Back to IndieWire

‘The Dark Knight’: Patton Oswalt Shares His Personal Origin Story Theory For Heath Ledger’s Joker

Christopher Nolan infamously keeps The Joker's backstory elusive in "The Dark Knight," but here's one fan theory that makes a whole lot of sense.

Patton Oswalt and "The Dark Knight"

Patton Oswalt and “The Dark Knight”


Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan’s screenplay for “The Dark Knight” purposefully keeps the backstory of Heath Ledger’s Joker elusive, which has spawned countless fan theories about this iteration of the character. One of the more popular theories claims “The Dark Knight” Joker is a war veteran suffering from PTSD, but Patton Oswalt has his own twist on this backstory for the character. The comedian used his official Facebook page following a re-watch of the film this month to share his personal theory about The Joker’s background.

“I just re-watched ‘The Dark Knigt’ and another wrinkle came to mind about The Joker: What if he’s not only ex-military, but ex-military intelligence? Specifically — interrogation?” Oswalt wrote. “He seems to be very good at the kind of mind-fuckery that sustained, professional interrogation requires. His boast about how ‘I know the squealers’ when he sees one. The way he adjusts his personality and methods depending on who he’s talking to, and knowing exactly the reaction he’ll get.”

Oswalt is a self-professed Batman super-fan, so it’s awesome to see him try and piece together what little clues the Nolan brothers give viewers in “The Dark Knight” to come up with a concrete origin story for The Joker. Read Oswalt’s full Joker theory in the Facebook post below.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox