Among the many villains in Batman’s Rogues Gallery, none of them are as fascinatingly horrifying as Dr. Jonathan Crane – better known as the Scarecrow. Using his knowledge of psychiatry, the Scarecrow can use his victims’ fears against them, and fear, as we know, might be Batman’s biggest weakness.
Despite the character’s popularity with fans, the Scarecrow has been notoriously absent from most live-action Batman films. The only movie where he actually faced the Caped Crusader was 2005’s Batman Begins, where he was masterfully played by Cillian Murphy.
Would you like to see Cillian Murphy return as Scarecrow in an origins film?
Fear and Illusions
The Scarecrow’s gimmick is that he uses a special gas that can materialize his victims’ worst fears. Due to the somewhat disturbing nature of his drug-fueled hallucinations, the Scarecrow has been used mostly in some of the Dark Knight’s darkest cases, including some amazing Halloween-themed adventures.
However, most Batman films have been action-based, even though fans have long insisted on how awesome a Batman movie with horror vibes would be. This has left the Scarecrow mostly outside of the Caped Crusader’s cinematic universe – until Christopher Nolan decided that he wanted Crane to be a secondary antagonist in Batman Begins.
This version of the character is quite similar to what fans have come to expect from the comics. Cillian Murphy gave the Scarecrow a sinister and calculating look that fits the idea of an evil psychiatrist perfectly, and fans were quick to notice just how well the Irish actor played the character.
If there’s one thing that DC knows how to do is crafting a compelling origin story. Joker was simply impeccable: not only was it one of the best DC films in the studio’s cinematic history – it is one of the best superhero flicks ever.
While the case for Arthur Fleck in Joker was sympathetic for a while, the Scarecrow might be a tad less complex than the Clown Prince of Crime. There are many facts about the origins of the Joker that are left up to interpretation, but the same can’t be said of Jonathan Crane.
With a more straightforward origin story, the concept of a Scarecrow origin film would be the perfect chance for DC to release a purely horror-themed superhero movie – and it just so happens that Cillian Murphy has an amazing background when it comes to horror.
Murphy and Horror
Irish actor Cillian Murphy’s distinctive facial features give him a somewhat gaunt look that just makes him the perfect choice for any villain. His role in 28 Days Later saw the actor running across the streets of a zombified London, fending off against the legions of infected roamers.
Murphy’s experiences with the horror genre, and his impressive handling of the Scarecrow character in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, make him the unquestionable perfect choice for an origin story movie. An exploration of the Scarecrow’s psyche would no doubt make for a shocking experience: just what DC and its push for R-rated superhero films needs.
We’re seeing more and more superhero films that dare going where the MCU doesn’t – a renaissance of the edgy cape flicks of the early 2000s. Now that 2022’s The Batman promises to bring a new continuity for the Caped Crusader’s cinematic universe, perhaps now it’s the best time to see what’s hiding under the Scarecrow’s menacing burlap mask.
What do you think? Should Cillian Murphy return as Scarecrow for a solo film?