alive and the film buffs were all "Heath can't do the Joker, he's not good enough" I actually agree witht hem.

  73. M


    If Heath Ledger were alive now...

    He would be scrabbling like mad on his coffin lid. (Apologies for forgetting who said the original quote.)

  74. Anonymous Coward

    Get a grip?

    I know its tragic he died at a relatively young age etc but its only batman ffs

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