Batman: The Animated Series largely owes its success to Kevin Conroy’s unmatched performance as the titular Caped Crusader. However, Mark Hamill’s Joker was just as vital to the show’s high status. Conroy and Hamill’s definitive takes on their respective characters made them one of the most iconic pairings in the history of animation. Unfortunately, their collaborative journey reached a sad conclusion last fall when Conroy passed away at the age of 66. And this has given Hamill pause about reprising his own role as the Clown Prince of Crime in future productions, suggesting that his time as the character has come to an end.
Hamill made his thoughts known while addressing the loss of Conroy in the latest issue of Empire (via Screen Rant). To be fair, his comments don’t read like he’s officially announcing his retirement. But he still doesn’t sound too keen on revisiting the DC Universe if Conroy isn’t tagging along.
“They would call and say, ‘They want you to do the Joker,’” explained Hamill. “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.”
As far as we can tell, the only instance of Hamill voicing The Joker in a project that didn’t involve Conroy’s Batman was The WB’s short-lived Birds of Prey series, where he made a brief vocal cameo as the villain in the show’s 2002 pilot episode. Other than this, Conroy was there with him every step of the way for 30 years, starting with their time together on Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 all the way up to more recent titles like Justice League Action and Rocksteady’s Arkham video games.
Shortly after Conroy’s passing, the developers behind Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League confirmed that the upcoming video game marks his final voiceover performance as Batman. The studio has yet to announce if Hamill’s character will appear in the game as well. But seeing as how the game takes place in the same universe as the Arkham trilogy, which killed off The Joker in 2011’s Batman: Arkham City (and subsequently brought him back as a hallucination in 2015’s Batman: Arkham Knight), Hamill may not have gotten the chance to join his old friend in the recording booth one last time.
How do you feel about Hamill stepping away from his role as The Joker? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Batman: The Animated Series: The Phantom City Creative Collection
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