Christopher Nolan did not include an origin story for the Joker in The Dark Knight, keeping the iconic villain shrouded in mystery. Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker is one of the best portrayals fans have ever seen, and now, comedian/actor Patton Oswalt has now shared his opinions on the backstory of Ledger’s version of the Joker. Patton’s take on the character is very detailed while connecting some dots in the story.
Patton Oswalt recently re-watched The Dark Knight and penned his thoughts about Heath Ledger and his Joker persona on social media. He begins his post by admitting that he liked Christopher Nolan’s theory story on how the Joker as a veteran had PTSD. Oswalt went on to point out some of the details of The Dark Knight that work with that particular theory. He explains:
“His referencing a truckload of soldiers getting blown up, his ease with military hardware, and his tactical ingenuity and precision planning all feel like an ex-Special Forces soldier returned stateside and dishing out payback. I love films that contain enough thought and shading to sustain post-screening theorizing like this.”
Patton Oswalt brings up details that support the military background of the Joker but takes it a step further and asks: “What if he’s not only ex-military, but ex-military intelligence?” This is where his theory really begins to turn into something fun to think about the next time you watch The Dark Knight. Oswalt theorizes.
“He seems to be very good at the kind of mind-f*ckery that sustained, professional interrogation requires. His boast about how I know the squealers when he sees one. The way he adjusts his personality and methods depending on who he’s talking to, and knowing EXACTLY the reaction he’ll get: mocking Gamble’s manhood; invoking terror to Brian, the false Batman; teasing the policeman’s sense of loyalty to his fallen, fellow cops; digging into Gordon’s isolation; appealing to Harvey Dent’s hunger for fairness. He even conducts a reverse interrogation with Batman when he’s in the box at the police station – wanting to see how far Batman will go, trying to make him break his one rule. He constantly changes his backstory (and thus who he is). To Gamble and his henchmen, he’s an abused child (figuring that they were also the products of abuse and neglect). To Rachel, he’s a man mourning a tragic love – something she’s also wrestling with.”
Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker certainly explains the military intelligence narrative plus a lot of what we don’t see from the Joker’s past, filling in gaps. However, this theory has never been acknowledged by Christopher Nolan. Patton Oswalt wrapped up his theory on the Joker by saying this.
“In the end, he ends up trying to mind-f*ck an entire city – and the city calls his bluff. Or is that what he wanted all along? He plummets to his seeming death, laughing like a child. And when he’s rescued by Batman, the one individual he couldn’t manipulate or break, he’s blissful and relieved (and, visually, turned on his head). Even the language he uses when saying goodbye to Batman – describing their relationship as an irresistible force meeting an immovable object – is the kind of thing an interrogator would say, ruefully, about a fruitless session.”
Patton Oswalt’s lengthy theory about the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was supported in the comments section. Fans of the comedian even helped support his theory even further, which has started to make the rounds online. Check out the new theory about the Joker in The Dark Knight via Patton Oswalt’s Facebook page below.