|Ra's al Ghul|
|Real name:||Ra's al Ghul|
|Affiliation:||Bruce Wayne (friend turned enemy)|
|Characteristics:|| Gender - Male|
Eyes - Brown
Hair - Brown with a white streak on both sides
|Portrayed by:|| Liam Neeson|
|Appearances:|| Batman Begins|
The Dark Knight (Book)
The Dark Knight Rises (flashback only)
- "To manipulate the fears of others, you must first master your own. Are you ready to begin?"
- ―Henri Ducard[src]
Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul first acted as a mentor and teacher to Bruce Wayne but then became his arch-enemy after Bruce became Batman.
Mentoring Bruce Wayne
Henri Ducard was first shown as an associate of Ra's al Ghul. Ducard finds Bruce Wayne in a Chinese prison and offers him a "path." After Wayne is freed, he climbs to the home of the League of Shadows where Ducard is waiting. When asked if he is ready to begin, Wayne replies that he can barely stand. As a test, Ducard attacks Bruce and explains that death would not wait and neither should they. When he defeats Wayne, Ducard asks him what he fears.
After Wayne recovers, Ducard begins training him in every aspect of ninjutsu. Ducard is portrayed as a very skilled warrior and a stern teacher in these segments. Throughout his training, Bruce is unable to best Ducard, but comes extremely close during a sword battle, fought upon a frozen glacial lake. However, he forgets to take full notice of his surroundings and Ducard simply breaks the ice beneath him for the victory. While Bruce is recovering from the cold water, Ducard reveals what brought him to the League of Shadows. He once had a wife whom he loved very dearly. One day she was killed by a criminal. Ducard was almost consumed by anger until he learned to control it and channel it to obtain vengeance for his wife. The novelization also mentions that his daughter presumely Talia is in Switzerland.
At the end of his training, Ducard forces Bruce to face him while slightly drugged. Ducard hides among several of his men while Bruce attempts to locate him. Leaping out at Bruce from his hiding place, Ducard manages to wound Bruce slightly on his arm. Bruce, however, gives an identical injury to two of the other ninja, thus tricking Ducard into believing that Bruce has left him a 'sign'. When he rushes forward to capture his 'student', Bruce reveals the trick and defeats his master. As a final test, Ducard hands Bruce a sword and orders him to kill a captured convict, but Bruce refuses, having realised that he cannot fight evil with evil's methods, and that compassion is necessary to separate him from his enemies. Ducard explains that Bruce must do what is necessary to fight evil, while Ra's reveals that they have trained Bruce with the intention of him leading the League to destroy Gotham City, which they believe has become hopelessly corrupt. Bruce subsequently knocks Ducard out and sets the League's fortress aflame, apparently killing Ra's. Ducard is rescued by his pupil before the fortress collapses.
Ra's al Ghul's attack on Gotham
Months later, Ducard unexpectedly reappears, and reveals that he is actually the real Ra's al Ghul (Watanabe's character was a decoy, and Henri Ducard was merely an undercover name). In the ensuing confrontation, Ra's elaborates on the League of Shadows' exploits throughout history (sacking Rome, spreading the Black Death, and starting the Great Fire of London). Ra's explains that the League plans to use a fear toxin invented by their partner Dr. Jonathan Crane (alias the Scarecrow) to infect the city with mindless panic, and watch it destroy itself. He claims that the League of Shadows had attempted to use economics as a mean of destruction, which led indirectly to the murder of Bruce's parents when Joe Chill attempted to mug them after losing his job, their deaths subsequently prompting the industries to band together and save the city. He explains that the destruction of Gotham City is merely another mission by the League to correct humanity's recurring fits of decadence and presumably protect the environment. Ra's then has his henchmen burn down Wayne Manor with the intent of killing Bruce, stating "Justice is balance, you burnt my home and left me for dead, consider us even."
With the aid of Alfred, Bruce survives the fire, and confronts Ra's al Ghul as Batman, Ra's commenting that Batman took his advice of "using theatricality" too literally before escaping and going on with his plans. Batman catches up, and teacher and student have one final battle on a runaway train. Ra's' arrogance is ultimately his downfall after Batman defeats him and reveals Gordon's assistance in taking the rails out of the tracks, using Batman's Batmobile; Batman tells Ra's that he himself has failed to be mindful of his own surroundings, as Bruce had learned before. Informing Ra's that he won't kill him, but that he doesn't have to save him, the hero leaves Ra's for dead on the train, which falls moments later into a car garage and explodes.
Ra's uses his last moment to meditate, and is presumed dead, but whether or not he survived remains unknown. In the novelization, it is said that no body was found in the wreckage.
Behind the scenes
- The Nolan film series has yet to incorporate the Lazarus Pits, nor any of his supernatural powers from the comics, as this does not fit the realistic tone of the Nolan films.
- According to the novelization of Batman Begins, Henri Ducard has a daughter named Talia, who is Ra's daughter in comics' continuity. Talia has been confirmed to appear in The Dark Knight Rises, played by actress Joey King. Many fans also speculate that Miranda Tate is secretly an adult Talia
- Ra's al Ghul is set to be portrayed by Josh Pence in a flashback in The Dark Knight Rises .
- Liam Neeson has been confirmed to reprise his role in The Dark Knight Rises.