Public Service Reminder: How the Internet Reacted to HEATH LEDGER as JOKER Casting

Heath Ledger as Joker
Credit: Warner Bros

"Ben Affleck is Batman."

And the Internet was off to the races.

You'd think, by the reaction to the news that Warner Bros announced last night, that the actor Ben Affleck was in fact, in real life, dressing like a bat and fighting crime. People decried in Comic Book Guy voice "worst. casting. ever." Some posted desperate pleas that Warner Bros. was  "trolling" fans. Another proactive dissenter even went so far as to generate a petition on Change.org to get the role recast, (not quite what Change.org had in mind for how to bring about real change in the world, we assume).

For a little perspective on the matter, let's jump in the not-so-way-back machine away from the Superman/Batman film to a little movie called The Dark Knight. Batman's iconic villain The Joker was the major casting decision for that film, and with beloved performances by everyone from Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and even Mark Hamill as the voice of animated Clown Prince of Crime, fan expectations were high. When Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros (the same people involved in casting Affleck, mind you) announced that Heath Ledger was cast in the role, everyone on the Internet looked into their crystal ball and saw a brilliant, Oscar-winning performance that would change how people viewed this seminal villain, right?

The reaction to Ledger as Joker, as compiled by GeekTyrant
The reaction to Ledger as Joker, as compiled by GeekTyrant
Credit: GeekTyrant

Hmm... Not so much.

Thanks to a post from about a year and a half ago on GeekTyrant, we have the historcial record. Gathered from Internet outrage machine of its time Reddit (which, while still a source of much of this, has been largely replaced as the instant-outrage device of choice by Twitter), here is just a smattering of the response to Ledger's casting:

"Heath? let's reminisce on the days of A Knight's Tale and Ten Things I Hate About You. Heath? The Joker? Bad casting. Bad joke."

"probably the worst casting of all time."

"On no, it's wrong on every level."

"This is totally bull. I do not at all like this choice."

"Hell NOOOOOOOOOOOOO"

"And now begins the second downfall of the Batman series... I hope this is all a joke"

"I am NOT seeing this movie if he is in it."

"The Joker is a character that needs an actor with gravity. Not some little twerp who got lucky."

You can check out all of these and more in the image to your right, and draw your own parallels.

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