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Old 04-22-2017, 10:08 AM   #1
Rorschach2012
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Default Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

--Forgive the insensitivity, I have the utmost respect for Ledger--

How would the movie be different? Here's a place to discuss how the story would've changed if Heath was still alive.

I would've loved a TDKReturns-inspired Joker. He could have been in a catatonic state for those 8 years that Batman was absent, coming back when Batman returns...

Just imagine a showdown at the tunnel of love with Bale and Ledger.

TDK was amazing, but god i wish we could've gotten the final battle between Bale and Ledger

RIP Heath!

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Old 04-22-2017, 11:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

I don't think Nolan would have been interested in another Joker vs Batman tale with Ledger once again as the main baddie. So Nolan either would have handed over the franchise with Ledger and Bale returning (not s TDKReturns story though, because WB would want to milk that Batman and Joker for as many films as possible). Or Nolan would have made Rises with a few Joker scenes and that's it.

So if another director took charge, that would be the big question. What kind of movie would that have been? I don't think they would age the two too much. Heath was contractually obligated to return so yeah.

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Old 04-22-2017, 12:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

Wasn't the plan for Batman 3 to be about Joker's trial?

Essentially courtroom drama with Batman characters?

At least Heath would have played Cobb in Inception.

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Old 04-22-2017, 12:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

That was before the final draft of TDK. With Dent alive and only becoming two face during that trial.

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Old 04-22-2017, 07:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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So Nolan either would have handed over the franchise with Ledger and Bale returning
So happy that didn't happen. It would get stale to rely on the Joker over and over as great as he is.

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Old 04-22-2017, 08:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

I imagine the story would be pretty different, being set probably at most four years after TDK and/or without the idea that Batman had outright retired. I had trouble believing that the Joker wouldn't have escaped within 8 years and think him not having done so was just forced on the film by Ledger's death.
The film would probably be more conventional, Joker and the Riddler teaming up against Batman, with Bane being held back for a final film.

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Old 04-22-2017, 10:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

Oh man, I've gone back and forth on what could have possibly been with Ledger's inclusion in TDKR. On one hand, I felt pretty strongly that Nolan would have still made a pretty heavily inspired version of TDKReturns for his final Batman film. And that the Joker would have had played a smaller, but extremely integral role in the film. I also didn't think Catwoman would have been in it if the Joker had returned, because Jonathan Nolan had to do some serious convincing to have Chris include her in Rises. Rises was already pretty stuffed with characters and had the Joker returned I think Selina doesn't make the cut.

I also think Nolan would have still wanted a physical threat as the main antagonist. And Bane really fit the bill perfectly. But this is where I'm not so sure. TDK goes out of it's way to show that Batman's presence and the arrival of the Joker has really screwed up the status quo of Gotham's crime syndicate. So much so, that things have been changed....forever. Now if Nolan decided to go down that path and the mob has been replaced by mostly freak criminals, do we get a return of the LOS with Bane/Talia? Maybe we get Bane but in a different capacity.

So......I have no idea anymore, lol. But it's so fun to speculate just how different TDKR would have turned out with the inclusion of the Joker, even in a smaller capacity. I really think in some sort of alternate reality we got that film.

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Old 04-22-2017, 11:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

I've thought about that freak element a lot too and I've come to my own conclusion that it was never the plan after TDK. I think we jumped to that conclusion once Joker said they'll be doubling up on all the freaks once Gotham finds out what Dent really did. Let's not forget that after that line, Batman tells him nope you'll be in a padded cell forever. Joker thought Two Face would be exposed and that's how Joker would win. His creation terrorizes and plunges the city down a bigger hole. Batman makes sure that doesn't happen at the end.

You've changed things forever. Well, he did. Freak gangsters or not.

I think Selina would have been in the film. I disagree JackWhite. It's Talia that would have been tossed out of the script along with the league of shadows. Ledger alive or not, Nolan wasn't returning unless he ended the story. And Jonathan was not going to let Chris complete a batman saga without Catwoman.

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Old 04-23-2017, 12:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

I've said this elsewhere, but I don't think you could take Rises as it is and insert Joker into it. I think Bane and his men would've killed him rather than let him jeopardize their plan, which he almost certainly would. So if you relegate him to a couple of scenes mostly divorced from the main narrative you'd have to question why put him in at all. Some people have speculated he could've taken Crane's role as the court judge, but that seems too minor for him and not particularly in character. It made perfect sense for Crane to be doing that. The first time you see him in Begins he's in a court room assisting the bad guys.

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Old 04-23-2017, 02:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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I think Selina doesn't make the cut.
Who would the main female presence be with Rachel having died in TDK?

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Old 04-23-2017, 06:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

It would have been a better film.

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Old 04-23-2017, 08:50 AM   #12
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

One actors presence doesn't automatically make it a better film though.

Good point about inserting Joker just to insert the Joker. I honestly do t believe Joker would have been in the movie outside of a couple of scenes. Much like the use of Crane in TDK and TDKR.

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Old 04-23-2017, 09:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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Originally Posted by shauner111 View Post
One actors presence doesn't automatically make it a better film though.

Good point about inserting Joker just to insert the Joker. I honestly do t believe Joker would have been in the movie outside of a couple of scenes. Much like the use of Crane in TDK and TDKR.
I don't know. There's so much more to do with Joker than with Crane and DK leaves things with a perfect set up for what DKR wanted to do: expose a lie that led to peace.

Gotham is cleaning up but the Dent Act is being abused. Minor offenders are locked up alongside violent inmates in Blackgate and, once that is over crowded, Arkham.

There's the set up for civil unrest.

Batman isn't around so Joker decides to expose Harvey Dent for what he was in his final days. The joke being that he doesn't care about the truth or justice or anything like that.

He'll ruin Gotham's fabricated peace just to see Batman again.

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Old 04-23-2017, 09:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

There's no doubt in my mind Joker would have had a significant part in TDKR had Heath not passed away. I think the whole Dent conspiracy would have unfolded in a far more interesting way than Bane finding a confession letter in Gordon's pocket and making a speech about it to the press.

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Old 04-23-2017, 12:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

I've pondered this so much that I've gotten to the point where I almost feel like it was just tragic fate that it worked out this way. Not to get like overly metaphysical or cooky about it, but I sometimes just can't help but feel like the universe kind of "meant" for his Joker performance to be an epic mic drop on his tragically short life. If you're willing to entertain the "some things happen for a reason" line of thinking, then it's easier to accept the way things turned out rather than getting too caught up in the "what if?" game for what the third movie would've been. I know not everyone thinks that way though, just thought I'd offer a different perspective. Especially when you consider that Goyer originally had a rough outline for the whole trilogy, but Nolan consciously made the choice to put all of those ideas into TDK to make TDK the best possible movie and so that they'd be forced to come up with fresh ideas if they ever did a third movie.

Now, if there's a Jonathan Nolan or David Goyer notebook sitting on a shelf somewhere with rough ideas and outlines for a third movie written before Heath passed, obviously we'd all kill to see that. But I'm not so sure really. I know Jonathan got hired by Spielberg to start working on Interstellar in 2008. Chris was obviously knee-deep in making TDK. It's possible Goyer had some ideas. We now know he pitched Bane to Chris in 2008, after the release of TDK. We also know he said if Heath were alive, it would've been a no-brainer to bring him back. Something tells me if we ever want more answers about how far along any ideas were, he'd be the guy to ask and the most likely to spill something.

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Old 04-23-2017, 06:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

Shauner, you do bring up a good point about Jonathan not letting Chris finish off the trilogy without Catwoman being involved. Either way, the female lead had to have been either Selina or Talia.

I can't find the quote, but I remember Goyer saying he and Chris had the ending for Rises years before filming had started.

I'm not really a "if it's meant to be, it's meant to be type", but there definitely is this tragic romanticism vibe with Heath's performance being one and done as the Joker in TDK. Him dying before the films release just made his performance that much more real and eerie. Almost ten years after his death; and it seems so bizarre to think of Heath and say Bale doing pressers or late show spots together, talking about little moments during the filming of the movie.

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Old 04-23-2017, 07:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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Originally Posted by Rorschach2012 View Post
I would've loved a TDKReturns-inspired Joker. He could have been in a catatonic state for those 8 years that Batman was absent, coming back when Batman returns...

Just imagine a showdown at the tunnel of love with Bale and Ledger.
Those elements would have been fantastic to see, no argument - but I'm one of those who thinks Rises is just fine as it is. There is nothing about that movie that makes me wish Ledger had been in it - much as I loved his performance in TDK. That's not to say if there had been further films in the series that I wouldn't have wanted to see him back at some point, because I would.

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Old 04-23-2017, 07:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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I can't find the quote, but I remember Goyer saying he and Chris had the ending for Rises years before filming had started.
Yes, he definitely said that.

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Old 04-23-2017, 07:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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So happy that didn't happen. It would get stale to rely on the Joker over and over as great as he is.
I loved Ledger's performance, but yes I agree with you.

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Old 04-23-2017, 07:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

They actually had it before Begins. And by ending I think they meant the Bruce and Alfred happy exchange, in a cafe outside of Gotham. Not the Blake rising shot or Selina being in the shot with Bruce. Because the last thing in the script is actually the Bruce/Alfred nod.

I think there's too many great rogues in Batman's world to just write the Joker in as the antagonist for two films in a row. I don't believe for a second that Nolan would have given Joker a huge role like he had in TDK. Chris doesn't roll that way. Story comes first with him but so does this mentality of not repeating himself. He strikes me as the kind of guy who would think Joker vs Batman 2 would have looked like a cash grab, trying to recapture TDK's success. Much like his Riddler comments. Bane and Joker? Maybe. But I don't see anything more than some darkly lit scenes inside Arkham without his facepaint. Barely any up close shots of Heath's face, no purple suit, just him in a cell (padded?).

But what would be the point? Who is visiting him? Bane? Bruce in disguise? Batman? Gordon? What kind of information do they want from a guy like Joker? Is it fan service?

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Last edited by shauner111; 04-23-2017 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:12 PM   #21
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Thumbs up Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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I think there's too many great rogues in Batman's world to just write the Joker in as the antagonist for two films in a row.
Thumbs up to this all the way

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Old 04-23-2017, 11:00 PM   #22
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

I imagine Batman visiting the Joker in Arkham, possibly after Bruce escapes the pit, and there being a reference to Joker's line in TDK about when the chips are down people will eat each other. It would work extremely well with Bane giving the people of Gotham control to take back the city.

Only thing is why exactly would Batman be visiting the Joker at that point in the film? I could see it as Bruce not knowing if he will stop the bomb from going off, so he figured he'd give the Joker one last visit, just in case this it for them and the entire city. But then the whole meeting would have to tie into Bane somehow, so Joker and him would have to have some type of connection.

And I don't see Bane killing the Joker. I remember that fan-fiction where Crane is walking with Bane and his men down the halls of Blackgate and Bane is like nope, leave him in his cell, lol. If Bane left Bruce all by himself in the pit for 3 months to inevitably escape, then I figure he'd leave the Joker in Blackgate too.

You could even have the Joker showing up and killing Bane instead of Selina, thus having Batman and Joker have one final confrontation. The Joker would just be trying to stall and prevent Batman from stopping the bomb from going off. It would be a perfect Nolan-ized way of doing there final battle in TDKReturns.

But seriously, I'm rambling now.

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Old 04-23-2017, 11:07 PM   #23
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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Originally Posted by shauner111 View Post
I think there's too many great rogues in Batman's world to just write the Joker in as the antagonist for two films in a row.
Agreed. To me it would feel kinda lazy tbh.

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Old 04-24-2017, 06:57 PM   #24
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

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You could even have the Joker showing up and killing Bane instead of Selina, thus having Batman and Joker have one final confrontation. The Joker would just be trying to stall and prevent Batman from stopping the bomb from going off. It would be a perfect Nolan-ized way of doing there final battle in TDKReturns.
So happy that didn't happen.

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Old 04-24-2017, 07:27 PM   #25
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Default Re: Pardon the insensitivity, but what if Heath was still alive?

See, I'd have Joker take Bane's place, igniting a civil war to provoke Batman but not giving a s**t about society or messages. It's even better if you have the Dent Act corrupted and used for oppressive reasons.

As it turns out, people are ugly on the inside!

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