The Joker is one of Batman's most iconic villains. Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, Joker first appeared in 1940's Batman #1. Although the original intention was to have Joker die in his second appearance, editor Whitney Ellsworth overruled that decision. It's hard to imagine the Dark Knight without the Clown Prince of Crime, so it seems like a good thing Ellsworth stepped in, as the choice to get rid of Joker might have meant the loss of some of the most iconic Batman stories.
The Joker has a lot of representation outside comics, and many actors have played the villain over the years. The fact that he doesn't really have one definitive backstory makes him particularly well-suited to adaptations, as there's a lot of room for actors to define the character. Star Wars star Mark Hamill voiced Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and has since played the role in many other properties, while actors including Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto have brought the character to life on the big-screen, with Ledger posthumously winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.
Considering the villain's long history, it shouldn't come as a surprised that he's changed a lot over the years. Check out the video below to find out more about how the Joker has evolved over time.
There are currently two actors playing live-action versions of the character: Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix, who will star in a solo movie focused on the Clown Prince of Crime. Filming for that movie wrapped earlier this month, and it's expected in theaters late next year. Leto is expected to reprise his role in the upcoming sequel to Suicide Squad and a spin-off film focused on Joker and Harley Quinn, who is played in the DC Extended Universe by Margot Robbie.
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