I just need to get this out of my system.
A big part of what makes The Dark Knight great is the fact that the backstory of The Joker, its main villain, isn’t fleshed out. At all. This theory aims to completely undo that virtue by connecting the dots between Fight Club’s Tyler Durden and the Clown Prince of Crime.
Now this may seem far fetched at first, but it explains so much of the Joker mythos that it’s funny. Wanna know how he got those scars? Well, he got them at the end of Fight Club when he shot himself in the damn face to try to kill the part of himself that founded Project Mayhem. In the movie, the shadows sort of make it hard to see what’s going on when Tyler pulls the trigger, but the book spells things out pretty clearly:
“The bullet out of Tyler’s gun, it tore out my other cheek to give me a jagged smile from ear to ear. Yeah, just like an angry Halloween pumpkin. Japanese demon. Dragon of Avarice.”
So although Tyler-Joker’s troubled relationship with his father
(alluded to in Fight Club in the bathtub scene) and his unhappy history with women
(alluded to in Fight Club by the fact that he founds the most homoerotic terrorist cell ever excluding all Masters of the Universe fanclubs) might have helped drive him bananas enough to get him to the point where he had a gun in his mouth in the first place, it was Tyler-Joker himself who pulled the trigger.
The original Fight Club novel reveals that Tyler-Joker is condemned to a mental institution, which would be the end of his story if it weren’t for a bunch of Project Mayhem members having infiltrated the place as staff. From Fight Club:
“…every once in a while, somebody brings me my lunch tray and my meds and he has a black eye or his forehead is swollen with stitches, and he says:
‘We miss you Mr. Durden.’
Or somebody with a broken nose pushes a mop past me and whispers:
‘Everything’s going according to the plan.’
‘We’re going to break up civilization so we can make something better out of the world.’
‘We look forward to getting you back.’”
Holy crap, so if Tyler-Joker managed to break out of that mental hospital he’d pretty much just be a madman with a private army bent on unmaking civilization. Good thing that they keep those places locked down like Fort Knox and there’s no way he’s getting out.
Hey, wait, if we’re assuming that this is happening parallel to Batman Begins, where would that movie be right now? Maybe at the part where the bad guys break all of the mental patients out of the hospital and put Tyler-Joker back on the street. From the Batman Begins screenplay…
“INT. FOGBOUND ARKHAM ASYLUM — EVENING 286
An INMATE at the window of his cell. A CLUNK- he turns- his
cell door is OPEN. He looks out into the corridors…
287 INT. MIST-FILLED CORRIDOR, ARKHAM ASYLUM — CONTINUOUS 287
Crane, in Scarecrow mask, RINGS down the corridor, LAUGHING,
unlocked each door in turn.
Inmates emerge from their cells, confused.”
So, now Tyler is free, gassed by a neurotoxin which, as we learn in Batman Begins, causes hallucinations, and reunited with his standing army of anarcho-terrorists. Seeing himself in the mirror with those scars that make him look like a grinning clown, he adopts yet another identity: The Joker. His split personality is gone, but he maintains his obsession with duality, light and darkness. Just look at what he does to Harvey “Two-Face” Dent.
Actually, don’t look. It’s gross.
“But wait,” I hear you ask, “what about Marla Singer, every Fight Clubber’s favorite nihilistic love interest? How does she fit into the Dark Knight mythos?”
Thanks for listening. I feel much better.