Mark Hamill has announced that we have heard his iconic laugh as The Joker for the last time.
The actor, who has portrayed The Clown Prince of Crime across multiple media since 1992’s Batman The Animated Series, has declared recently that he will never voice the villain again. Further, he has also noted it has much to do with the passing of longtime Batman voice actor and collaborator, Kevin Conroy, last year.
Mark Hamill And Kevin Conroy, BTAS’ True Dynamic Duo
In fact, Kevin’s involvement in any Batman-related project was the tipping point in any pitch thrown at Hamill to step up to the mike again. “They would call and say, ‘They want you to do the Joker,’ and my only question was, ‘Is Kevin Batman?’ If they said yes, I would say, ‘I’m in.’ We were like partners. We were like Laurel and Hardy. Without Kevin there, there doesn’t seem to be a Batman for me.”
Mark’s words mirror a line that he read as The Joker in the BTAS episode “The Man Who Killed Batman.” With the Dark Knight believed to be dead, and his failure to appear at a robbery the clown had staged to draw him out, he told Harley and company to leave the goods behind. A disheartened Joker finally declared, “Without Batman, crime has no punchline.”
Hamill was, in fact, not the first person to be cast in the iconic series as The Joker. Initially, it had been actor Tim Curry in the role. Mark had voiced the role of Ferris Boyle in the Emmy-winning Mister Freeze episode “Heart of Ice.” Winning Voice Director Andrea Romano over, he re-recorded the lines Curry had performed for the first few Joker episodes, and off they went. Mark went out of his way to make his laughter an indicator of Joker’s moods and based his take on Blue Meany from the animated Beatles project Yellow Submarine. And because he chose to stand and use manic body language as he read his lines, the animators took note of those gestures and incorporated them into their sketches. His take on The Joker was so defining and unique, Hamill has been the gold standard that every other Joker voice actor looks to for inspiration.
Since BTAS and its spinoff film Batman: Mask of The Phantasm, he had reprised the character on Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker, Justice League, Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, Justice League Action, three of Rocksteady’s four Batman: Arkham games, DC Universe Online, and Batman: The Killing Joke. And yes, in every one of those aforementioned projects, Kevin’s Batman was there to trade quips and blows with Mark’s Joker. It seems poignant since the criminal never wanted to be separated from his nemesis that Mark would step away from the mic because Kevin would not be there to confront him. Regardless, there are no smiles in the animation fan community today, and no Joker Toxin will make any difference either.
RIP Mark Hamill Joker. Thanks for the laughs.
Official Source – Mark Hamill Explains Why He Won’t Voice The Joker Again (comingsoon.net)