Mark Hamill will forever be associated with Luke Skywalker. But the Star Wars Jedi isn’t the only iconic character he’s portrayed. To some, he’s arguably even better as the voice of Joker, which he started doing on Batman: The Animated Series in the ‘90s. It might seem like outside-the-box casting: Where Luke is (at least at first) boyish and earnest, the clown that fights Batman is very much the opposite. Indeed, Hamill may never have had the guts to try out for the role had it not been for someone who played the Caped Crusader.
“I had a confidence that really helped me, because there was this big outcry that Michael Keaton was going to play Batman,” Hamill said in a new video interview for Wired (as caught by IndieWire). “‘Oh he’s Mr. Mom, he’s a comedy actor.’ I mean they hadn’t even seen him, and they didn’t realize how great he would become. But there was great controversy.”
He continued: “So when I went in, I thought, ‘You think they’re going to hire Luke Skywalker to play the Joker? The fans will lose their minds!’ I was so sure that I couldn’t be cast, I was completely relaxed. A lot of times there’s performance anxiety because you want the part; here I knew I couldn’t get the part, so, who cares? And I drove out of the parking lot thinking, ‘That’s the best Joker they’ll ever hear, and it’s too bad they can’t cast me.’”
But, of course, Hamill did nab the role, which initially gave him some anxiety. “I was like, ‘Oh no, I can’t do this!’” he recalled.
But he could do it, and he’s been doing it for decades now. The last time he voiced Joker was on three episodes of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, from 2019 and 2020. It sounds like it’s fun playing him “because he’s insane, and because he’s insane, he’s never boring. It’s just fun to play a character who creates chaos everywhere he goes.”
You can watch Hamill’s full Wired video interview below.