The Dark Knight: The Deleted Scenes

August 1st, 2008 by | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Usually, whenever a big comic book movie comes out, I’m there with a little article about comparing the film to the novelization. After all, the novelizations are based on earlier scripts of the movie and shed some light on what was taken out. Sometimes things are for the better. Sometimes they’re for the worse.

There’s a reason I’m so late with the Dennis O’Neil adaptation of Dark Knight. While the books for Marvel movies come out about a month or so before release, it was decided, for spoiler purposes likely, that Dark Knight would be released as a strict-on-sale title. It came out the same day as the movie, but my Barnes and Noble didn’t receive it until days later. As a fun aside, O’Neil himself came to the store, wondering if we had it yet.

At first I wasn’t even going to bother. Reading the book after seeing the movie didn’t sound like as much fun. That decision changed after seeing what I have to call the best movie of the summer. I picked up a copy and spent the next week or so reading it.

I should point out that this is going to be spoiler-heavy, but this is a comic site and you are a person reading a comic site. If you haven’t seen Dark Knight by now and haven’t at least been spoiled about the scene where David Allen Grier appears as Oswald Cobblepot, then there’s probably something wrong with you.

There’s something inadvertently comical about O’Neil’s writing style. When he starts out the book, he gets very wordy. Very wordy. Recalling the events of the last movie is fine, but O’Neil decides to share Bruce’s exploits from the time he tried skiing without Alfred’s permission. Then he spends many, many pages on the backstory of the Scarecrow, otherwise known as the guy who showed up for maybe two minutes. Granted, it’s nice that he was able to bridge the end of Begins and how it led to his situation in Dark Knight, but for such an unimportant character, we didn’t need a history lesson in why he became the Scarecrow in the first place.

Even sillier is backstory for that mobster with the dogs. I’m sure we all wanted that. The part where it delves into Harvey Dent’s past is pretty brilliant, giving us a better grasp at his outlook and personality. The descriptions are longer around this point and it catches up to O’Neil, who rushes the hell out of the second half.

To put things in perspective, the halfway point in the book has Batman still in China, picking up Lau. Not very far at all, is it?

Towards the end, O’Neil blazes through scenes like a lightning bolt. Description is left to a minimum, typos reign supreme and some scenes are just dropped. Off the top of my head, there’s the whole thing about Alfred burning Rachel’s letter and the ending scene where Lucius Fox types his name into the sonar machine and it self-destructs. Without that, it doesn’t redeem Batman’s actions and instead makes it look like he planned on continuing its use.

It’s interesting to see that the dialogue is almost exact with the movie. While Iron Man was filled with a lot of improv, which gave it a lot of its charm, the actors in Dark Knight could only add to the scene instead of change. It shows that when you get past the growling voice that everybody seems to hate, Christian Bale is a good actor in the sense that he doesn’t mess up the lines he’s been given. Eckhart and Ledger ruled because they took great lines and punched them up. There are parts that you read where the movie version was so awesome, but it just doesn’t come close to being as great in written form. Or things just aren’t included, like Joker’s “HIIIII!” in the hospital and “Um… yeah?” during the mob meeting. Even the, “Why so serious?” bit comes across as more, well, serious instead of the tension-breaking delivery Ledger uses before slicing the victim’s neck.

Now let’s get to the scenes that are missing in the movie. Most of this stuff falls into one of two categories. Either it’s something that O’Neil invented for the story or it’s something really redundant that had no need in being in the movie. When the Dark Knight two-disc edition comes out, don’t get too excited about the deleted material. Just skip to the dozen memorial clips about Heath Ledger.

– Alfred enters Bruce’s bedroom to find that Bruce isn’t in it, but the bed had been slept in. In another room in the penthouse, he finds Bruce doing a kata. He explains that he’s so used to being in shape that he finds himself unable to sit around and be dormant. They briefly argue about whether or not Bruce should remain fighting as Batman, as well as how he can continue it from the penthouse. The bunker is discussed as an alternative.

– Bruce meets with Rachel for a little bit and she also argues with him about his life as Batman, though far more persistent than Alfred. Her fear is that one day he’s going to kill somebody, whether he means to or not. She thinks that this job will cause him to lose himself, but Bruce insists that he won’t.

– Very strange Joker scene right before getting picked up for the bank job. He sees a bus coming down the street and there’s an old woman waiting at the corner. Joker stalks over to her, making us expect him to shove her into traffic. Instead, the bus goes by, Joker taps the woman on the shoulder, gives her a hundred dollar bill and leaves. I don’t get it either.

– The bank job is the same, but the order of segments is in a different order. The movie version feels far more natural.

– The Chechen, also known as the mob guy with the dogs, is told about the Scarecrow by a subordinate, who sets up the business deal between the two. Notable mention, the subordinate’s name is Burton.

– We see Scarecrow hook a junkie up with some of his fear-laced drugs for cheap. Scarecrow ends up killing him and makes a call, saying that he wants to examine the corpse more closely.

– Likely never filmed, but there is a flashback to explain how Harvey and Rachel got together in the first place. The two worked together and Harvey asked her to join him for coffee. Not wanting to go far with it, she agreed as long as she paid for herself. When discussing their thoughts on the law at the coffee shop, Harvey goes to pay for the bill. Rachel refuses at first, but Harvey pulls out his coin and says that if it lands heads-up, he’ll pay for it.

– Harvey becomes a media sweetheart and Batman doesn’t trust it. He especially doesn’t trust a news article that gives Harvey a picture-perfect biography. He thinks that something is up with Harvey and discusses his hunch with Alfred.

Nobody is that virtuous.”

“Perhaps you might consider speaking for yourself, Master Bruce.”

“Point taken. You are a saint.”

“I wouldn’t say that. But you can.”

Bruce then investigates Harvey’s real history. He discovers that Harvey’s parents were also dead, though he was a teenager at the time. It was a murder-suicide by his corrupt cop father, but the evidence suggested Harvey may have done it. Under the disguise of Charles Malone, Bruce pretends to be a reporter and talks to a detective who investigated the case. They wanted to stick it on Harvey, but he had an air-tight alibi and definitely didn’t do it.

Bruce soon admits to Alfred that he was wrong about Harvey and that he just might be what the city needs. They share similar childhood tragedies, but Harvey worked his way up to where he was from scratch while Bruce had his money to fall back on. Though he has a newfound respect for him, he still feels bad knowing that Rachel will eventually leave Harvey for the man she’s really in love with.

– On television, that one talk show host (at least I think it was him) goes on a long tirade about how “Harry Dent” is the city’s true hero and that they don’t need Batman around. Bruce watches this, feeling that there’s a lot to the rant. Alfred waits for Bruce to elaborate on this feeling, but he instead just remains silent.

– Harvey reacts to the rant in the opposite way. On a car ride with Rachel, he explains that he thinks that the city needs Batman, at least for the moment. The two could have a strong partnership, with Batman going places and doing things that Harvey can’t do due to his legal limitations. Rachel asks about what will happen when the streets are cleaned up and Harvey isn’t sure. He hopes that Batman will just vanish and never be heard from again, causing uneasiness in Rachel.

– After the mob meeting, Maroni has one of his men look for every piece of information he can find on the Joker. A disheveled lackey comes to him days later, acting as if he doesn’t believe in the Joker’s existence. Then he starts laughing and gasps for air before falling over and going into convulsions, showing that the Joker poisoned him somewhere along the way.

– When the Batman imposter’s body is discovered, the note on his chest is stuck in with a knife. This was changed to a pin instead to keep it from an R rating.

– After Batman rescues Rachel at the party, Joker and his men ride off in an SUV. Joker talks about how Batman went after Rachel without second thought and wondered if he’d do that for just anybody. Either way, Batman really is about saving the innocent and that’s going to be his downfall. When one of the henchmen asks about Dent, Joker smiles and says, “Oh, I’m a man of my word.”

– Alfred tends to Batman and they discuss how close Batman came to killing himself when he jumped for Rachel. Batman explains that he just had to trust the moment without having time to hope for the best.

– After getting the Joker’s directions, instead of saying that he’s going for Rachel, Batman gives a far colder reaction, “Dent knew the risks.” Gordon responds to his men, “He’s going after Miss Dawes. That makes Dent our job.”

– Rachel’s last words are “Bruce… Harvey… I love you.” Man, screw that. The MACGRUBER!! version is a million times better. MACGRUBER!!

– After the explosions, Gordon and his men spell it out that Joker purposely gave Batman the wrong addresses.

After that, there aren’t any anomalies. Just stuff O’Neil forgot to mention. There really isn’t anything up there that would have made Dark Knight a better movie with its inclusion. It’s a pretty damn good edit job.

Oh, and for those of you who still cling onto the hope that Gordon has Harvey Dent hidden in Arkham for the third movie, hoping that somehow nobody figures out that Dent is alive and well? Dent’s dead. Neck twisted. Even in the shooting script that they now sell it’s crystal clear. Deal with it, hombres.

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13 comments to “The Dark Knight: The Deleted Scenes”

  1. you didn’t say anything about that awesome Gentleman Ghost cameo.

  2. The joker giving the hundred to the old lady is supposed to be an example of his complete unpredictability. On one of the History Channel Batman specials he(I’m pretty sure it was O’Neil) was adamant that one of the key things about the Joker was that anything could happen with him. Paraphrasing, his quote was something like, “If you ran into him he might kill you, or he might give you a hundred dollar bill. He’d probably kill you, but there’s a chance.”

  3. Oh, and for those of you who still cling onto the hope that Gordon has Harvey Dent hidden in Arkham for the third movie, hoping that somehow nobody figures out that Dent is alive and well? Dent’s dead. Neck twisted. Even in the shooting script that they now sell it’s crystal clear. Deal with it, hombres.


  4. I don’t think anyone would worry twice about going back on something that was in the shooting script but not in the movie, nor on the novelization itself. Not that it matters to me either way, really, but unless you see a snapped neck in the Dark Knight then it doesn’t count.

  5. he looked pretty fuckin’ dead.

  6. How interesting. I always forget about the tendency of novelizations to include extra info. Usually I don’t take interest, but… you’re right, The Dark Knight really was probably the best movie of the summer. I certainly didn’t walk out of Iron Man expected to see it get topped so quickly, either…

  7. I remember there was a leaked screener of the first five minutes from the last SDCC last year of TDK. When I saw the film, it felt that they changed the order of the clowns’ deaths from the leaked screener. IIRC the order from the screener, it was the rooftop hack and execution, then the vault break-in and the clown execution there, then Bill Fichtner kills one of the robbers, then the whole exchange between the last remaining clown and the Joker. Is this how shows up in the book?

    Also, the novelization, from what you said, seems pretty clear the Batman accidentally killed Harvey. That deleted scene in which Rachel is concerned that Batman might kill someone sound like foreshadowing for that scene.

  8. As goofy as the cell phone sonar was, I was sort of hoping that the next movie would have Ultimate Brother Eye as a plot point. Oh, well, Nolan doesn’t plan for sequels and all that.

  9. The shooting script may say that Harvey died, but they foreshadowed the hell out of him being able to survive. (“A fall from this height wont kill me”), on top of which when they turn harvey unscarred face up his eye is closed. Come on, its a movie! “Corpse” with eye opened: Dead. “Corpse” with eye closed: Unconcious!

    I think that the shooting script intended Dent to die, but when ledger died (meaning they cant use the joker for sequels, because they wont recast Ledger for at least a few years) they switched a few things around and left the door open for Two-Face to survive. I’m not saying its 100% certain, I’m just saying I wouldnt be surprised.

  10. With the movie’s gross closing in on a billion dollars, there’s no way they won’t make a 3rd in this franchise, maybe even a 4th. My God, look at the mileage Paramount’s gotten out of Star Trek. So, let’s take a look at where TDK leaves off: Harvey is dead–no way around that–and Batman, taking the rap for Two Face’s 5 kills, must now be hunted by Gordon. Finally, the Joker, assumedly, will be incarcerated in Arkum. Let’s not forget about Coleman Reese either. What’s happened to him? Did he slink away after Fox shot down his blackmailing scheme? And even if he did, there’s got to be someone in Gotham who’s trying to put a face to Batman. Possible sub plot here… Whatever Nolan ends up doing, I hope they don’t ressurect any more of the typical foes, like the Penguin or the Riddler. I really think it’s time for a new villian.
    Here’s something that really pisses me off: the director’s unwillingness to let us see Batman minus the cowl, but with the black eye makeup still on. Remember in the second film with Keaton, when he rips the cowl off for Catwoman and shows miraculously clean eyes even though the cut scene just prior showed him with the makeup still on? Same with TDK, both on the Chinese skyscraper and then later in the penthouse mourning Rachel’s death. That scene would have been so much more powerful had we been able to see Bale make his way into the penthouse, crying as Dent had cried, pulling off the cowl, eye makeup running down his face.
    Just my thoughts.

  11. dents dead done jokers not commin back and i wanna see someone who batman has to really takeit to i want a good old fashon ass whupin!

  12. Ok, Well Christian Bale has signed on for at least 3 movies and has said that he is happy to do more. Chris Nolan has mentioned he has written the story so that it can be stretched out over almost 5 movies. Dent is as dead as they come although the 3rd movie was ment to be more Two Face and have the Joker as a secondary villian.
    Fun note: Sarah Dunn who plays Moronies girlfriend at the night club scene is actually cast as Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn for those who don’t know) from what I have read this is supposed to explain the Joker knowing all of Maronies actions because Harleen is supposed to have been the psychiatrist who treats the Joker and the falls madly in love with him and thus helps him.
    Oh and Johnny Depp as the Riddler is the shittest casting ever, everybody knows it will just be him dressed as the Riddler but prancing around as Jack Sparrow, although I was wrong about Heath Ledger being a shit choice for the Joker cause he bloody ruled……

  13. Ok so the Joker did get away right? Just because the actor has passed in real life (God Bless) doesn’t mean anything in hollywood.
    I predict that the Joker will return in a distance future sequel. I’m confident that they could replicate the joker digitally with upcoming CGI technology.
    Heath will be immortalized as the Joker forever.
    He’s a man of his word.
    You’ll see.

    Anyone ever check out the Batman Gotham Knight dvd? Some nice animation there and decent stories as well.