After watching The Dark Knight Rises everyone is left with one big question: What happened to the Joker?

Director and writer Christopher Nolan believed it was disrespectful to Heath Ledger to include the iconic enemy in the film, so he neglected the Joker from the third Batman movie.

But that doesn’t stop us, the fans, from creating the lore ourselves.

First up is a novel that goes deeper into the movie’s story. Appropriately titled The Dark Knight Rises: The Official Novelization, New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox offers his explanation of where Batman’s nemesis went (thanks to Nuke the Fridge for finding the quote):

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.

Another explanation is the Joker is actually inside the Blackgate Prison, but we just didn’t see him.

Sam Saxton, a freelance storyboard artist in New York City, believes with a double and some CGI, this scene wouldn’t be too tricky to pull off:

What do you think of the decision to exclude the Joker from The Dark Knight Rises? Do you like these explanations? Leave a comment with your thoughts.