While most people who know the name Mark Hamill might remember him as Luke Skywalker, the role that he’s truly owned more than any other is that of the Joker. He lent his voice to Joker for Batman: The Animated Series and helped define the character to a whole generation.
“I played The Joker from 1992 to 2004, for the entire run of the series,” he says. “I did everything, even the talking toys. They weren’t going to hire me, they were going to get another guy and I got very protective of the character. They said, ‘Well, we can’t pay you what you expect, we can only pay a scale.’ I said, ‘Look, I’d rather not let anyone else sleep in my sleeping bag.’ I would do all those things for scale. I even did the voices on the Australian Batman rollercoaster ride, I’m totally into it.”
Still, Hamill was somewhat reluctant to return to the role for Batman: Arkham Asylum. “When they said, ‘We want you to come back [to the role of The Joker] and do Arkham,’ I said the same; ‘I left on a high note, I don’t think we could ever top that.’ But they said, ‘We got Paul Dini,’ who was my favourite ever Joker writer, ‘and Kevin Conroy,’ who I love. This was a real reunion and a very pleasant experience. So of course I relented, but I had no idea it would have the impact it did.”
Ironically, that translated into even more reluctance to do the sequel. “My answer to [developers Rocksteady] for the sequel was, ‘Guys, we’re never going to be able to top the original.’ It was so claustrophobic. There were so many abilities like the stealth mode, and all those things you can do with the new technology. I wanted to be able to say I’d gone out on a high note.”
Eventually, he relented to their request. “I got on the phone with Rocksteady and they really reassured me and told me what they were going to do with the sequel. But I’m sworn to secrecy!”
“This will be my last, there’s no question about that. But it’s the last hurrah,” he said with a touch of finality.