'The Dark Knight' Revisited: Joker's Evolution Through the Years (PHOTOS)
“Why so serious?”
With The Dark Knight Rises -- Christopher Nolan's final film in his Batman trilogy -- in theaters this Friday, many fans are wondering if the late Heath Ledger's Joker character will be referenced at all in the highly anticipated movie.
Ledger, who passed away in 2008, famously won a posthumous Academy Award for the role in The Dark Knight.
Does Nolan have a Joker up his sleeve for The Dark Knight Rises?
Unfortunately, the character has been axed from the series, according to the franchise's director.
"That is something I felt very strongly about in terms of my relationship with Heath and the experience I went through with him on The Dark Knight. I didn’t want to in any way try and account for a real-life tragedy. That seemed inappropriate to me," Nolan told Empire. "We just have a new set of characters and a continuation of Bruce Wayne’s story. Not involving The Joker."
The Joker made its first debut in the 1940s comic Batman #1 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Though the villain started out as a comic book character, he has managed to hit the big screen as early as 1960. Cesar Romero was the first to portray the Joker in the 1966 television series Batman, before handing the role over to Jack Nicholson and Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.
Launch the gallery to see Joker's evolution through the years.