The Joker is one of the most recognizable characters of all time. He is a supervillain and the archenemy of Batman from the DC comics. The Joker was first introduced as a character in the comic Batman #1, released in the spring of 1940. Since then, the Joker has gotten a lot of different portrayals in many different media, from movies to animated TV shows. We know a lot about this mysterious character, but do you know how old is the Joker in the movies and the comics?
The Joker is around 32-33 years old in Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker incarnation. On the other hand, the Joker is around 28 years old in The Dark Knight Rises. And then, in the comics, he looks like he is in his late 50s. The Joker is such an iconic character, and he has existed for more than 80 years, so there is no surprise that there are many versions and interpretations of the Clown Prince of Crime.
The Joker is a criminal mastermind with a warped, sadistic sense of humor. He is a goofy prankster and a vicious murderer. The Joker is also known for his terrifying look- white skin, green hair, bright red lips perched in a chilling grin. He is the antithesis of Batman in personality and appearance, and he is considered to be his perfect adversary. So, let’s see how old the Joker is.
How old is the Joker in the movies?
There are quite a few movie interpretations of the Joker, some more iconic than others. In this article, we will focus on the most famous portrayals of the Joker. Even though we don’t know the age of the first incarnation of the Joker, we have to mention Cesar Romero’s Joker from the 1966 movie Batman, but we can assume he is the same as the actor at that time, 59 years old. More than 10 years after Romero, Jack Nicholson took on the role of the Joker. His interpretation of the Joker appeared in Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman.
In this movie, we know the Joker was 26 when he and his partner in crime mugged Bruce Wayne’s parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, while they were walking home from the movies. And Michael Keaton was 37 years old, and if we take that this is Batman’s age in the 1989 movie, we can do a little bit of math. Bruce was ten years old when his parents were murdered, and if we do the math- the Joker is 47 years old, which makes sense since it is close to Jack Nicholson’s real-life age in 1989.
After the Burtonverse, comes the Nolanverse. In 2008, Heath Ledger brought to us one of the most memorable depictions of this supervillain, and his portrayal of the Joker is considered to be one of the greatest villain portrayals in film history. Ledger was only 28 when he played the Joker, and the Joker’s age has never been explicitly stated in the movie, so we can assume the actor’s age reflected the character’s age.
In 2019, Todd Phillips shocked everyone with his take on the Joker, who is a party clown and aspiring stand-up comedian that suffers from a mental illness that causes pathological laughter. In this movie, Joaquin Phoenix portrays Arthur Fleck aka the Joker. For Arthur Fleck, we can actually guess his age really precisely. We know his mother was admitted to the Arkam Asylum when Arthur was three, and we also know the exact date of her admission, November 2, 1952. This means Arthur was born in 1948 or 1949, and we know the movie takes place in 1981, making the Joker 32 or 33 years old in the movie. This means Joaquin Phoenix is almost 10 years older in real life than his character in the movie.
We can’t forget Jared Leto’s Joker, which first appeared in the 2016 movie The Suicide Squad, or Barry Keoghan’s Joker from the 2022 movie The Batman. Unfortunately, we have little information about these depictions of the Joker, so it is hard to speculate about their age, but we can assume their age is similar to their actors’ age. This means Jared Leto’s Joker is 45 years old, and Barry Keoghan’s Joker is 30 years old.
How old is Joker in the comics?
Just like in the movies, the source material for the Joker also has a lot of different renditions of the character. Here, we are going to list a few theories of how old is the Joker in the comics, but we can only speculate because bleached skin tends not to wrinkle. Initially, in the first appearance of the Joker, he was depicted as being much older than Batman as we can see in the way he was drawn in the comic.
This doesn’t have to mean anything, but it is an indisputable fact that the Joker from the Golden Age looks like he is in his 50s. But, in the comic Batman: The Killing Joke that came out in 1988, we get the Joker’s origin story.
This comic is considered by critics to be the definitive Joker story and one of the best Batman stories ever published. In this story, we meet a young comedian with a pregnant wife, and he is about 25 in it. This backstory takes place around nine years before the common DC cannon, making him 34, so in this variant of the Joker, he is much closer in age to Batman.
There is another theory that supports the idea that the Joker is 35 in the comics. The origin of the idea of the Joker is based on Conrad Veidt’s character from the movie The Man Who Laughs. Bob Kane, one of the creators of the Joker, made the Joker an on-paper depiction of the character from the movie. And we know Conrad Veidt was 35 in The Man Who Laughs, so we can argue that the Joker was imagined as a 35-year-old man.
In the end, when it comes to comics the only thing we can do is speculate about Joker’s age. His age is unspecified in most of the comic issues, but in some way, that makes sense. The Joker is such a well-constructed character, from his iconic look to the mystery of his origin, all of this contributes to the overarching horror, that a human being is capable of being this inhumane. What is scarier than a villain that has no name, no age, and no mercy?