So after reading about how we’re actually going to get a Joker origins movie, I started thinking about The Dark Knight and howit portrayed the Joker. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that with one fundamental change, the movie could have been a lot more interesting.
I’m not really sure I need to a spoiler warning for a film that’s both ten years old and as popular as The Dark Knight was. Most everybody has seen it by now, but still: this is your spoiler warning.
In the film, Bruce Wayne’s ex-girlfriend Rachel Dawes (now portrayed by Maggie Gyllanhaal) is currently dating Gotham’s District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). For anyone who knows who Harvey Dent is in the comics, they were anticipating throughout the film the moment when he becomes Two-Face. In fact, the moment came around halfway through the film, when the Joker (Heath Ledger) kidnaps both Harvey and Rachel, attaches them both to explosives, and then tricks Batman into rescuing Harvey and letting Rachel die. Half of Harvey’s face is burned and the resulting mental anguish causes him to want revenge on Batman for not saving Rachel.
But here’s the thing: what if Batman had saved Rachel instead? Say, instead of Batman falling for the Joker’s tricks, he sees through them, goes to save Rachel and it’s Harvey that dies, while Rachel’s face is burned. Unlike Harvey, Rachel knows who Batman is and would know why he would save her over Harvey — so, of course, she would totally blame him for rescuing her over her boyfriend. This, plus the mental anguish, could drive her over the edge and into villainy.
In fact, earlier in the film, Harvey gives his double-headed coin to Rachel. What if this became foreshadowing and it was Rachel that become Two-Face instead of Harvey? It would be a massive twist that the audience wouldn’t see coming.
This would automatically make things so much more interesting. Batman would no longer be facing off against someone he barely met a few days ago, but a lifelong friend and former girlfriend. And once Rachel dies at the end, this would give him more impetus to resign as Batman — saving Harvey’s reputation as the “White Knight” of Gotham always seemed weird, like the entire city would crazy if they knew he went crazy? But Rachel dying means that one of Batman’s last ties to his childhood is now gone.
Hell, the way the movie actually plays out, Rachel barely gets any agency — and the one bit of agency she does have, choosing Harvey over Bruce, is removed after her death by Alfred since he believes Bruce couldn’t handle knowing it. (Laaaaaaame. Also: it goes nowhere in The Dark Knight Rises.) But a Two-Face Rachel would have all the agency — and she would make a much better villain than Talia al Ghul did in The Dark Knight Rises.
What do you people think?