Mark Hamill Tells a Strange But True Joker Story: "Did You Get Fired?"

Mark Hamill is one of the most iconic Joker actors in the Batman franchise, but by now we know full well just how weird playing Joker can get for the actor involved. Case in point: Hamill was asked directly what "funny or strange" story from working on Batman: The Animated Series he could share, and as it turns out, the actor had one! The long-short of it is that no one at Warner Bros. Animation let Mark Hamill know that they were pulling in a special guest voice for Joker in one episode – and when Hamill found out, it made him wonder if he hadn't been fired! 

"A BTAS sound editor once asked me 'Did you get fired?' He was working on a Joker episode & knew it wasn't me," Hamill wrote in a post. "Called my agent & turns out it was 'Legends of the Dark Knight' featuring a salute to Dick Sprang's Joker of the 50's played by the great @MJMcKean! #truestory"

"Legends of the Dark Knight" is the nineteenth episode of Batman: The Animated Series; it follows a group of three kids doing some amateur sleuthing to find The Batman, and along the way, they trade stories of how they see Batman in their imaginations. Those two fantastical stories included a version of Frank Miller's famous "The Dark Knight Returns" storyline (Batman vs. The Mutant Gang), as well as a retro story of 1950s-style Batman and Robin taking down a classic comical version of The Joker. 

As Mark Hamill indicates, actor Michael McKean stepped in to voice the Joker in this retro segment of Batman: The Animated Series. McKean is a character-acting legend in his own right, with classics like Laverne & Shirley, the Clue movie, This Is Spinal Tap, The X-Files, and more recently Better Call Saul and Grace and Frankie all on his resume. And apparently Joker performance as well! 

It's pretty (messed up? funny?) that Mark Hamill didn't get a heads up before finding out another actor was taking on his character. Clearly,w Hamill handled the awkward moment with aplomb, because he went on to do some of his most memorable work in the rest of the Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures as Joker – a role that has never really ended for the actor (whenever he chooses to step in for another round). 

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You can stream Batman: The Animated Series episode "Legends of the Dark Knight" on HBO Max.