Mark Hamill Reflects on His Joker Role in ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

26 years after first voicing the character, Joker actor Mark Hamill says he was honored to board Batman: The Animated Series.

“It was truly an honor to be entrusted to play the character in the original Batman: TAS back in ’92,” Hamill wrote on Twitter Saturday. “I had no idea at the time the impact it would have on my career or how it would be received by Bat-fans worldwide — but it’s the gift that keeps on giving!”

An accomplished voice actor, Hamill’s tenure as the character saw him perform Batman’s arch foe in follow-up series The New Batman Adventures and Justice League, and animated feature length movies Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

He famously voiced the character again in Rocksteady’s acclaimed Batman: Arkham video game trilogy and most recently in the animated Batman: The Killing Joke and in much lighter fare with ’toon series Justice League Action. Hamill will again lend his voice to the kid-friendly LEGO DC Super-Villains video game to release later this year.

As recounted by DC Animation vet Bruce Timm during last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Batman: The Animated Series producers nearly overlooked Hamill and originally tapped The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Stephen King’s It star Tim Curry for the role.

“Most of you guys probably know Mark first did the voice for us in the first Mr. Freeze episode — he played the guy who caused Mr. Freeze’s wife to end up in a coma,” Timm said. Hamill was “so excited and full of enthusiasm for Batman” the filmmakers recruited him to play the Dark Knight’s most infamous enemy.

“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,” Timm said. “And he 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.”

Hamill later explained his take on the Clown Prince of Crime drew inspiration from The Invisible Man actor Claude Rains and talk show host and comedian Jay Leno.

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“[Rains] had sort of the grit that I incorporated into it, and I said to the voiceover people later, I would do a character, and I would say, ‘It's sort of like Howard Cosell meets Jay Leno, is that a cheat?’” Hamill told Sway’s Universe. “And they said, ‘No, we do that all the time.’”

Batman: The Animated Series will be available for streaming in HD through the DC Universe app and will make its Blu-ray debut sometime this year.