The Scarecrow is a fictional supervillain of the Batman film series. Born Jonathan Crane, he is a brilliant but morally bankrupt former psychopharmacologist at Arkham Asylum, whose entire personality has been hijacked by the "Scarecrow" persona he developed as part of his fear experiments. His dementia is the result of exposure to his own fear toxin, a weaponized form of the hallucinogenic poppies used by the League of Shadows. He is a staple Batman villain.
- "Dr. Crane is a highly respected and long-time member of our staff."
- ―Doug Hunter, Ph.D[src]
Jonathan Crane's father takes off before he is even born, and his mother never demostrated love or affection towards her son. During his childhood, he suffered terrible abuse from his fanatically religious grandmother, and developed a taste for fear and an affinity for crows when his grandmother locked him in a dilapidated church full of birds. He became even more obsessed with fear and revenge from being bullied throughout his childhood and adolescence for his bookish nature, especially comparisions to Ichabod Crane from the horror fable The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He commits his first murder at the age of eighteen by brandishing a gun in his high school parking lot during the senior prom. Dressed in a ghoulish scarecrow costume (that would later become his trademark), Crane causes the head bully Bo Griggs and his girlfriend Sherry Squires, who had previously rejected Crane, to have an automobile accident which paralyzes Griggs and kills Squires. From this, Crane discovers a savage delight in literally frightening people to death.
After high school, Jonathan enrolled at Gotham City University, where he became the prized student of psychology professor Avram Bramowitz. Although he had great respect for Bramowitz, he was bothered by the fact that his mentor could so easily dismiss the importance of the psychology of fear. Despite this, Crane wanted to be Bramowitz' colleague, but there were no available staffing positions at the school. Undeterred, Crane turned his interests towards chemistry, and started a research to develop a hallucinogen capable of inducing fear. He used his fear knowllege against Professor Bramowitz, leading to the pedagogue's death. With Bramowitz out of the way, Crane was able to take his position as a professor, specializing in psychopharmacology and the psychology of fear. Crane was eventually dismissed for firing a bullet at a flower pot in a classroom demonstration of a body's reaction to fear (a shard accidentaly hitted a student in the face, just missing her eye). After which, he killed the people responsible for his dismissal. Following this, he transfers to Arkham Asylum and becomes the chief psychiatrist, where he performs cruel, fear-induced experiments on his patients. As no one knowed about the crimes he commited in the past, Jonathan Crane became a highly respected member of Gotham's society, knowed by his great undestanding about fear.
During his research, Crane discovered that a mountaintop blue flower from Tibet could become a powerful fear hallucinogen if turned into vapour form. This mountain was the location of the League of Shadows monastary, and Crane made a deal with their leader Ra's al Ghul so they would grant him with their flowers and he would help them in their plans. The League of Shadows planned liberating Crane's toxin throughout Gotham City to make its citizens destroy themselves, but they told Crane that the plan was to hold the city ransom.
Crane then contacted Gotham City's crime boss Carmine Falcone and told him that he was working for Ra's al Ghul. Falcone then agreed to bring Crane's illegal shipments to Gotham for an ammount of money and also some "small favors". When one of his thugs was arrested, Falcone asked Crane to tell the judge that the man was insane, as he was a respected psychiatrist. During the months dealing with Falcone, Crane continued with his fear experiments, extracting his fear toxin from the League of Shadows' blue flowers. He weaponized his toxin, creating gas shooters that he commonly hided under his suit, and to do not be affected by the toxin he created a gas mask resembling a scarecrow face. He then takes the moniker "The Scarecrow", the favorite taunt of the hated bullies from his adolescence. Crane then piped his toxin into Gotham's water supply using one of the city's main tubes that was located underneath Arkham Asylum.
After being asked by Falcone to declare his hitman Victor Zsaz insane, so he would not be arrested, Crane was noticed by assistant district attorney Rachel Dawes, who accused him of corruption. Crane then tells Falcone he would do no more favors, and asked him to kill Dawes. Later, however, Falcone is defeated by the figure known as "The Batman" and is arrested by the GCPD. Falcone then cuts his wrists to get the insanity plea, and Dr. Crane is called to examinate him. Falcone then tells Crane that he wants to participate in Ra's al Ghul's plans, and that if he is not freed he would inform the police about his experiments. Crane, however, puts on his Scarecrow mask and innoculates Falcone with his fear toxin, leading him into madness. He then asks the police to move Falcone to a "safe cell" at Arkham Asylum, where he would keep an eye on him. Crane then went to a building on the Narrows, where Falcone's shipment's drugs were located. He orders his thugs to torch the building to erase all evidence, and notices that a window was open, suspecting someone was inside. After hearing a noise at the toilet, Crane puts on his mask, and as the Batman confronts one of his thugs the Scarecrow sprays him with his fear toxin. He then toss alcohol at Batman and uses a lighter to torch him. A desperate Batman then jumps out of the window and falls on the streets of a rainy Gotham City, managing to survive and escape.
Rachel Dawes then went to Arkham Asylum to talk to Crane, and she accuses him of drugging Falcone and tells him she called a doctor to examinate him. Furious, Crane takes Dawes to the basement and shows her he's tossing his drugs into the water supply, and injects her with his toxin. As the Scarecrow asks her who knows she's at Arkham, the Batman shows up, and he orders his men to call the police. The Batman then defeats his henchmen and Crane tries to poison him again, but this time Batman uses his own toxin against him. The Batman then asks Crane who's he working for, and hallucinating that Batman is a dark monster he tells him he's working for Ra's al Ghul and is knocked out. Crane is then driven into madness and is arrested by the GCPD, being secured in an unbound straitjacket at Arkham Asylum, where he is interrogated by Sgt. James Gordon. Later, however, Ra's al Ghul liberates Crane's fear gas throughout all of Gotham City, and the Scarecrow is freed alongside all of Arkham's inmates by corrupt police officers, who return his mask to him. In a rampage through the Narrows, the Scarecrow pursues Rachel Dawes and a young boy while on horseback, but Dawes eludes him by shocking his face with a taser. However, Crane manages to escape in the confusion.
The Scarecrow then became a fugitive of the GCPD. Alongside a group of Arkham escapees, including his former "patient" Killer Croc (who he had infected with his fear toxin), Crane flees into the sewers of Gotham City. From his underground refuge, the Scarecrow was performing experiments with his fear toxin on members of Gotham's homeless community. Angered by Cardinal O'Fallon's work caring for the homeless, Scarecrow orchestrates his kidnapping, hoping that his absence will facilitate more people to seek refuge underground and thus be available for experimentation. He sents Killer Croc to kidnapp the Cardinal, who infiltrates the church and carries O'Fallon to the sewers. However, Batman infiltrates the Scarecrow's lair and defeats Killer Croc, and then finds Cardinal O'Fallon being put on trial and sentenced to death by the Scarecrow. Batman leaps in to defend the Cardinal, and using the methane already present in the room, he sparks an explosion that destroys several water pipes, flooding the area and allowing him to escape with the Cardinal. Although, the Scarecrow himself also manages to escape.
The Scarecrow then became a career criminal, forming his own criminal organization. During the next two years he became a known drugs dealer; Crane supplied small doses of his fear toxin to a mobster's consumers who reacted fatally. During a meeting with the Russian mobster known as The Chechen in a garage at Gotham City, however, a group of Batman copycat vigilantes shows up and confronts the Scarecrow and his associates. The real Batman arrives, and the Scarecrow recognizes him and immediately attempts to leave, spraying one of the false Batmen with his toxin and getting into his van. The Batman jumps on the van, but the Scarecrow keeps driving and tosses him against a wall. However, while Scarecrow drives to the lower levels of the garage, Batman jumps and lands directly on the roof of the van, finally defeating the Scarecrow. Some Russian mobsters and the false Batmen are left alongside Jonathan Crane to be incarcerated by the Gotham City Police Department.
Eight years later, after The Joker's reign of terror and the death of Harvey Dent, Crane was released from prison along with all the criminals that were incarcerated under the Dent Act, during Bane's "revolution". He then acts as the judge in a kangeroo court held by Gotham's lower classes after the city is taken over by Bane's troops, offering the rich and powerful a choice between death or exile, though both choices lead to the same fate, as 'exile' would require crossing over the ice-frozen river connecting Gotham from the other shore. In addition, Bane also grants him full control of the courts to the extent that even Bane himself would not affect Scarecrow's ruling decision. When Commissioner Gordon is captured and brought into trial, he chooses death, but Scarecrow sentences him to "death by exile". He was saved by Batman while he began to walk, however. After Bane and his forces are defeated in a all-out brawl with Batman and the GCPD, Bane being presumably killed by Catwoman, and Batman presumed deceased, Jonathan Crane's final fate is unknown, although it's believed he wound up back in Arkham Asylum.
Batman Begins: Video GameEdit
- "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself!"
After making a deal with Ra's al Ghul and Carmine Falcone, Jonathan Crane developed a fear toxin and a second persona known as "The Scarecrow". After Falcone is arrested, Crane injects him with his toxin and drive him into madness. Crane's experiments, however, were noticed by Arkham Asylum's Dr. Emma Thomas, who was commonly threatened by Crane. After wenting to the Narrows to get the remaining drugs, Crane orders his thugs to torch the whole building to erase all evidences. However, Batman shows up and confronts Crane, who frees some of Arkham's lunatics to kill him, but Batman defeats then and Crane runs away through a corridor. Batman follows him, but Crane puts on his Scarecrow mask and uses his fear toxin on Batman. Even while hallucinating, Batman tries to defeat the Scarecrow. He sees him in front of a window and tries to grab him, but that was just a hallucination and a torched Batman ended up falling from a great height into a car on the streets of Gotham.
Later, Rachel Dawes went to Arkham Asylum to talk to Crane, and she acuses him of drugging Falcone. Crane then takes her to the basement and innoculates her with his fear toxin. However, Batman comes to rescue her. At the same time, some of Crane's thugs finds Dr. Emma Thomas at the basement, and after realizing she had discovered about Crane's toxin, they lock her into a room where she is choked. Batman then shuts off the asylum's power generators, and Crane orders his men to call the police. The Scarecrow then tells his men to kill the Batman, trying to convince them he is just a man dressed like a bat. However, the Batman defeats all of them and goes after the Scarecrow, who runs away with Rachel and escapes using elevators and locked doors. The Scarecrow then sents some of Arkham's "patients" to confront Batman and later tried to use the garbage presser to kill him, but he manages to survive. Crane then reached his office just as the police arrives at the asylum. The Scarecrow then tries to convince a hallucinating Rachel Dawes that Batman had tried to kill them, but that he had saved her life. However, the Batman appears and defeats the Scarecrow, using his own fear toxin against him and destroyng what was left of his sanity. Hallucinating that Batman is a dark monster, Crane tells him that he's working for Ra's al Ghul, and is then knocked out.
Crane is then driven into madness, and is locked up at Arkham Asylum. However, later Ra's al Ghul uses Crane's fear toxin throughout all Gotham City, and the Scarecrow is freed alongside all Arkham's prisoners. The Scarecrow is then sent to activate the Narrowborough Bridge, so the rest of the psychopaths could be spreaded throughout Gotham. The Batman shows up, but the Scarecrow had already builted a trap for him; he presses a button and a box explodes near the Batman, who is thrown out of the window and apparently dies. However, later the Batman appears in front of the Scarecrow in one piece. Desperate (but claiming he's not afraid of Batman), the Scarecrow falls on the river bellow and disappears. However, Batman himself claimed that the Scarecrow was not gone yet.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
- "Psychopharmacology is my primary field. I'm a strong advocate. I respect the mind's power over the body. It's why I do what I do."
- ―Dr. Jonathan Crane[src]
Jonathan Crane is an expert in the field of psychopharmacology and psychology, specifically the study of anxiety orders. He is a walking textbook on the study of fear, and can recite the name and description of nearly every known phobia. He often demonstrates his intellectual prowess by analyzing his fellow patients at Arkham Asylum. He is a proficient chemist and has used this skill to develop his infamous fear toxin, a gas that cause his victims to hallucinate that their worst phobias have come to life, wich the Scarecrow uses to instill fear in all who see him. The fear toxin he uses is extracted from a mountaintop blue flower from Tibet, and only works in vapour form.
As the Scarecrow, Crane wears a mask seemingly created from a poorly-stitched burlap sack with a hangman's noose dangling around the neck. The mask has a built-in rebreather, doubling as a gas mask to protect Crane from the effects of his own toxin, while visually acting as a focus for his subject's hallucinations (i.e. Batman sees bats literally flying out of the "mouth and eyes", while Rachel Dawes sees worms growing from it). He also develops various tools to dispense his toxin, most notably a special tube concealed in his jacket that sprays the gas from his wrist. His briefcase also possesses a special button that liberates a dose of the fear toxin on his victims. Originally, Crane did not wear a real "costume", and was commonly seen using the same suit he used in day-to-day life even while using his Scarecrow mask. After being exposed to his toxin and losting what was left of his sanity, however, he was locked up at Arkham Asylum and secured by an unbound straitjacket, and after being freed he continued using the straitjacket with his mask, only modificating it so he could move his arms and legs. During his time hiding in the sewers of Gotham, the Scarecrow was seen with a different look; he retains the sack-like mask, but it's torn, leaving his mouth and lower face visible. He also wears a costume with a wide-brimmed hat and tattered clothes, and what appear to be wooden struts are inserted into the shoulders of his costume, mimicking both the supports of an actual scarecrow and a pair of wings. He, along with his minions, carries a large scythe (with which he intended to kill Cardinal O'Fallon). After being forced to return to the surface, however, the Scarecrow returned using his more social clothes and retained his original mask. Although, even with all his abilities, it is interesting to note that the Scarecrow possesses no superhuman powers.
In the comics, the Scarecrow is a master of drunken boxing and crane style of kung fu, wich he combined into his own personal style named "violent dancing". His movie counterpart, however, have showed he has no real means of hand-to-hand combat, presenting him as physically unintimidating. During the comic book story arc "As The Crow Flies", the Scarecrow is transformed into a murderous creature known as the "Scarebeast" by the Penguin to kill off his disloyal colleagues. Through the intensely traumatic mutation, the Scarebeast possesses super strength, endurance, clawed hands and can release an even stronger hallucinogenic gas. After being defeated by Batman by injecting it with massive amounts of tranquilizers, the Scarebeast reverts back into Jonathan Crane, who ends up in a critical coma, from which he later awakens and transforms back into the Scarebeast during the "War Games" story arc. Recently in the comics, however, he has displayed the ability to literally frighten people to death without relying in his fear gas, suggesting a great ability to dominate the human psyche using fear as a weapon.
The Scarecrow was created by Batman creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane, and debuted in World's Finest Comics #3 (Fall 1941). His scarecrow costume, lanky appearance and surname were inspired by Ichabod Crane from Washington Irving's horror fable The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The Scarecrow made only two appearances in the 1940s. Revived during the Silver Age of Comic Books by writer Gardner Fox and artist Sheldon Moldoff in the pages of Batman #189 (February 1967), he became a staple Batman comic book villain.
In traditional comics, the Scarecrow is similar to his movie counterpart, being an insane former psychiatrist who uses a variety of drugs and psychological tactics to exploit the fears and phobias of his adversaries. He does not commit his crimes for wealth, but rather as a form of "research" to further study the effects of fear on humans, making the innocent citizens of Gotham City his unwilling guinea pigs. While he will occasionally commit robbery or other types of larceny, he does so only to get the funding he needs to carry out his experiments. Like many of the Batman villains, he has become a much darker character over the years. His other aliases includes Scarebeast and Schrocken, and he had been affiliated with the Injustice League, the Injustice Gang and the Secret Society of Super Villains, as well as being an unitiated member of the Sinestro Corps.
The Scarecrow was originally going to appear in two canceled Batman projects that would have taken place after Batman & Robin. In both projects, Batman Triumphant and Batman: DarKnight, he was the main villain. However, due to Batman & Robin's poor box office performance, neither film came to fruition. Howard Stern, Ewan McGregor, Steve Buscemi, Nicolas Cage, Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd were considered for the role in Triumphant, where through the use of his fear gas Scarecrow would cause Batman to confront his worst fear: the return of The Joker. In DarKnight (not to be confused with The Dark Knight), Dr. Jonathan Crane would use his position as professor of psychology at Gotham University and as resident psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum to conduct his experiments in fear, and during a vengeful confrontation with his colleague Dr. Kirk Langstrom, Crane would unknowingly initiates Kirk's transformation into the creature known as Man-Bat. Eventually, Robin ends up in Arkham Asylum under Crane's unsympathetic watch, and Kirk struggles with his "man vs. monster" syndrome as he longs to both reunite with his wife and get revenge on Crane.
In the Batman film series, the Scarecrow is portrayed by Cillian Murphy. Murphy originally tried out for the part of Batman himself on Batman Begins, but Christian Bale took the role. While Murphy didn't receive the role he initially auditioned for, director Christopher Nolan was so impressed with his performance that he granted him the role of Jonathan Crane. Murphy read numerous comics featuring the Scarecrow, and discussed making the character look less theatrical with Nolan. Murphy explained that "[He] wanted to avoid the Worzel Gummidge look. Because he's not a very physically imposing man he's more interested in the manipulation of the mind and what that can do." The movie's ending revealed that the Scarecrow had not yet been recaptured, leading to many rumors and speculations on the character's possible return to the franchise. Actor Cillian Murphy himself said in an interview that he would indeed return if director Christopher Nolan were to ask for it. Murphy then reprised his role on the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight, where the Scarecrow appears in one of the early scenes of the movie confronted and being arrested by Batman, and for the final time in the third film The Dark Knight Rises, where he is seen in a few several scenes acting as the judge of a kangeroo court held by Gotham's lower classes, sentencing the rich and powerful to die during Bane's "revolution". Murphy also voiced the Scarecrow on the Batman Begins video game. Although, as he does not dies on the films, many fans believe that the Scarecrow will make appearances on future Batman movies.
The Scarecrow appears as one of the villains in the "In Darkness Dwells" segment of the direct-to-DVD animated production Batman: Gotham Knight, whose six short features were designed to bridge the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The Scarecrow was voiced by Corey Burton. An action figure of the Scarecrow was made for the Batman Begins toy line, and featured a water spraying and head change actions. This toy featured the Scarecrow in the costume he wears at the end of Batman Begins, and was later re-released as part of The Dark Knight toy line, this time with a gun that mimicks his fear toxin.
- Batman Begins
- Batman Begins (video game)
- Batman: Gotham Knight
- Batman: The Dark Knight
- Batman: The Dark Knight Rises