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Batwoman’s Nick Creegan On The Two Jokers That Most Influenced His Portrayal Of Marquis Jet

Marquis on Batwoman
(Image credit: The CW)

Batwoman Season 3 has brought the Arrowverse the closest thing it's seen to the Joker, and it's come in the form of Marquis Jet, the previously unknown half-brother of Ryan Wilder (who replaced Kate Kane after Ruby Rose left). Jet technically isn’t the Clown Prince of Crime but, after suffering an injury as a child (thanks to the villain’s joy buzzer), he adapted many of the villain’s sociopathic and violent tendencies. Now, he’s fully embraced the role as the madman's successor, which means actor Nick Creegan really has some pretty big shoes to fill. Many actors have played the iconic villain over the years, and Creegan looked to two specific performances when approaching his own character.

I recently spoke to Nick Creegan about Marquis Jet and how he's taken on the role as Gotham's new Big Bad in Batwoman. Creegan revealed that he actually didn’t know the specifics of his character until he got the role. And when he learned from showrunner Caroline Dries about the villainous twist, he jumped into one of his favorite Batman movies to do research:

The first night I found out that I got the role... one of my favorite movies of all time is The Dark Knight, so I just decided to watch that just to see how Heath did it. I mean he's arguably the most legendary depiction of The Joker. . . I really saw that there was just this maniacal nature from start to end. There was no gradual climb, and since I knew that Marquis was gonna have a gradual climb to that insanity, the one that really stuck out to me the most was Joaquin Phoenix's Joker because I feel like you got to see the actual origin of why he got pushed to that edge. What happened with his mental illness and how the pressures of society and not being seen caused him to go to the deep end, if you will.

It’s a little surprising that the actor's first instinct was to watch The Dark Knight after finding out about Marquis' Joker connection. Heath Ledger’s performance is legendary but, as the star pointed out, Ledger's Mr. J doesn’t really match the tone of his Arrowverse character. Jet is able to keep his darker side at bay for a time ,until it just becomes too hard for him to repress it. With this, the best iteration of the villain for this situation is indeed the Arthur Fleck version played by Joaquin Phoenix (which caught the attention of stars like Willem Dafoe), who crushed it in the 2019 film.

Nick Creegan admitted that his portrayal was, in many ways, an amalgamation of all the iconic Jokers of the past, but there’s definitely a lot of Joaquin Phoenix’s version (who could return in a sequel) in Marquis Jet. Creegan explained the similarities between the two and what makes Phoenix’s portrayal so enticing to watch:

So, I kind of obviously took bits and pieces from everywhere but Joaquin's arc was pretty much my goal to have Marquis be humanized. I think when you watch Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, you could not necessarily see that it's right to do the things that he did, but you can see how somebody could get pushed to possibly have that mental break.

It remains to be seen if Marquis Jet will be nearly as formidable as his notorious predecessor, but it’s good to see Nick Creegan put in the work to try and make his character as faithful to the comics as possible. I’m hoping there’s a future for Jet outside the parameters of Batwoman (perhaps in the new Bat-family show), though we’ll just have to wait and see. 

Batwoman airs on The CW on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. It’s just one of many returning shows in 2022 and one that’s absolutely worth catching up on for those who’ve fallen behind. 

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.