Mark Hamill Says He Is Retiring From His Most Beloved Role

Mark Hamill says he will no longer play the Joker because of the passing of Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman on multiple projects with Hamill.

By Michileen Martin | Published

mark hamill joker
Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, who was voiced by Mark Hamill

If the beloved Star Wars alum is to be believed, there’s a good chance Mark Hamill’s iconic version of the Joker has laughed his last laugh. The voice actor recently told Empire Magazine (vis ScreenRant) that without Kevin Conroy to voice the Caped Crusader “there doesn’t seem to be a Batman” for him. The heartbreaking news of Conroy’s passing came in November.

Mark Hamill didn’t conclusively say he won’t play the Joker again, but he doesn’t seem to be optimistic about returning to the role. He told Empire:

“They would call and say, ‘They want you to do the Joker,’ and my only question was, ‘Is Kevin [Conroy] Batman?’ If they said yes, I would say, ‘I’m in.’ We were like partners. We were like Laurel and Hardy. Without Kevin there, there doesn’t seem to be a Batman for me.”

-Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill first voiced Joker in the game-changing Batman: The Animated Series, but the conclusion of the show would hardly mark his last time playing the character. Along with playing the same version of the character in related media like Justice League, Batman Beyond, and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Hamill voiced the villain for much of the Arkham video game series, the 2016 adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke, and even in the 2018 video game Lego DC Super-Villains.

mark hamill joker
Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum

The impact Mark Hamill has made on the Joker can’t be understated; to the point where many fans will tell you their definitive Joker isn’t Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, or any other live-action portrayal, but Hamill. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Hamill said his biggest inspiration for the Joker’s voice was Claude Rains in the 1933 classic The Invisible Man. He also said he insisted on, instead of having a single laugh for Joker, that the villain’s laughs should be like “the colors on a palette.”

In that same interview Mark Hamill made mention of a Joker story from Batman: The Animated Series that takes on some sad irony now. Hamill mentions a line from the episode “The Man Who Killed Batman” in which Joker, erroneously believing Batman is dead, says, “Without Batman, crime has no punchline.” Shortly afterward, he mentions how Conroy’s involvement in a project meant he would automatically sign on himself.

Of course, Mark Hamill is hardly the only actor to voice the Joker for animated series, films, or video games in recent memory. It was Zach Galifianakis voicing the Clown Prince in 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie, Alan Tudyk who gives him his voice in HBO Max’s Harley Quinn series, and Wataru Takagi played him in 2018’s Batman Ninja. Those are only a few examples.

It’s always possible Mark Hamill could find his way back to the Joker. In a 2012 interview with IGN, the actor confessed to often taking low-paying work to voice the villain, explaining he felt ownership over the character with, “Look, I’d rather not let anyone else sleep in my sleeping bag.”