Mark Hamill will forever be known as Luke Skywalker; there is no changing that fact. However, for comic fans, he is also known as the best actor to ever portray The Joker.
While Heath Ledger portrayed The Joker in The Dark Knight to chilling success, Mark Hamill has been lending his voice to “Mr. J” for years, starting with the incredible Batman: The Animated Series. If you have played a recent Batman video game, or have seen an animated Batman movie in the past 20 years, there is an extremely good chance you have heard his iconic vocal performance.
Shockingly, it wasn’t always going to be this way. Before Mark Hamill swooped in and gave the Joker a lasting voice, a different actor was set to voice him in Batman: The Animated Series: veteran actor Tim Curry. As initially reported by Comicbook.com, during a 20 year anniversary for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm held at the San Diego Comic-Con, comic artist Bruce Timm revealed Hamill’s immediate desire to play the part, and Curry’s initial casting:
“[Hamill] was so excited and full of enthusiasm for Batman. He’s a huge comic book fan and he really wanted to play one of the big villains at that time and he specifically mentioned The Joker, and at that time we were using Tim Curry as the Joker. [Hamill] was really disappointed and he said, ‘well, if anybody else shows up like Hugo Strange or somebody, give me a call.’ So many months later we made the difficult decision to replace Tim and we brought Mark in to audition for The Joker and he nailed it.”
Tim Curry obviously would been a fantastic “Clown Prince of Crime”. However, it’s probably safe to say that Warner Bros. made the right choice. After all, when reading any Batman comic, who doesn’t hear Hamill’s voice whenever The Joker graces the page?
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