At the end of The Dark Knight, Batman caught the Joker finally, and the police arrested the Joker. Batman then goes on to stop Harvey Dent (Two-Face) and save Gordon’s family. So what happened to Joker?
The last we see of the Joker in The Dark Knight is him laughing upside down and the Gotham PD SWAT Team surrounding him, guns drawn. So what happened? Did they just arrest him and put him in jail? They most likely would put him in Arkham Asylum because they might classify him as insane. But is the Joker really insane? When James Holmes was in court, an expert said that insane is when you’re doing bad things and you don’t know what you’re doing, if you know exactly what you’re doing, you’re not insane. Joker was a tactical genius, so by the expert’s statements, we’d say he is not insane.
But anyways, he’d probably still be in Arkham Asylum. In The Dark Knight Rises, Arkham was shut down and all the prisoners were moved to Blackgate Prison. The Official Novelization of The Dark Knight Rises addresses this “Where is Joker Now?” question.
“Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible for the city’s criminals to cop an insanity plea, it (Blackgate Prison) had replaced Arkham Asylum as the preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina.”
That passage also answers if Joker would go to a special place if he was considered insane. Obviously, Joker would be kept away from everyone so he would cause absolutely no harm. But they keep him as the sole inmate in Arkham? Why would they even keep him in Gotham? That’s pretty dangerous even if he is locked away.
And maybe he’s escaped? He’s obsessed with causing chaos for Batman and Gotham, he would’ve returned and caused some more after hearing Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes. So he couldn’t have escaped.
My guess is Joker is either as the novel says, the only inmate in Gotham, or he is far away from Gotham, or perhaps in a different country at a maximum security prison.
Nuke The Fridge states:
“From a historical standpoint, Adolf Hitler’s Deputy Leader of the Nazi Party Rudolph Hesswas convicted and sentenced to life in Spandau Prison on Oct. 1, 1946. He was the sole occupant from 1966 until his apparent suicide in 1987. By applying this form of punishment to Nolan’s Joker, there would be no one to talk to or play with. Thus, driving the ‘Man Who Laughs’ into the further depths of his madness.”
That could have very well been possible for the Joker’s case too. In The Dark Knight Rises, the Joker was not mentioned once. Director Christopher Nolan stated that it was out of respect for Heath Ledger. But isn’t that some what of a smack in the face to Ledger after his stellar performance in 2008′s ‘The Dark Knight’? It could go either way, really.