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Jul 192008

In The Dark Knight (Batman 3), the Joker got his scars from self-mutilation. The Joker told Rachel Dawes that his wife was once beautiful like Rachel. One day, her Father scarred her face with a knife. The Joker wanted her to feel she had company.

The Dark Knight, Batman, Joker

The Joker thought that he should also get some scars on his face to look like her. Solidarity with the Joker meant something to him. The Joker took a knife and he demonstrated to Rachel how he cut his lips to get a permanent smile. The Joker got his scars deliberately through self-harm.

The poor Joker was mis-led. His wife did not like his new scarred face. So the Joker got hurt. His wounded heart affected him.

At another instance, the Joker explained to Batman that his Father did not like his serious face. His Dad would ask him, “Why so serious?” So, the parent took a knife and cut the corners of his son’s lips to extend them into a smile.

The Joker asked the same question to Batman. “Why so serious?” In all the seriousness, the good guys failed to see the bigger plans of the Joker and they fell prey to his schemes.

The Joker told different stories about how he got his scars because he was a Joker who refused to be fingered and understood. He was mysterious, ambiguous but philosophical. The Joker was feared because of his scarred face. The audience was never made to hate the Joker. The movie goers were given explanations of how the Joker got his scars, how he developed his personality and how smart he was.

The Dark Knight videos are here.

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  25 Responses to “How did the Joker get his scars?”

  1. and yeah,the jokers dad cut his face with a blade. nice right?

  2. destruct26…I agree with you. You are not suppose to figure out the Joker. He tells different stories to mess with the people he wants to scare. In alot of the comics (read them if you have the time)he says or the story tells many different ways. Like I said before it’s meant to scare the person…make them feel something towards him so he can play games with the person’s head. HENCE the name “JOKER”!!!

  3. In one of the first Batman movies, it actually showed how the Joker got his Glasgow smile. It was Batman.

    The Joker (Jack Nicholson) was a member of the mafia, working his way up, about 20/30 years old probably. Some big work up that Batsy showed up at. You know those razor things on his armor? Sliced up the Joker…but actually is was only the left side, so the Joker might have evened it out later. He then fell into a vat of acid and escaped.

  4. I wish we could figure out why he rele got his scars =/

    i rele liked the wife story, cuz it showed that he truely loved her.

    and for the father story, then you could under stand why he’s so.. crazy.
    it’s gonna driver me cray(er)

  5. the point nolan was making was that hes a physchotic pathological liar whose stories keep changing. The comics say the same thing. He never has a viable origin. The Joker, as far as dc villians go, are scared to death by him- the quote by one of them was, “Children tell ghost stories to scare themselves. Villians? They tell Joker stories.” Because he is unpredictable and distracting, he always gets you when you least expect it. The movie took bits of possible truths from his origin and spun it, even if youre trying to analyze it in lie detector mode, it doesnt matter. Hes a dedicated anarchist who is alone in his own little world. Just like Batman, who is isolated and alone. No one except those two unretstand each other, because opposites attract and they need each in a disorted yin yang way. Thats why the audience can never bonds with the character of the joker or feel remorse for him. Nolan wrote him that way like he is in the comics. Any humanity that existed in the Joker was destroyed the day he became the Joker. How do you believe anyone that far gone?

  6. the truth is the story about his wife. It is the onl time he looks straight ahead. every time he lies he looks away. you all missed it!

  7. There are a few of the comic explanations as well. You should get it by now that his origin continously changes. Here are two possibilities; A bullet struck his cheeks, when he shot at the batman. Or a batarang hit him in one of the Chemical Origins. Then there’s always the Plastic Surgery, the Abusive Father, and the Gambling Wife. There’s no definite story. We may as well give up. The actual creator of the Joker is dead, anyway…

  8. ok first of all you must not have paid attention to the movie at all because not once did he tell that to batman and he didn’t tell the story about his father to batman. it was told to gamble (one of the leaders in the mob). i’ve seen the movie about twenty times now and have carefully observed all the aspects of how he could have received them. yes you are correct in the fact that he would make different stories for different people so they wouldn’t feel alone when he did it. and yes i agree that it was self-afflicted but just understand that not once was batman apart of any of the stories. the time he tried to be apart of them batman ended up giving him more cuts and he was never given a story as to how he (the joker) received the scars.

  9. destruct26 and everyone here –


  10. P2: Years later in Hush Returns comic, it is revealed that he wanted to back out of the job last minute and the two mob guys muscled him back in by orchestrating the gas explosion and hiring a dirty cop to do so. So, as you see, there are SO many stories that are similar and yet completely different. TDK and Heath encapture the Jokers essence perfectly by keeping you to constantly guess.

  11. P1: Read the comic “Its Joker Time!” This clearly explains Jokers logic into being so insane that even under hypnosis, he himself has such a chaotic state of mind built on lies and deception that hes too far gone to really remember how he became the Joker. Later on, he just makes it up as he goes. He is the one villian in the DC universe that is not only the most feared by heroes and villians alike, but has NO viable origin story, and has the highest amount of interpretations of how he became that way than anyone. In TDK, remember what he said to Detective Stephens in the interrogation room about why he likes to use a knife with his victims?- he somehow connects with them by projecting fear into them, recreating what happened to him or what he believes happened to him. It keeps you guessing- with Gamble, he explains his drunken dad does it to him. In one episode of Batman, the Animated Series, he says in a therapy session with Harley that his dad abused him, just to get sympathy from her. Batman later says to her, you actually FELL for that one? He says that all the time, just like he said this, and that… Then, at Bruces party, he identifies with the elderly man upon being provoked that he reminds him of his father- and uses a knife to make them understand. Then Rachel provokes him. Now he identifies with her. Possibly the someone he can never have? Evoking sympathy like the Harley point i mentioned earlier? Says the mob did it to his wife cuz she gambled and didnt pay up- wasnt he ripping off the mob and killed 3 of thier members? Maybe some displaced anger toward the mob of a life they ruined for him? He wants to see her smile. So he mutilates himself to equal her. In Killing Joke, its implied he is a struggling commedian trying to make a better living for him and his pregnant wife. He takes a one time job with two mob-like members to make a ton of money and in turn, his wife and unborn child die in a freak gas explosion before he does the job, and jumps/falls into the acid, succumbing to his clownish fate.

  12. I think a few ppl are not reading the all posts and keep asking the same questions. You dont know how he got his scars. He tells 2 different stories in the movie and God know how many others to his victims. He makes it up. Remember the story Alfred tells Bruce when he ends off by saying ” some ppl just like to see the world burn”. He is saying that sometimes there is no explaination for ppls insanity. He is just insane. Thats what makes him a great villain.

    The Joker just is. It doesn’t matter why.

  13. i think that he did 1 half and his dad did the other !! its pretty sick though but thats what we love him for #

    go joker !!!!!!

  14. This little part of the movie was a completely genius device. The first story is an attempt to make the audience (us) rationalize his actions. In most movies, the bad guy is bad because of his past. However, you later find out that the joker is just making up stories to screw with his victims, or maybe because he enjoys it. Now our opinion of the joker goes from, “Crazy guy, because he was abused as a kid” to “Crazy guy that makes up horrible stories, and may have no justification for his actions what so ever”. By doing so, Nolan turns the Joker into a character that truly believes in chaos and evil. He has no reason for his actions, which is what makes him the awesome villan he is.


    Read The Killing Joke!!! it came out in 1988.
    That is the best Joker story ever told and if you cant work out that its only the films hes scared in then just give up. he was never scared in the comics, just his skin and hair changed colour.

    i thank you

  16. tres,

    In The Dark Knight (Batman 3), Harvey Dent was trying to escape from his basement cell when he went up against the leaking keroscene and the flammable fluid drenched the left side of his face. Batman came to rescue him and then the fire started. A spark caught onto Harvey’s face because of the keroscence and he was scorched.

  17. harvey dent had acid threw at him,not the joker.and i’m not really sure how he got the cuts.i think it explains it in the original joker movie with jack nicholson.i think so anyway.

  18. I watched the movie and wished I could write the notes in the dark. The Joker was one of the main characters who influenced the entire plot. His monologue after his final capture by Batman was the cream of the cake. He explained almost everything at the end.

  19. Okay, who actually saw the movie? In the first instance, he tells the gangster his dad got drunk, killed is mom, then slices his mouth because he’s drunk, nothing to do with his ‘serious face’. In the second instance his ‘wife’ gets in trouble with loan sharks and they cut her face, so he does his with the razor to cheer her up.

  20. ” The movie goers were given explanations of how the Joker got his scars, how he developed his personality and how smart he was.” -the writer of this article

    this is completely wrong, you missed a huge point of Nolan’s in the movie. He uses the scars to show insanity obviously, but the joker says different was to show his unreliability. The movie goers are not meant to see how developed his “personality” or how “smart” he was, but actually to make him not be sympathized by the audience like you say. From the lack of sympathy by the audience, hes more scary because he is unrelatable and different; people cannot get into his show and rationalize his actions because of abuse or loss of love.

  21. The Joker may or may not have revealed the truth on how he got his scars. He tells the black gangster guy one thing in the new Dark Knight movie and then tells Rachael Dawes a different story. This follows along the same logic as DC Comics. The joker always told a different story. So we never really get a clear picture on The Joker and how he actually received his scars.

  22. no he said his drunk dad killed his mother by stabbing her and laughing as he did it then cut up his face while saying that crap, and it was a razor blade he stuck in his mouth to make his wife happy.
    pretty messed up guy, lots of different versions.

  23. I wanna cut my face like the Joker. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!

  24. In the original series, the Joker was dropped in a vat of acid which resulted in some not-so-prettiness. In this new Batman series we’re not supposed to know. For all we know, he did it to himself, just for kicks!

  25. in another part of the film though, he says that it was his drunk dad-first carving his mom’s face then his…b/c his dad was all why so serious, lets put a smile on that face….and he gave the joker a smile

    soo, im kinda confused as to how the joker really got his smile.

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