There are actors out there who come to define the characters they play.
For instance, Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, Harrison Ford is Han Solo, and Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. Mark Hamill is definitely one of these actors, and unlike many, Hamill’s performances have defined two characters. The first, of course, is the legendary Luke Skywalker around which most of the Star Wars universe revolves around. But the other is Batman’s most infamous villain “The Joker.”
Hamill’s work as the clown prince of crime first started in 1992 during “Batman: The Animated Series” alongside Kevin Conroy, the man who would go on to become the definitive voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne. While the series would officially end in 1995, both Hamill and Conroy’s voices would continue to be used to act out their characters respectively.
This would be in many different mediums, be it cartoons, live-action television, or video games. No matter where Conroy’s Batman would show up, Hamill’s Joker was likely somewhere nearby. The two actor’s voices became a pairing of sorts and for generations, both men would be these characters.
Then, in November of 2022, Conroy lost his battle with cancer and passed away leaving behind an amazing legacy.
This left Hamill’s Joker without his Batman.
In a recent interview, Hamill was asked by Empire Magazine if he was ever going to pick up the villain again, to which the voice actor responded with a very touching, yet heartbreaking answer:
Hamill doubts whether he’ll ever take up the Joker mantle again without Conroy there to trade lines with – it was heading that way anyway, he says. “They would call and say, ‘They want you to do the Joker,’ and my only question was, ‘Is Kevin Batman?’ If they said yes, I would say, ‘I’m in.’ We were like partners. We were like Laurel and Hardy. Without Kevin there, there doesn’t seem to be a Batman for me.”
While many may disagree with Hamill’s politics, one can at least sympathize with him here. Like Batman and the Joker, Conroy and Hamill were two sides of the same coin.
This harkens back to the way Hamill’s Joker felt in the episode “The Man Who Killed Batman” in the animated series, where a small-time crook believes he had killed the Dark Knight and the Joker was coping with the death of his beloved protagonist.
“Without Batman, crime has no punchline.”
True to the nature of the duo, as passes Conroy’s Batman, so passes Hamill’s Joker.
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