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15 Fan Theories About The Joker That Could Be True

December 10, 2020 2.1k votes 388 voters 42.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the most interesting Joker fan theories.

Of all the villains DC has gifted us with over the years, no one sticks out quite like the Joker. Batman's major foe has been a pop culture icon for years, starting with Jack Nicholson and ending (most recently) with Joaquin Phoenix, even garnering two Academy Awards for Best Actor. With his maniacal laugh and chaos-inducing rants, Joker has always been one of fandoms' most beloved villains. We managed to round up some of the most interesting fan theories regarding our favorite madman.

Which Joker fan theory do you think is most believable? Vote up your favorites below!

  • 1

    The Joker Is A War Veteran

    Photo: The Dark Knight / Warner Bros Pictures

    From Redditor u/hokky:

    So from what we see, the Joker a very smart tactician, has very good fighting skills, and also very knowledgeable of officials. This has me to speculate that he may have been a war veteran.

    His superb fighting, being able to overpower a door guard, almost beating Batman, and easily making a pencil disappear might be from military training. his precise planning, from the bank heist, to the escape from the police station, even the last scene, it's all planned perfectly, might imply that he was a high ranking general or tactician of some sort. And he knows a lot about "the system," meaning he probably worked for the government, but ended up hating it. Another note, during the police burial ritual, he seemed to know what the movements were, perfectly, implying he has had some training.

    Also, war has been known to make people "insane," and his strong almost painless resistance to Batman's interrogation might imply that he was a prisoner or even a hostage once.

    Interesting theory?
  • 2

    Joker Is Actually The Hero In 'The Dark Knight'

    Photo: The Dark Knight / Warner Bros Pictures

    From Redditor u/generalzee:

    Joker, although a lying psychopath, is actually the hero in The Dark Knight. Before the Joker, Gotham was a mess. Entire sections of the city were closed off due to madness, organized crime ran rampant, and the majority of important city officials were wildly corrupt. The city even tolerated a renegade vigilante who ran around wearing a rubber suit.

    Along comes the Joker and by the end of a very short time, almost all organized crime was eliminated, many corrupt officials were imprisoned or dead, and the city's vigilantes even went into hiding for 8 years. This was all part of Joker's masterfully executed plan.

    In the end Gotham is actually clean. It wasn't because of Harvey, who died too soon to do any good, except as a martyr, and it wasn't because of Batman who was ostracized and treated like the criminal such a vigilante truly is for 8 years. Gotham was safe because the Joker had cleaned up the streets. He eliminated the corrupt police, he destroyed organized crime financially, he uplifted Gotham's spirit, and he even got rid of the flying pest that had been corrupting Gotham ever since he declared himself its protector.

    [Read the full theory here]

    Interesting theory?
  • 3

    Joker's 'You Wouldn't Get It' Line Is A Set Up For A Joke Ending In Murder 

    Photo: Joker / Warner Bros Pictures

    From Redditor u/CounterReset:

    In the final scene, when the Joker hums the lyrics to "That's Life" I've read a few interpretations that go pretty deep. I took it at a bit more of face value and just wondering what the general census is. It seemed to me that he said, "you wouldn't get it" to illicit her response as part of his joke, much like the way a knock-knock joke requires a "who's there." This happens as the lyrics are "I said that's life (that's life), and as funny as it may seem. Some people get their kicks stompin' on a dream." So, she responds with what I think most would expect anyone to say to "you wouldn't get it." She says, "try me." At which point he throws her to the ground and crushes her "dream" (head) by "stomping" on it, thus ending her "life." The evidence of which we see from the bloody footprints.

    Obviously, the scene has a lot of layered meaning. But i got it as the joke being that the song uses the lyrics figuratively to talk about crushing dreams as something tragic, but by applying them literally he creates a dual meaning. Using it as a play on words and turning it into a joke. It so closely mirrored the jokes that leading up to his killing of Murray Franklin.

    Interesting theory?
  • 4

    Arthur's Dancing In 'Joker' Is Symbolic

    Photo: Joker / Warner Bros Pictures

    From Redditor u/ImInJeopardy:

    At the beginning of the movie, Arthur is a guy searching for identity. Specifically, he wants to be a comedian and wants to be on Murray Franklin's show. One of the first things we see Murray do is dance when he makes his entrance to the stage.

    When Arthur kills the guys in the subway, he hides in a public bathroom and does a dance. But this dance is slow, unenthusiastic, almost sad. He's trying to express something that he doesn't quite understand. Like he found a hint of who he wants to be but he's not quite there yet. He was pushed into killing those guys in the subway, so he's not fully in control.

    Arthur then tries to dance with his mother, but she refuses saying she wants to go to bed. This is Arthur trying to mix his old identity (Arthur the son) with his newfound persona that's beginning to grow in him. His mom's rejection is a hint that he can't have both. He will either dance alone or not dance at all.

    A classic Joker move. This dance is him symbolically entering the "world's stage" as the Joker, the same way his TV idol does. Then he goes on the show, dancing as he enters, and shows his chaos to the world.

    [Read the full theory here]

    Interesting theory?