Romano didn’t elaborate on who was originally supposed to play the Joker in “Batman: The Animated Series,” but as it turns out, it wasn’t some unknown actor. Tim Curry, who had already insane clown experience playing Pennywise in the TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” told ScreenGeek that he voiced the Joker ahead of Hamill, but that he was fired after developing bronchitis.
This obviously left some big clown shoes to fill. Though Hamill was intended only as a guest star, Romano recalled that he pulled her aside after his initial recording session and said, “Thank you for this gig, Andrea, but I really want to be a part of Batman.” As she remembered it:
“The auditions for The Joker replacement came up, we gave [Hamill] a shot, and he was stunning! Absolutely remarkable. His timing was right on, he came up with this terrifying voice and an iconic laugh and I think that’s the voice everybody hears when they think of The Joker. Even when they’re seeing on camera performances, they can’t help but reference Mark Hamill in their minds.”
In a world of cut-mouth Jokers and posers with silver teeth, Hamill’s Joker manages to be both funny and scary, the way that Mistah J should be. Hamill would go on to make other appearances as the Clown Prince of Crime in the “Arkham Asylum” video game and elsewhere, but if you’re looking for that pure grain Joker, “Batman: The Animated Series” has it, thanks to one pivotal recording session that turned a guest stint into a career legacy as one of the greatest supervillains of all time.