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Film fans think they’ve found Christopher Nolan tribute to Heath Ledger in hidden Easter Egg

Film fans think they’ve found Christopher Nolan tribute to Heath Ledger in hidden Easter Egg

Fans think Nolan snuck the tribute to Ledger into the film

There are few things in film that get me as emotional as realising something is a tribute to someone in real life who has passed away.

Whether it be a small reference, a tribute in the credits, or something like the Glee episode after Cory Monteith (still not over it), it’s always sure to bring a tear to your eyes.

This is an experience I faced once again upon discovering a theory that suggests there's a hidden tribute to Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises.

Ledger died in January of 2008, tragically dying from an accidental overdose at the age of just 28.

The actor went on to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight, with his family receiving the award on his behalf posthumously.

Fans have long theorised that a scene in the sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, was intended for Ledger’s Joker to appear – with Cillian Murphy’s scarecrow in fact taking on the role of acting as a judge for various Gotham cops.

This is not the reference in question though, as fans on Reddit noticed a certain scene seeming to pay tribute to the crown prince of madness, and by extension it’s most iconic actor – The Joker.

In a scene later in the film, a tribute to the Batman is revealed, with a statue being unfurled.

Ledger's role as The Joker was iconic. (Warner Brothers)
Ledger's role as The Joker was iconic. (Warner Brothers)

Eagled eyed fans have spotted one specific detail about it though... can you notice?

Posted by u/The-Sethalonian in r/MovieDetails, they said: “Christopher Nolan's hidden tribute to Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight Rises”.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the shot creates what appears to be an intentional smiley face – an easter egg shouting out the iconic imagery of The Joker.

One fan commented saying: “A tribute to the Joker hidden in a scene that is a tribute to Batman. Props to Nolan for this easter egg.”

The easter egg has not been addressed by Nolan in the years since the film released, but as a viewer, I’m convinced.

The tribute to Heath Ledger. (Warner Brothers)
The tribute to Heath Ledger. (Warner Brothers)

Doubters may suggest it was a coincidence but, intentional or not, it shows that a bit of The Joker continued to the Batman sequel.

The reference feels just subtle enough to not feel like overdoing it, and not so subtle that it goes over the head of dummies like me.

With three actors having played the role since Ledger, none have been quite as iconic as his scene-stealing role in The Dark Knight – but Joaquin Phoenix is as close as we’ve come.

Phoenix also won an Oscar for the role, and has previously paid tribute to Ledger – who he was good friends with.

He said: “Really, I'm standing here on the shoulders of my favourite actor, Heath Ledger. So, thank you, and good night”.

Featured Image Credit: Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images / Warner Brothers

Topics: TV and Film, Film, Christopher Nolan, Heath Ledger, Batman