Rachel Dawes
General Information
Real name: Rachel Dawes
Alignment: Good
Affiliation: Bruce Wayne (friend)
Harvey Dent (fiancée)
Alfred Pennyworth
Characteristics: Gender - Female
Hair - Brown
Eyes - Blue
Portrayed by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Appearances: The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises (photo)


"Dear Bruce. I need to be honest and clear. I'm going to marry Harvey Dent. I love him, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. When I told you that if Gotham no longer needed Batman we could be together, I meant it. But now, I'm sure the day won't come when you no longer need Batman. I hope it does; and if it does I will be there, but as your friend. I'm sorry to let you down. If you lose your faith in me, please keep your faith in people. Love, now and always, Rachel."
―Rachel Dawes' letter to Bruce, which Alfred burned following Rachel's death to spare Bruce the pain of reading it. [src]

Rachel Dawes was assistant District Attorney in Gotham City, a childhood friend and love interest of Bruce Wayne.


Early lifeEdit

See: Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes)

The Dark KnightEdit

Rachel, by this time, is the assistant DA to Harvey Dent, a man who is challenging the mob in Gotham in a legal way. She has also started dating him, creating a love triangle between herself, Dent, and Bruce.

When the mob hires the Joker to kill Batman out of desperation, the Joker says he will kill people until Batman reveals his identity. Despite Bruce's initial reluctance to give in to the Joker demands he finally decides to turn himself in not wanting anyone else to die because of him. He then asks Dent to assemble a press conference in which he will show his true identity and be arrested. Afterward Rachel tries to convince Bruce not to turn himself, but he remains firm in his decision. Bruce then kisses Rachel hoping that the two will be together once he reveals his identity. Harvey, realizing how important Batman is, says that he is the Batman in order to keep the real Batman free. Rachel confronts Alfred about this deception, but Alfred simply suggests that Bruce and Harvey both recognize that Batman represents something more than a man. The plan appears to succeed when Batman and Commissioner Gordon capture the villain, but Rachel privately questions Bruce's new plan to use Harvey as bait to capture the Joker when he goes after Dent.

"Harvey. It's okay, it's alright. Listen. Some -"
―Last Words of Rachel Dawes[src]

But during this time, Joker manipulates two cops into bringing Dent and Dawes to different buildings in the city. There, both of them are tied up with bombs and barrels of gasoline surrounding them, along with a radio that allowed the two of them to speak to each other. Joker reveals the locations to Batman and the police during his interrogation, but deliberately switches the locations. Batman sets out to save Dawes, while Gordon goes to rescue Dent, unaware of the falsehood in Joker's words until Batman arrives at the storage to find Dent, not Dawes as he believes, inside. Still, Batman manages to get Dent out–arriving moments after Rachel had told Harvey that she would marry him, having previous requested time to consider his proposal–although half of his face is caught on fire and hideously burnt in the explosion that occurs seconds after their escape from the building. However, Gordon arrives too late to save Rachel, and she dies when the bombs surrounding her are detonated, her last words assuring Harvey that it is OK for him to be saved instead of her. 

Earlier before her abduction and death, Rachel left Alfred a note for Bruce, leaving it unsealed so Alfred could also read it and know the right time for Bruce to read it. She explains in the letter that because she truly loves Harvey and thinks that Bruce will not be able to give up his life as Batman, she is going to marry Harvey (but that she will always love Bruce and will remain his friend). Alfred goes to give it to Bruce after her death, but instead takes it back moments later when he decides it's not yet time, and then later burns it when he hears that Bruce is sure that she would have waited for him, knowing that it would never be the right time, recognizing that  just as Batman and Gordon would later sacrifice Batman's reputation to preserve Harvey's  sometimes people need lies to fulfill their hopes.

The Dark Knight RisesEdit

Following the deaths of Rachel and Dent, Bruce retires as Batman and does nothing further with his personal life after seeing his only chance for a normal life destroyed along with Rachel. He becomes a recluse and loses connection with the world for eight years. When Bane attacks Gotham City, Bruce decides to return to his crime-fighting life to stop him. In an attempt to dissuade Bruce, Alfred finally reveals to him that Rachel chose Dent and that he burned the letter in order to spare Bruce the pain. This revelation puts a severe strain on Bruce's relationship with Alfred, who leaves Wayne Manor when Bruce decides to continue as Batman.

Bruce keeps a picture of Rachel inside Wayne Manor that both Selina Kyle and Miranda Tate pick up and examine, the latter to manipulate Bruce. After Rachel died, Bruce never had a relationship with anyone during his time as a recluse. Alfred also tells Bruce that he should move on from her death, and find somebody new. He does have a brief relationship with business partner Miranda Tate, before revealed herself as Talia, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul. After Bruce and his allies defeat Bane, Talia, and the rest of the League of Shadows, Bruce officially retires his role as Batman after fulfilling his vow to turn Gotham into a city of order. He passes his legacy as Gotham's Dark Knight to Detective John Blake, and enters a relationship with Selina, finally moving on from Rachel's death and also proving Rachel wrong about her belief of Bruce never giving up being Batman.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal's portrayal of Rachel Dawes should be viewed as a continuation of Katie Holmes' from Batman Begins.
  • She was the first major female character to be killed off in the Batman films.
  • It is unknown if Rachel's mother was alive at the time of Rachel's death seeing as she was never mentioned.
  • Rachel Dawes death was similar to how Jason Todd was killed: both characters ended up killed by the Joker, and both of their deaths involved the explosion of a building they were trapped in seconds before their attempted rescuers arrived. Both deaths also greatly affected Batman as a result and resulted in him becoming more determined to stop the Joker and very narrowly avoiding killing the Joker as a result. Unlike Rachel's death, Jason Todd would later be resurrected and become the Red Hood. However, Frank Miller's graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns" (whose plot "The Dark Knight Rises" was largely based on) featured an alternate story line where Batman retires after Jason Todd's death (with the latter apparently never having been resurrected) and enters into a similar depression, remaining inactive for ten years (before resuming his vigilantism).

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