The Dark Knight Saga/Characters

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This page is for tropes related to characters appearing in director Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Saga.

Due to being a Character Sheet, spoilers are below.

Bruce Wayne (Batman)

"It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me."

"Well, a guy who dresses up like a bat...clearly has issues."

Played by: Christian Bale

This particular incarnation of Batman is unique from other live-action movie portrayals in that we actually see him begin as an inexperienced vigilante before becoming the veteran crimefighter we all know and love. He takes the blame for the murders Harvey Dent committed, knowing that Dent needed to remain a hero in the eyes of Gotham and to prevent the arrests of the Gotham mob from being undone.

"A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can be destroyed, or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely... A legend, Mr. Wayne."

Major Antagonists

Henri Ducard (Ra's al Ghul)

"Compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share."

"If someone stands in the way of true justice, you simply walk up behind them and stab them in the heart."

Played by: Liam Neeson

A major figure in the secret organisation known as the League of Shadows, Ducard approaches Bruce Wayne on behalf of Ra's Al Ghul. He becomes Bruce's mentor, training him and attempting to impart his philosophy of justice to him. It is later revealed that Ducard actually is Ra's Al Ghul, and he plans to destroy Gotham to remove such evil from the world. His plans are halted by his former student, and he is killed when the train he's using to help destroy the city crashes.

Dr. Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow)

"The mind can only take so much."

"I told you my compound would take you places. I never said they'd be places you wanted to go."

Played by: Cillian Murphy

A corrupt psychiatrist with a penchant for studying fear. He's allied with Carmine Falcone and works for Ra's al Ghul, aiding in the plot against Gotham by developing a powerful 'fear gas'. After being exposed to his own gas and being driven insane, he becomes a drug-dealer and is soon captured by Batman.

"You look like a man who takes himself too seriously. Do you want my opinion? You need to lighten up."

The Joker

"Why so serious?"

"Let's put a smile on that face."

Played by: Heath Ledger

A no name criminal that quickly turns into one of the biggest threats Gotham and Batman have ever faced. Violent, unpredictable and insane, he almost brings Gotham to its knees before being captured by Batman. This particular version is notably less cartoony and much more subtle in his methods.

  • Abusive Parents: Assuming the scar story he told Gambol is true, he was pretty much abused by his father, apparently cutting up at least the left half of his face.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Joker was heavily affected by this. He still has a sense of humour, but he loses most of the things that made him The Joker, like the Joker gas, the acid posies or just the eccentricities in general. However, this only draws more attention to how terrifyingly psychopathic he is, because without his fantastical props he's forced to use far more mundane and unpleasant methods to achieve results. Like pencils.
    • In fact, the Joker in the film is actually very similar to how the Joker was in his original appearance in Batman #1: darker humor, being a terrorist by announcing his moves in advance, crimes that made little sense at all except that he liked comitting them, etc. Basically, the Joker has come full circle.
  • American Accents: He speaks with a Chicago accent.
  • Ax Crazy
  • Bad Boss: The Joker even makes his own henchmen kill each other for money in his first scene. And let's not get started on his idea of "tryouts" to join him...
  • Batman Gambit: In this series is even better at it than the Trope Namer. Most of his plans begin with him issuing a public threat, then planning for what he expects people to do in response.
  • The Berserker
  • Berserk Button: Does not take kindly to being called a "freak."
  • Big Bad: Of the second movie.
  • Bright Is Not Good: He has a pale white clown face, a purple waistcoat and green hair in contrast to Batman's black outfit.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Literally, as he uses joker cards as his "signature". Apart from that, he styles himself an "agent of chaos".
  • Chaos Is Evil: He's a definite Card-Carrying Villain and calls himself an "agent of chaos".
  • Cheap Costume: Averted. Joker used some of the money he'd been stealing from mob banks to get entirely custom-made clothing.

The Joker: Oh, and the suit? It wasn't cheap. You ought to know. You bought it.

Bank Manager: Oh, criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honor. Respect. Look at you! What do you believe in, huh? WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?
(Joker leans down and sticks a grenade in the manager's mouth)
Joker: I believe whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you...stranger.

  • Collector of the Strange: He has a never-acknowledged but noticeable tendency to hang on to particularly nice weapons (or dogs) that he comes across. And his knife collection could stock a roadside museum.
  • Crazy Prepared: Even moreso than Batman. What's most impressive is that he can be thus without Batman's functionally limitless cash.

"Look what I did to this city with just a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets."

  • Combat Sadomasochist: Taken Up to Eleven; as he obviously enjoys hurting and killing others but also enjoys Batman's Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and laughs madly in enjoyment when Batman tosses him nearly to death. In that last instance, he stops laughing, when he is saved from being killed.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He seems self-taught, and definitely can't take the highly-trained and skilled Batman in a fair fight. So, in the climax of The Dark Knight; he attacks Batman with a crowbar when he's blinded and unleashes dogs on him, while furiously beating him with the crowbar.
  • The Corrupter: His gift isn't simply in causing chaos, pain and grief. It's bringing out the capacity for causing chaos, pain and grief in others; ensuring his actions have an immense knock-on effect and that even by killing him, he wins.

Joker: It wasn't hard. You see madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push! (laughs hysterically).

Joker: You see? This is how crazy Batman has made Gotham! If you want order in Gotham, Batman must take off his mask and turn himself in. Oh, and every day he doesn't, people will die. Starting tonight. I'm a man of my word. (hysterical maniacal laughter)

  • Faux Affably Evil
  • For the Evulz: He's even the trope picture and the trope quote (well, kind of, the quote in question was technically from Alfred when he was talking about a Burmese Bandit who constantly stole and destroyed for destruction's sake when giving a comparison in regards to the kind of character the Joker was, but same principle).
  • Freudian Excuse: Openly mocked by him, as he gives completely different accounts of how he got his scars and became the monster he is depending on the person he's talking to. In the end, the Joker has no reason for what he does. He simply is.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Considered a small time hood by Batman at the start of the movie. But over time proves to be one of the deadlier threats around.
  • Glasgow Grin
  • The Heavy
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Joker seems to believe in this; as one of his plans is foiled by the citizens and prisoners of Gotham choosing to not kill each other to save their own lives. This not only causes a Villainous Breakdown, where he is actually quiet for once, but it allows Batman to beat him due to his distraction...and projectile scallops. Unfortunately, Joker had a backup plan in Harvey Dent...
  • The Hyena: See Laughing Mad below.
  • Knife Nut: When he's searched by the police, they find a whole lot of knives and a handful of sharp objects that could be repurposed as knives in a pinch. There's one hidden in his shoe. He gives a speech praising them, and often just sort of has one in his hand or about his person for no specific reason. He really likes his knives.
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Laughing Mad: Right when Batman foiled him and threw him off the roof to certain death before saving him, he started breaking out into laughter. After yet another phase of his Villainous Breakdown is through, he starts up with the laughter again, and ends his final scene with it.
  • Large Ham: As then-Lieutenant Gordon acknowledges at the end of Batman Begins
  • Mad Bomber: He loves blowing things up. Cars, ferries, hospitals, :Rachel, Harvey, all fair game. He even carries a bundle of grenades under his coat to the mob meeting just in case they get unfriendly.

"I'm a man of simple tastes. I enjoy...dynamite, and gunpowder, and gasoline."

"Now I see the funny side. Now I'm always smiling."

Joker: You have nothing! Nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your strength.

  • Ubermensch
  • The Unfettered
  • Unreliable Narrator: Naturally.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A rather subtle one, but quite noticable. When both ferries refuse to use the detonators -- pretty much proving his philosophy of all humans being bastards wrong -- Joker gets visibly irritated and mumbles about how people just aren't reliable before attempting to blow them both up anyway. Interestingly, he says this in a rather calm tone, making this moment something of a reverse breakdown... guess that's what happens when your normal demeanor is over-the-top insane.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Briefly as a nurse.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The Joker mostly speaks in a high voice, but when he becomes angry his voice becomes monstrously deep, almost a snarl. The best example is when he has the Bat-wannabe tied up on camera and he yells at him: "LOOK AT ME!"
  • Waistcoat of Style
  • Your Mom: When trying to convince the mob to hire him to kill Batman, he points out in a thinly-veiled insult to Gambol and his grandma, that their funds will end up hurting if they don't end him soon. Gambol was already PO'ed at the Joker for robbing their Mob Bank of over $6,000,000 in the beginning of the film, and apparently using it to buy his suit. The comment about him and his grandma had him losing all patience and thus wanted him killed.

The Joker: If we don't end this problem. Eh... Gambol, here, will not gain a nickel for his grandma.
Gambol: (slams fists onto the table) ENOUGH WITH THE CLOWN!


"When Gotham is... ashes... you have my permission to die."

"It doesn't matter who we are. What matters is our plan."

Played by: Tom Hardy

A powerful criminal and terrorist with big plans for Gotham city.

  • Badass: We've only the trailers and some leaked images, but every one of them only further cements how much a Badass Bane will be

Bane: When Gotham is... ashes... you have my permission to die.

  • Bald of Evil
  • Big Bad: Of the third film, if promotional material is to be trusted.
  • Breaking the Bonds: He effortlessly snaps off his bonds in the prologue.
  • The Chessmaster: He appears to be heading in this direction judging from the current trailers and prologue.
  • Cool Mask
  • Combat Pragmatist: Unlike The Joker from The Dark Knight, he definitely knows how to fight. Like The Joker, he has no problems with "unfair" tactics like having henchmen attack his enemies by shooting at them through plane windows, when the opponents aren't even aware the henchmen are nearby.
  • Darker and Edgier: How Tom Hardy and others have described the new portrayal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Another villainous example. In his first scene he snarks about how terrible the CIA are at High Altitude Interrogations, pointing out it makes no sense to pretend to shoot a captured Mook first if you're then going to pretend to throw them out of a plane after you "shot" them.
  • Death Faked for You: In the first six minutes of the film, Bane kidnaps Dr. Pavel and arranges a blood transfusion with a mook so it would seem as though Pavel died in the crash. He also implies with the line "Now, now, Doctor, now's not the time for fear. That comes later." that he intends to do far worse to Pavel once he escapes with him.
  • Dissonant Serenity
  • The Dreaded: The new trailer has even Catwoman expressing fear of him.
  • Evil Sounds Deep
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Invoked.

Bane: Nobody cared who I was until I put on the mask.

Broker: What are you?

Bane: I'm Gotham's reckoning.

Selina Kyle (Catwoman)

"You don't owe these people anymore."

"There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne."

Played by: Anne Hathaway

A mysterious 'associate' of Bane.

Catwoman: My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men.
Batman: This isn't a car.

Gotham City Police Force

Commissioner James "Jim" Gordon (prev Lieutenant (prev Sergeant))

"There's nothing wise in what you do, Flass."

I don't get political points for being an idealist; I have to do the best with what I have.

Played by: Gary Oldman

Intelligent, thoughtful and a believer in real justice, Jim Gordon is one of the few honest cops in Gotham. These qualities make him a close and valuable ally of Batman. With Batman's help, he rises steadily through the ranks of the GCPD, eventually becoming Commissioner.

Commissioner Gillian B Loeb

"No one takes the law into their own hands in my city. Understand?"

Played by: Colin MacFarlane

The bullheaded and no-nonsense Gotham City Police Commissioner. Loeb is an honest man, but views Batman as a dangerous vigilante. He is eventually killed by the Joker with a poisoned glass of alcohol.

Detective Arnold Flass

"Maybe you'd like to see some excessive force!"

"Don't suppose you want a taste? I just keep offering, thinking maybe some day you'll get wise."

Played by: Mark Boone Junior

A highly corrupt cop and Gordon's partner. He works on Carmine Falcone's payroll, to the point where he even acts as muscle for the mobster.

Detective Gerard Stephens

"That's nice."

"I'm a twenty-year man. I can tell the difference between punks who need a little lesson in manners, and the freaks like you who'd just enjoy it."

Played by: Keith Szarabajka

An experienced GCPD detective, Stephens is an honest cop and has a place among Gordon's most trusted.

Detective Anna Ramirez

"You're the reason these men are dead!"

"He can't resist showing us his face."

Played by: Monique Gabriela Curnen

A rookie officer and one of Gordon's most trusted cops. She later proves to have been corrupted long before the Joker's Sadistic Choice, to help with her mother's medical bills. She turns Rachel Dawes over to the Joker's men.

Detective Michael Wuertz

"The investigation is on-going."

Played by: Ron Dean

An older detective and one of Gordon's most trusted cops. He later proves to be corrupt, turning Harvey Dent over to the Joker's men. He is later killed by Harvey.

Wayne Industries

Alfred Pennyworth

"Know your limits, Master Wayne."

"Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They'll hate you for it, but that's the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make: the right choice."

Played by: Michael Caine

The Wayne Family butler, Alfred is Bruce's guardian, confidante and oldest friend. He's the only one besides Lucius Fox, Rachel Dawes and Ra's Al Ghul who knows Batman's identity, having aided him from the very start.

Lucius Fox

"Now that's more like it, Mr. Wayne."

"If you don't want to tell me exactly what you're doing - when I'm asked, I don't have to lie. But don't think of me as an idiot."

Played by: Morgan Freeman

A research head at Wayne Industries and personal friend of Thomas Wayne. He supplies Batman with all his gadgets and technological advances, later becoming CEO of Wayne Industries.

Lucius: Let me get this straight: you think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands; and your plan, is to blackmail this person? Good luck.

Thomas and Martha Wayne

"And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."

"Bruce... don't be afraid."

Played by: Linus Roache & Sara Stewart

The parents of Bruce Wayne, well-known and well-loved billionaires who are tragically cut down by a mugger in front of their young son.

William Earle

"I'm merging your department with Archives...and I am firing you. Didn't you get the memo?"

"I think after 20 years we can allow ourselves to stop thinking about what Thomas Wayne would've done."

Played by: Rutger Hauer

Following Thomas Wayne's death, William Earle stepped in as the head of Wayne Enterprises. He had Bruce legally declared dead during his leave of abscence, and has pulled Wayne Industries in morally dubious directions. He's fired by Lucius Fox after Wayne makes him CEO.

Coleman Reese

"What are you building for him now...a rocket ship?"

"Sir, I know that Mr. Wayne is curious about how his trust fund gets replenished. But frankly, this is embarrassing."

Played by: Joshua Harto

An accountant at Wayne Industries who figures out Batman's true identity after discovering Lucius Fox's original designs for the Tumbler. Unfortunately, this information turns out to be a lot less profitable and a lot more dangerous than he imagined.

The Mob

Carmine Falcone

"People from your world...have so much to lose."

"This is a world you'll never understand. And you always fear what you don't understand."

Played by: Tom Wilkinson

The original head of the Italian Mob in Gotham City, considered untouchable by just about everyone. After being incarcerated thanks to Batman's intervention, Jonathan Crane drives Falcone insane with his fear compound to stop the mobster from revealing Ra's al Ghul's plans.

Falcone: Look around you. You'll see two councilmen, a union official, a couple of off-duty cops and a judge. Now, I wouldn't have a second's hesitation blowing your head off right here, right now, in front of them. That's power you can't buy.

  • Mind Rape: How Jonathan Crane stops the mob boss from revealing any of Ra's Al Ghul's plans.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a powerful one to a young Bruce Wayne.
  • Smug Snake
  • Starter Villain
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the scene where he is captured, he becomes progressively more disheveled and fearful as Batman takes his goons down. Later, when speaking to Crane in the asylum, he starts off as his usual self...sarcastic, confident...but he grows just a little uncertain when Crane starts talking about his mask. He plays it off with some humour, and then out comes the mask...
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Sort of. Everyone knows he's a crook, but he's very good at paying off the right people so that no solid evidence is ever successfully brought against him until Batman comes into the picture.

Victor Zsasz

"In my opinion, Mr Zsasz is as much a danger to himself as to others and prison is probably not the best environment for his rehabilitation."

Played by: Tim Booth

Salvatore 'Sal' Maroni

"You sure you wanna embarrass me in front of my friends, Lieutenant?"

"I thought the D.A. just played golf with the mayor, things like that?"

Played by: Eric Roberts

The new head of the Italian Mafia in Gotham, and following the turf wars with his fellow mobsters, entered into an alliance with them against Batman. He's complicit in the Chechen's hiring of the Joker.

Batman: He [[[The Joker]]] must have friends!
Maroni: Friends? Have you met this guy?

The Chechen

"We have to fix real problems: Batman."

"You said you were a man of your word..."

Played by: Ritchie Costner

The head of the Russian Mafiya in Gotham, once a weak outfit that took advantage of the power vaccuum left by Falcone. He's entered into an alliance with his fellow mobsters. When the Joker offers to kill Batman, it's the Chechen who puts the word out to hire him.


"Give me one reason I shouldn't have my boy here pull your head off."

"I'm puttin' the word out: five-hundred grand for this clown dead. A million alive, so I can teach him some manners first!"

Played by: Michael Jai White

A short-tempered mob leader in Gotham, now part of an alliance with his fellow mobsters. Unlike Maroni and the Chechen, he despises the Joker. He is quickly killed by the Joker, and his remaining gang is absorbed into the clown's ranks.


"Rest assured, your money is safe."

"I'm good with calculations."

Played by: Ng Chin Han

The 'accountant' for the Gotham Mob.

"I'm very good at calculations."

The Manager of Gotham National Bank

"Do you have any idea who you're stealing from? You and your friends are dead!"

"Criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honor. Respect. Whadda YOU believe in?"

Played by: William Fichtner

A bank manager in charge of a mob bank in Gotham.


"You don't want to die, but you don't know how to take a life."

"Give it to me, and I'll do what you shoulda done 10 minutes ago."

Played by: Tommy Lister

A large, intimidating criminal on the ferryboat. When told about the Joker's social experiment, he successfully intimidates the guards into giving him the detonator, then immediately throws it in the water to prove the Joker wrong.

The City

Rachel Dawes

"Bruce...don't make me your only hope of a normal life."

"Harvey, you're Gotham's D.A. If you're not getting shot at, you're not doing your job."

Played by: Katie Holmes & Maggie Gyllenhaal

Bruce's childhood friend turned attorney, Rachel is a crusades for justice on the strictly legal side of the law. She's eventually murdered by the Joker and his men.

Harvey "Two-Face" Dent

"It's not about what I want, it's about WHAT'S FAIR!"

"You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

Played by: Aaron Eckhart

A high-powered district attorney that is trying to help bring down the criminal empire in Gotham. However, a tragic incident caused by the Joker in the middle of the film changes his mindset and causes Harvey to go after those he deems responsible for his misfortune. While trying to kill Gordon's son, Batman intervenes and causes them all to fall from a building. Batman and Gordon's son are able to hang on, but Harvey is killed outright.

Batman: Gotham needs its true hero.

Joe Chill

Played by: Richard Brake

  • He Knows Too Much: He shared a prison cell with Carmine Falcone, to which he would testify as part of a deal for parole. Falcone has him whacked in after public court.
  • Justified Criminal: He lived during Gotham's Depression and had to make due in robbing just to get back.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: He was a desperate man looking to rob a rich couple to get a couple bucks - his hand shakes as he holds the gun, he looks pathetically terrified as he threatens them, and he clearly panicked when he shot it. The movie makes clear that his crime wasn't due to real malice but a symptom of the city's downward spiral. Years later, he feels genuinely sorry for what happened to the Waynes, not that it matters to Bruce.

Mayor Anthony Garcia

"Go home, Gordon. The clown'll keep till morning."

"Are you up to it? You better be. They get anything back on you, those criminals will be back on the streets...followed swiftly by you and me."

Played by: Nestor Carbonell

Gotham City's young and cynical mayor. He's targeted for assassination by The Joker.

Mike Engel

"I'm Mike Engel for Gotham Tonight."

Played by: Anthony Michael Hall

A reporter for Gotham Cable News. He's captured by The Joker as a hostage/decoy, but survives after being rescued by Batman.

  • Ascended Extra: Aside from a small role in the film, he was more or less expanded in the viral campaign for The Dark Knight, having interviews with notable people like Harvey Dent on his show.
  • Bound and Gagged: By The Joker, but also dressed up to look like one of Joker's mooks in a Disguised Hostage Gambit. Joker does this with other hostages as well at the Prewitt Building to trick SWAT, but this trick fails on Batman due to Batman unmasking Mike Engel and realizing those dressed as clowns are hostages.
  • Catch Phrase: The above quote.
  • Dead Line News: Forced at one point to read commands to Gotham by The Joker. Subverted, as he survives the experience.
  • Expy: For some people, its Jack Ryder just without the insanity or powers.
  • Intrepid Reporter
  • Mouth of The Joker: Delivers Joker's threats after being taken hostage late in The Dark Knight.

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