No Heath Ledger as The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ DAMMIT

Heath Ledger as The Joker for 'The Dark Knight'
Heath Ledger as The Joker for ‘The Dark Knight’

“She’s dead, don’t you have any respect, SHE’S DEAD!” — Robert De Niro, Guilty by Suspicion, to the House Un-American Activities Committee

Maybe that’s a little strong to start off that way, but it has to be said. Heath Ledger, sadly, is dead. Now it’s time to let him rest.

So let’s stop with the bullshit rumors about extra footage or Ledger showing up in Batman 3 (Or, The Dark Knight Rises, which is a crap title and won’t be used).

It’s hard to dispute it, but the man was brilliant as the Joker. He gave a wonderful performance, one that was honored and will be remembered. His death, tragically, made it all the more poignant.

But the 28-year-old died in 2008. I remember that day, hearing the news, working on stories about it. It was very sad, nearly as sad as the death of River Phoenix more than a decade earlier.

Now for some bizarre reason people seem to want to bring him back. To feature a dead man in a movie years after his passing. And it’s disgusting. It’s insulting. And if Christopher Nolan or Warner Bros. actually did it, it would be horrific.

The last time dead actors were brought back from the “dead” with digital trickery it was to pitch Coors beer. It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now. (And while films like Gladiator and The Crow — as well as HBO’s The Sopranos — used computers to flesh out dead actors, those cases were different.)

This latest bit of Internet junk claims they’re entertaining it.

Heath Ledger is The Joker in 'The Dark Knight'
Heath Ledger is The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’

“The idea is to use these fragments of cut scenes and use CGI to have The Joker appear one last time,” a full-of-shit source supposedly claims. “Chris wants some continuity between movies and for the franchise to pay tribute to Heath and his portrayal of the Joker.”

“It would only be a fleeting moment in the movie and would only be included with the full consent of Heath’s family,” the so-called source also claims, with shit clearly spewing from between his or her fictional teeth.

Bullshit. It’s all bullshit. Why do I say this? Well, let’s take it bit by bit.

First of all, doing this would completely and utterly overshadow the rest of the movie. It would be ridiculous, as it would marginalize the other characters and dominate the coverage of the movie by the media. And forget whatever poor sap plays the villain. That person’s job is going to be tough enough, because he or she has to compete with a ghost, but now someone wants you to believe that the ghost is now going to be making a “fleeting” appearance in the very same film?

Fuck, that’s already crazy.

Second, Warner Bros. and Nolan don’t need the publicity for the film. It’s got power all on its own. So in the end, doing this wouldn’t be a tribute but a stunt. A marketing gimmick, intentionally or not. And WB and Nolan would be a collection of soulless opportunists if they really included any footage of Ledger.

Third, why the hell would Nolan want to make the third Batman film a tribute to Ledger? As if The Dark Knight wasn’t already a fucking tribute?! They need to let an entire other film that has no relation to the Joker at all be a tribute to him as well??!!

Bullshit.

Lastly, this issue had come up before. There were rumors of extra footage after Ledger died. Maybe there is, but would Nolan use it? Well, let’s ask him, cuz Empire magazine already did earlier this year. What did he say then? His answer was quite simple: “No!”

Here’s the snippet:

There is the ever-lurking question about villains: who will The Dark Knight tussle with this time… Could it possibly be a returning (and recast) Joker, pulling strings from Arkham, Lecter-style, Empire wonders?

“No”, says Nolan emphatically and unhesitatingly. He resists elaborating simply because, quite understandably, he says, “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it”.
There it is. Nolan had already shot down this stupid rumor long before it became a rumor yet again today. It’s moronic, a bad idea, and I have no doubt that Nolan is a better filmmaker than that.

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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