Mark Hamill’s First Live-Action Joker Was Featured in Birds of Prey

The Joker is easily DC’s most iconic supervillain, and he’s also Mark Hamill’s second most well-known role. Beyond playing Luke Skywalker in Star WarsHamill is known for voicing the Clown Prince of Crime in various DC adaptations, namely Batman: The Animated Series. His voice has defined The Joker for a generation, with many fans wanting to see him against Kevin Conroy’s Batman in live-action. To some extent, this dream has already come true.

Mark Hamill “played” a live-action version of The Joker in the WB show Birds of Prey back in the early 2000s. The series was loosely based off of the female DC Comics superhero team, who had debuted only about six years earlier. Given how forgotten the show itself is, it’s no wonder that many fans are unaware of this role. Bringing his signature voice for The Joker to the failed live-action universe, Mark Hamill was a standout feature in a mostly disliked series.

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Did Mark Hamill Play The Joker In Birds of Prey?

The Birds of Prey The show plays incredibly fast and loose with DC continuity, but one element that it’s fairly accurate toward involves Barbara Gordon. Adapting The Killing Joke via flashback, the series had the former Batgirl shot and paralyzed by The Joker, thereafter becoming the tech genius Oracle. The Joker himself is barely seen, but his voice and laugh are instantly recognizable.

The Joker is visually portrayed by an actor named Roger Stoneburner, who wore the classic green hair, white makeup and purple suit of the clown. His voice, however, isn’t supplied by Stoneburner, but rather Mark Hamill. Hamill had already become synonymous with the role of The Joker about a decade earlier in Batman: The Animated Seriesbecoming the quintessential Joker for a generation of kids.

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Birds of Prey Drew from Batman: The Animated Series

Many assumed that Birds of Prey was a sequel to the recent Batman movies at the time, making Helena Kyle the daughter of Michael Keaton’s version of Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. This is complicated by having The Joker shoot Batgirl, however, given that the villain seemingly died at the end of Batman ’89. The CW crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths confirmed that it was indeed a separate continuity, with Birds of Prey drawing more from Batman: The Animated Series more so than the Burton Batman movies.

Beyond Hamill voicing The Joker, there’s the fact that the main villain in the show is Dr. Harleen Quinzel, who wears clothing suggesting her becoming the villainous Harley Quinn. Harley debuted in Batman: The Animated Series, where she was the sidekick/love interest of the Mark Hamill-voiced Joker. Sadly, she never interacts with The Joker in Bird of Prey, meaning that Hamill hasn’t called an actress “Harls” in live-action yet. Sadly, this fan-service didn’t save Birds of Prey, which was canceled after only one brief season. It’s not remembered for being all that great, but for a brief moment, its quality was elevated by the cacophonous cackle of Mark Hamill’s Joker.

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