The Joker is one of the most iconic villains in the Batman universe, known for his maniacal laughter, pale white skin, and green hair. But did he appear in the first Batman movie ever made?
Let’s take a closer look.
The First Batman Movie
The first live-action Batman movie was released in 1966, starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. This movie was based on the popular TV series of the same name, which aired from 1966 to 1968.
In this movie, Batman and Robin face off against four of their most notorious villains: The Joker (played by Cesar Romero), The Penguin (played by Burgess Meredith), The Riddler (played by Frank Gorshin), and Catwoman (played by Lee Meriwether).
So, yes – The Joker was in the first Batman movie.
But here’s where things get a bit tricky.
The Joker’s Origin Story
In the comics, The Joker’s origin story is a bit of a mystery. Sometimes he’s portrayed as a failed comedian who turns to a life of crime after a series of devastating events. Other times, he’s simply portrayed as an insane criminal with no clear motive.
In the 1989 Batman movie directed by Tim Burton, The Joker gets an origin story that differs from both of these versions. In that movie, The Joker is actually a gangster named Jack Napier who falls into a vat of chemicals during a confrontation with Batman and emerges with his iconic appearance and personality.
But in the 1966 Batman movie – which was made more than two decades before Burton’s version – there is no mention of The Joker’s origin story at all. He simply appears on screen as one of four villains trying to take down the Caped Crusaders.
The Legacy of Cesar Romero’s Joker
Despite the lack of an origin story, Cesar Romero’s portrayal of The Joker in the 1966 Batman movie was a huge hit with audiences. He played the character as a flamboyant, mustache-twirling villain who was always one step ahead of Batman and Robin.
Romero’s Joker went on to become one of the most iconic portrayals of the character, and he returned to play the role in several episodes of the TV series.
So, to answer the question – yes, The Joker was in the first Batman movie. But unlike later versions of the character, there is no origin story to speak of.
Regardless, Cesar Romero’s performance as The Joker set a high bar for future actors to follow and helped cement The Joker’s status as one of Batman’s greatest foes.