'The Dark Knight' Theory Proposes That The Joker Actually Saved Gotham City

It sounds like the internet must have some kind of obsession with turning heroes to villains and vice versa. Hot on the heels of a video essay saying that Daniel LaRusso was actually the villain in The Karate Kid, and a fanmade trailer that turns Harry Potter into the villain of the fantasy franchise, a new fan theory for The Dark Knight has proposed that The Joker could be considered the hero truly responsible for saving Gotham City instead of Batman.

The new theory lays out some pretty compelling evidence for how the seemingly anarchistic plans of The Joker are actually all part of a plan to clean up the corruption of Gotham City, from the police department to its latest vigilante. Learn more about The Dark Knight Joker theory below!

The theory comes from Reddit (via Uproxx) and introduces the theory pretty simply:

Joker, although a lying psychopath, is actually the hero in The Dark Knight. Before the Joker, Gotham was a mess. Entire sections of the city were closed off due to madness, organized crime ran rampant, and the majority of important city officials were wildly corrupt. The city even tolerated a renegade vigilante who ran around wearing a rubber suit (Okay, special armor and carbon fiber, but they don't know that).

Along comes the Joker and by the end of a very short time, almost all organized crime was eliminated, many corrupt officials were imprisoned or dead, and the city's Vigilante even went into hiding for 8 years. This was all part of Joker's masterfully executed plan.

You can read the entire Reddit post to get the more details explanation, but in short, the theory proposes that getting Batman out of Gotham City at the end of The Dark Knight was part of The Joker's plan, in addition to removing corruption from the Gotham City Police Department. He even has a theory on how the seemingly sarcastic applause that he gives Commissioner Gordon after being apprehended is genuine praise for being one of the few incorruptible people on the police force.

One might think that his plan with the two boats in the third act goes against the idea of cleaning up Gotham City, since he wants citizens to kill each other, but the theory also nixes that by saying The Joker wanted to prove that Gotham's citizens would never truly turn on each other, even in the most dire circumstances. Though his reaction might indicate otherwise.

This is a pretty wild theory, but at the same time, it's the kind of plan that is crazy enough for someone like The Joker to execute, were it not for his comic book history that paints him as a true, unhinged psychopath. And Heath Ledger's performance, combined with how the script built the villain, actually adds some credence to the theory, as we never really know the character's true motivations.

One thing's for sure, Jared Leto certainly has his work cut out for him in order to make his version of The Joker shake a stick at what many consider to be the definitive version of the villain in Christopher Nolan's revered sequel.

What do you think of this theory about The Joker in The Dark Knight?