Any self-respecting DC fan knows that The Joker and Mark Hamill are pretty much inseparable at this point. Twenty-five years after the initial release of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Star Wars alum's performance as the psychotic Batman villain remains virtually untouchable. However, Hamill wasn't always going to play the character. DC Animation legend Bruce Timm recently spoke out at a San Diego Comic-Con panel (to promote Mask of the Phantasm's upcoming Blu-ray release) and revealed that IT star Tim Curry was the voice of The Caped Crusader's jolly foe before Hamill eventually stepped in. Timm explained:
Most of you guys probably know Mark first did the voice for us in the first Mr. Freeze episode; he played the guy who caused Mr. Freeze's wife to end up in a coma. He was so excited and full of enthusiasm for Batman. He's a huge comic book fan and he really wanted to play one of the big villains at that time and he specifically mentioned The Joker and at that time we were using Tim Curry as the Joker. And he was really disappointed and he said 'well, if anybody else shows up like Hugo Strange or somebody give me a call.' So many months later we made the difficult decision to replace Tim and we brought Mark in to audition for The Joker and he nailed it.
Talk about a stroke of good luck. This is definitely one of those "almost" casting stories that absolutely makes plenty of sense. After all, Tim Curry already has an iconic killer clown on his resume in the form of IT's Pennywise. We don't necessarily know what his Joker would've looked/sounded like, but we also don't have to. One look at Curry's body of work will instantly tell you that it would've been amazing.
Just look at the iconic sewer scene from IT and try to tell me that Tim Curry couldn't portray Joker.
Terrifying, right? Just throw a purple suit on him and add some of Dr. Frank-N-Furter's flamboyance and you will have the recipe for a pitch perfect Joker.
With all of that said, as much as we would've loved to see Tim Curry's take on the Clown Prince of Crime, we also wouldn't want to mess with a winning formula. Mark Hamill's Joker has become widely regarded as one of the best versions of the character to ever grace the screen, and many have even hailed him as the best Joker of the bunch -- even rivaling Heath Ledger's fantastic portrayal of the villain in The Dark Knight. Tim Curry is a horror icon with a string of legendary villains under his belt, but Mark Hamill owns Mr. J. That's something that we would never trade away.
The Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Blu-ray will hit shelves this Tuesday. Make sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more of the latest and greatest San Diego Comic-Con updates as the weekend unfolds! Beyond that, keep an eye on our handy movie premiere guide for more information related to 2017's biggest theatrical releases!