After Heath Ledger died, controversy surrounding 2008′s The Dark Knight led to an onslaught of publicity, as well as a posthumous Oscar win for Ledger and the title, according to millions of fanboys across the world, as the greatest comic-book movie film ever. Sure, credit is due to Nolan, but it was Ledger’s virtuoso performance that made the film.

His performance was so great it seemed appropriate that Christopher Nolan would exclude the character from The Dark Knight Rises - but as fans who have watched the movie know, he wasn’t even mentioned once. (Minor spoiler) They only mention “Harvey Dent’s fall” between those few who know of it (a.k.a. Joker turns him into Two-Face, screws him mentally, causes him to hold Gordon’s kid at gunpoint and shoot himself).

It’s obvious that Nolan kept Joker out of the movie out of respect to Ledger, but the lack of mention comes out more of an insult to the character. I mean, look at Joker’s impact on Gotham. He blew up a hospital, nearly killed two ships full of people, took over the mob, and indirectly caused the Batman to go into hiding – doesn’t that deserve some kind of nod?

Whatever happened to the Joker?

As NuketheFridge points out in this article, Joker is either in Arkham Asylum… or has escaped.

The official 415-page novelization of The Dark Knight Rises, written by Greg Cox, was released yesterday. Considering that this is, well, the “official” novelization, we can conclude that this is the official word to the whereabouts of Joker. This excerpt gives an explanation:

“Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible for the city’s criminals to cop an insanity plea, it [Blackgate Prison] had replaced Arkham Asylum as the preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina.”

Nuke had this to say:

“From a historical standpoint, Adolf Hitler’s Deputy Leader of the Nazi Party Rudolph Hess was convicted and sentenced to life in Spandau Prison on Oct. 1, 1946. He was the sole occupant from 1966 until his apparent suicide in 1987. By applying this form of punishment to Nolan’s Joker, there would be no one to talk to or play with. Thus, driving the ‘Man Who Laughs’ into further depths of his madness.”

In the movie it is mentioned that Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) spent time at Blackgate Prison (although breaks out of it) and would have an opportunity to find out about other inmates – the Joker included. Considering she lives off of what information – or pearl necklaces – she can steal, this would seem likely.

Is this a suitable explanation for you?