The Dark Knight Originally Spared Gambol From The Joker’s Wrath


“I’m putting the word out. Five hundred grand for this clown dead; a million alive, so I can teach him some manners first.”

Had things panned out differently, Michael Jai White’s brooding gangster, Gambol, would have survived The Dark Knight as Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan had “deeper intentions” for his on-screen menace.

It’s the reason why his death looks somewhat awkward – unnatural, even – as White never actually shot a death scene for Nolan’s comic book movie masterpiece. There is a reason for Gambol’s sudden departure, of course, as the tragic death of Heath Ledger, who so famously portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime opposite Christian Bale’s Dark Knight, passed away just as the sequel’s production was entering the final stages.

And so, as White tells The Hollywood Reporter, The Dark Knight creative team had to rework Gambol’s character arc.

It was the kind of thing where they had deeper intentions for Gambol; it was a character who was written for future use, I think. There were other plans to do stuff with that character and some things that were cut out. I think it’s because of unfortunately losing Heath Ledger.

This interview comes on the eve of The Dark Knight‘s 10th anniversary, and offers up a fascinating new perspective on what is undoubtedly one of the finest comic book movies ever created – even to this day, the music, effects and operatic storytelling of Nolan’s epic hold up.

And here, Michael Jai White admits that the film’s original script spared Gambol from the Joker’s wrath:

I think that people can tell by the strange cut that I never shot a death scene. The character wasn’t supposed to be gone. That is something that happened in editing later. You don’t see mistakes in a movie of that magnitude. When you see something that is somewhat a mistake or is not clarified, there is something behind that.

Being that I have been on both sides of the camera, I understood. I was as surprised as anybody. The next few moments after Gambol hit the ground, I was in a state of confusion, like ‘What the hell happened? I guess I am not coming back.’ But, I have a producer’s and director’s mindset, so I was able to look at it and think, ‘I guess they must have wanted to go this way.’

The Dark Knight will be returning to select theaters all across the globe for its 10th anniversary, so if you’re thirsting for some DC-tinged nostalgia, don’t hang around – those tickets are likely to sell like hotcakes.