Fan theory may explain Joker’s absence in ‘Dark Knight Rises’

When it comes to the mythology of Christopher Nolan’s movie trilogy take on the legendary Batman, some fans are sussing out the finer details about just where each character ended up in the movie.

The newest hypothesis, which gained considerable traction on Reddit in the FanThoeries subreddit, posits an interesting theory about why the Joker did not appear in the third film, 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.

It’s important to note here that the actor Heath Ledger passed away after portraying Joker, for which he won a posthumous Academy Award, in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Obviously, Ledger tragically could not appear in the follow-up to that movie.

But the theory is more of a think piece about how the character’s absence could be explained in-universe, disregarding the practical limitations of a movie production.

Tom Hardy’s Bane in The Dark Knight Rises famously ordered his men to release all the prisoners in Gotham, leading to the obvious question: Wouldn’t that mean he also released Joker from Arkham Asylum in the kerfuffle?

The fan theory is an elegantly simple one: The villain was executed prior to the events of The Dark Knight Rises.

The theory goes on to state:

“After all the deaths he caused and threatened to cause in The Dark Knight, and the fact that he insisted he was not insane so therefore he is fit to stand trial, there’s no doubt in my mind that he would get the electric chair.”

The theory actually does hold water when you consider a recent analysis of Ledger’s Joker character conducted by forensic psychiatrist Eric Bender for GQ. In the video, Bender explains that Ledger’s Joker character most resembles a psychopath that can be made culpable for his actions in a court of law in most instances, rather than someone experiencing a “break from reality” and therefore may be considered unfit to stand trial.

What do you think about this theory about The Dark Knight Rises? Sound off in the comments.