What Will Become of ‘The Dark Knight’?

Warner Brothers wrestles with the upcoming ad campaign in light of Heather Ledger’s death.

Heath Ledger's death comes right on the eve of Warner Brothers massive ad campaign for the upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight. In the film, Ledger plays the Joker in what has been called one of the scariest, darkest performance to ever appear on screen.

The status of the film's ad campaign is uncertain. As of this moment, the film's July 18th release date still stands. The project was wrapped in the fall, with much of the post-production work already finished. The first phase of the campaign is built specifically around Ledger's ghoulish Joker character. Warner Brothers had no comment on how they would be proceeding with the marketing of the film.

Warner Brothers' Alan Horn told Variety, "The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person." The Dark Knight campaign will present more than a few challenges for the team at Warner Brothers. A current poster shows a blurred image of Ledger in his creepy make-up, scrawling the words "Why So Serious?" on a mirror in red lipstick. The Joker is also being used as the main focal point of a viral scavenger hunt on the internet.

One insider working on the campaign stated, "The Joker character is dealing with chaos and life and death and a lot of dark themes. Everyone is going to interpret every line out of his mouth in a different way now."

Ledger was working on the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death. He plays a main character in the project. There is no word on how Ledger's death will be affecting the filming of this particular project at this time.

The Dark Knight was released July 18th, 2008 and stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Monique Gabriela Curnen. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan.

Sources: Variety

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Comments (53)


    THEY BEtter release the film on time there is no reason why they couldnt. its definitely going to be a hit!!!cant wait for this to finally release!!!

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  2. Movieguru2

    On with the show! Thats what I say and let's honor Heath's death. Its a tradgedy to say the least but so is life itself! No changes, let's not hestitate with bringing this picture to the big screen masses. It would be like Brandon Lees late death in "The Crow" (Also a great dark comic film mind you)

    7 years agoby @movieguru2Flag


    you know it has got to be very hard for Nolan to make scene cuts now. Every last scene with heath's joker is definitely legendary.

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  4. destruct26

    RIP, Heath- wherever you reside now, let it be a peaceful place. I think that based on what they have done with BB as far as an intelligent movie with a great cast, and with TDK as far as what we have seen so far, the third movie will be in good hands. Now lets talk Joker. Already regarding what Nolan has said about his Joker from TDK, the Joker has no origin, which is perfect. In the comics, and in almost every age or era of the character, becomes the joker in a plethera of ways. And you wont EVER really know how, either. Why? Because the Joker is insane. And in his chaotic mind, he is the only one who knows- and just when he gives you the scoop, he changes his mind. Thats the beauty of situation. Heath breathed life into the character the way we wanted to see it. And now that hes gone, what will they do? The best thing they can do upon choosing to keep the character for a 3rd movhe is to simply cast the right actor and keep the theme of the Joker they have created for this franchise. After all, the Joker changes his psychotic tune all the time, does he not? Its ok if its a little different. Hell, a the new guy might be as good or better than Heath! I have faith in Chris Nolan and his crew. They seem to know what theyre doing and arent a bunch of shmucks like J.S. ;) so just sit back and enjoy Heaths final performance and we will see what unfolds...

    7 years agoby @destruct26Flag

  5. Silverblade03

    Rest in Peace Heath

    7 years agoby @silverblade03Flag


    well he already has the dark knight completely shot. if that film is leading into the 3rd one with the joker still in it like they did at the end of begins then they will have to figure something out

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  7. XJWS79

    I doubt they will try to cast another Joker, Nolan will likely change his story.Has for the third installment of Nolan's Batman franchise will focus on Two-face and maybe another new or returning villain.
    Is guess we have to wait and see what happens.

    7 years agoby @xjws79Flag


    Heath Ledger was signed for the third installment as well. I think there was even an article about it here on movieweb. but i definitely see them taking the character out.

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  9. CelluloidDreams

    I have read on several websites that Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are all under contract for three films & that The Joker's role in the third film, if any, is unclear. So it remains to be seen if the Joker will be in the planned sequel.
    If so the role will presumably be recast or written out.

    7 years agoby @2movieguysFlag


    it depends on how the story works. i think if its possible they wont replace him nuless they have to. They know heath was the joker and how hard it wouuld be for someone to accept the role now.

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  11. ArchAngel

    if he was supposed to be in the third installment, and they continue the character, Nolan better do a damn good job in findin a "replacement". i hate that word, heath brought a side of my all time hands down favorite character that i was always dreaming of seein on the big screen, nothing can replace that.
    Rest in Peace Heath.. you will be greatly missed by Joker, Batman, and all other movie fans..we were lucky to have you and we all hope that whatever fate meets the departed, that you will be at peace..Goodbye may you rest in peace

    7 years agoby @therealjokerFlag

  12. Mexicool

    He will be missed. He left this world so early, but he gave us the best Joker that he could play. So lets hear it for Mr. Ledger. Oh, Heath, rest in peace:-(

    7 years agoby @mexicoolFlag

  13. ~Joy

    Oh they will not cancel at it all and I will always be excited to see this movie when it comes out. They say that how would the interviews of "The Joker" be like now that his gone. He did play a big role of the movie Dark Knight and everyone was expecting to hear what he had to say about his role in it. R.I.P dear Heath Ledger.

    7 years agoby @jannsalazFlag

  14. Mexicool

    We will all miss you Heath:-(

    7 years agoby @mexicoolFlag

  15. the Narrator

    they better not cancel it. they can delay it out of respect and dedicate it to heath.i will see this movie in a different light now. live on heath. live on....

    7 years agoby @narratorFlag


    January 23rd, 2008 3:15pm
    i can agree with that. they need to still hype this movie. My understanding is that a number of the hype ideas actually from ledger himself. I'm sure he would definitely want not only the hype to continue but that movie as well, for he did give his life in this one to please everyone in the world.

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  17. T.Clark

    They should still market the movie and keep up the hype, it's what he would've wanted. Give it some time first, though, and then market it. He put all his energy into this role, and he was obviously passionate about his work, it would just be disrespectful and a waste not to market the film. It isn't released until July so they still have time.

    7 years agoby @insertusernamehereFlag

  18. joker86

    heath ledger brought my favorite character to life, the way the joker was meant to be . but apart from that he was a great actor. loved him in the patriot. its a shame he died so young. may he rest in peace

    7 years agoby @joker86Flag

  19. deeman138

    Heath you will be missed by many.

    7 years agoby @deeman138Flag

  20. Joker182

    I know he was supposed to make a cameo in the 3rd, but i dont want somone to replace one of the greatest actors there ever was! heath you left us with the greatest joker weve ever seen and i thank u! R.I.P Ledger

    7 years agoby @joker182Flag

  21. MasterSoto

    Im so sad I could cry

    7 years agoby @mastersotoFlag

  22. mexicanbob

    It is going to be difficult for the people at Warner Bros. due to the recent death of Heath, however I agree andrewryan, they will show full respcect to Heath. From the pictures I've seen of Heath as the Joker, he has done a magnificent job. I'm am looking forward to seeing Heath in his unfoutnately, final role as an actor. I'm sure it will be his greatest and most memorable role. You will be missed Heath.

    7 years agoby @mexicanbobFlag

  23. T.Clark

    I'm the sure the marketing will be handeled to the fullest respect to Heath. Like the Joker said, Chris Nolan, and everyone else behind the project, are genius, and will certainly dedicate it to him. And let's not remember him just for the Joker in Dark Knight, which hasn't even been released yet. He played in many other roles too. There's a difference between an actor and a star. Heath Ledger was an actor. A brilliant one. Rest in peace Heath.

    7 years agoby @insertusernamehereFlag

  24. XSSIV

    Don't know if you all saw this... or remember... but GREAT interview with Heath that JULIAN ROMAN did:


    7 years agoby @xssivFlag

  25. CelluloidDreams

    The film itself will be unchanged, although the viral marketing campaign that centered around Ledger's character may be affected!

    7 years agoby @2movieguysFlag

  26. Ryan Moran

    the dark knight will stil be awesome movie and the should put in memory of heath legder at the end of the movie since its was hes last movie filmed

    7 years agoby @nightwing18Flag

  27. wizdome

    The Dark Knight will still be great and a tribute to Heath, just waiting for this film to come out is the greatest tragedy!

    7 years agoby @wizdomeFlag

  28. Marcusx


    7 years agoby @marcusxFlag


    im sure they will get all the marketing and everything right for this film. Nolan is behind this project and he is aa genius. I cant see them not dedicating this film to Heath as well as the technician who died some time back if you guys remember that accident as well. They know it would be wrong not to. and im certain he is in heaven. Rest in peace sir Heath Ledger

    7 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  30. Drewski37

    The Crowned Prince of crime is gone..May his laughter haunt the halls of ARKHAM.....He will be remembered.

    7 years agoby @drewski37Flag

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