Jack Napier
Alias(es) The Joker
Appeared in Batman
Batman Forever
Status Deceased
Actor Jack Nicholson
Hugo Blick
David U. Hodges
"Jack? Jack is dead, my friend. You can call me... Joker. And as you can see, I'm a lot happier."
―The Joker [src]

Jack Napier was the man who murdered Batman's parents in Batman. He later fell into a vat of toxic waste and became The Joker.



Grissom's Number One Guy

Jack Napier was the narcissistic right-hand man of Boss Carl Grissom. Napier was having an affair with Grissom's girlfriend, Alicia Hunt, prompting the jealous crime lord to set his right-hand man up to be killed by the corrupt police officer Lt. Eckhardt at Axis Chemicals. However, Grissom's plan went awry thanks to intervention by both Batman and Commissioner James Gordon. After killing Eckhardt and then catching a ricocheted bullet in the face, Napier tumbled into a vat of chemicals.

Although Napier survives, the chemicals wreak a horrible toll: his hair is dyed green, his skin is bleached chalk white, and a botched attempt at reconstructive surgery severs critical facial nerves, leaving him with an eternal "smile".

The Joker

After his mind completely snapped after seeing his smile, he assumes his new identity as the Joker, he kills Grissom as revenge ("You set me up over a woman".) and takes over the gangster's empire, engaging in a violent, chaotic crime spree, the motive being to "outdo" Batman, who he feels was getting too much press. He also tries to woo Gotham Globe reporter Vicki Vale.

When Bruce Wayne learns about the Joker, he recalls that his parents were murdered by Jack Napier, realizing that the Joker is indirectly responsible for the origin of Batman.

Death and Legacy

Batman used a grappling hook to tie Joker's ankle to a large, heavy gargoyle in an attempt to capture him. But Batman sealed the Joker's fate when it came loose. Unable to break free from the heavy burden of the gargoyle, the Joker fell screaming to his death.

Commissioner Gordon came upon Napier's body, hearing a repeated laugh. He reached into Napier's coat and pulled out a laugh box that had been activated after the landing.




  • Director Tim Burton offered a somewhat different origin for Joker's real name, and at the same time made him part of Batman's origin. Jack Napier, the surname of actor Alan Napier, who had played Alfred in the 1960s series, and the first name of Jack Nicholson, the actor who played Joker.
  • Tim Burton, Makeup Artist Nick Dudman, and Jack Nicholson all had contributions to the Jokers final look for the film. However, Nicholson requested and was granted the final say.
  • Tim Burton had wanted the Joker to be the murderer of Bruce Wayne's parents from the very moment he started working on the film. Writer Sam Hamm disagreed with this change to the Joker's origins, and had argued with Burton until the idea was dropped. However, Hamm would not be in England for Principal Photography due to a writers strike, prompting Burton to reinsert it back into the story without Hamm's knowledge.
  • Napier appears once again in Batman Forever in a flashback similar to the one in the 1989 film as he kills Bruce's parents.
  • The first draft of Batman Returns was intended to be a direct sequel to the previous film. As a result, subplots and continuity from the first film that would have been addressed included further revelations into the past of the now deceased Jack Napier a.k.a Joker.


Batman and Batman Forever

See Also