It's been a full decade since arguably the most influential superhero movie of all time, The Dark Knight, hit theaters -- coincidentally, the same year the Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched with the release of Iron Man. However, in reflecting on the film's 10-year anniversary, actor Michael Jai White, who played the gangster known as Gambol, revealed that death at the hands of The Joker wasn't always in the cards for his character. In fact, White didn't even realize Gambol was killed off in the film until he witnessed it firsthand the night of the premiere.
"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," White told The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
As fans of The Dark Knight will recall, Gambol was sliced ear to ear by The Joker after placing a tantalizing bounty on the Clown Prince of Crime's head. As White went on to explain, though, that scene wasn't originally intended to be the last of Gambol.
"I think that people can tell by the strange cut that I never shot a death scene," he said. "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," White continued. "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 mind-set, so I was able to look at it and think, 'I guess they must have wanted to go this way.'"
The death of Joker actor Heath Ledger led to a number of changes to the remainder of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. In fact, even Ledger himself had plans to return for the third installment in the franchise, The Dark Knight Rises. In January 2018, Kate Ledger said, "I spoke to him the night before [he died] and we were laughing and joking. He was so proud of what he had done in Batman. And I know he had plans for another Batman."