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Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy)

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General Information
Real name: Jonathan Crane
Aliases: The Scarecrow
Alignment: Bad
Affiliation: Ra's al Ghul
Characteristics: Gender - Male
Eyes - Blue
Hair - Brown
Portrayed by: Cillian Murphy
Appearances: Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
"There's nothing to fear, but fear itself! And I'm here to help!"

Dr. Jonathan Crane was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who conducted experiments on inmates using an identity known as the Scarecrow. He was portrayed in the Nolan Batman trilogy by Cillian Murphy.


Batman Begins

In League with Ra's al Ghul

"I respect the mind's power over the body. It's why I do what I do."
―Dr. Jonathan Crane[src]

Dr. Jonathan Crane

Dr. Jonathan Crane was a corrupt sadistic psychiatrist specializing in psycho-pharmacology at Arkham Asylum. Crane was secretly allied with Ra's al Ghul and Carmine Falcone, smuggling the former's hallucinogenic drugs into Gotham to create fear gas to use upon his patients in cruel experiments. Crane testified in court that Victor Zsasz, one of Falcone's assassins, was legally insane and should be moved to Arkham for rehabilitation. This enraged Assistant District Attorney Rachel Dawes, who later accused him of being corrupt. Crane then met with Falcone to discuss having her murdered. When Falcone later attempted to blackmail Crane, Crane donned his Scarecrow mask and doused Falcone with his Fear Toxin, which drove the mob boss insane and left him repeatedly uttering "Scarecrow". Crane attributed this to Falcone identifying the image with a Jungian archetype.

Eventually, anticipating that Batman would find the stash of fear toxin laced into stuffed animals, Crane went to his apartment with two of his men and the intention to burn the evidence, though both of his men ended up knocked out by the Caped Crusader before they could actually do anything beyond spraying gasoline all over. In Crane's first encounter with Batman, he sprayed Batman with his fear toxin and set him on fire, though Batman narrowly escaped with his life and mind intact. With the help of Lucius Fox, Batman acquired an antidote to the toxin. Shortly thereafter, Batman had a second confrontation with Crane, this time at Arkham, where he rescued Rachel Dawes after Crane has sprayed her with his toxin. Batman overpowered Crane's henchmen and sprayed the doctor with a dose of his own medicine, destroying what was left of his sanity and divulging his real superior: Ra's al Ghul. Crane was subsequently arrested by Sgt. James Gordon, but later escaped in the mass release of Arkham inmates prompted by Ra's al Ghul as part of his plot to destroy Gotham. As Ra's al Ghul unleashed Crane's fear gas on Gotham's slums, Crane, by then calling himself Scarecrow, pursued Rachel and a boy through an alley on a horse, dragging a dead mounted police officer from its stirrups. To the boy, who was affected with the gas, Scarecrow appeared as a fiery eyed, deep-voiced monster riding a fire-breathing horse. After stating "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself - I'm here to help," Rachel eluded Scarecrow by shocking him in the face with a taser. Scarecrow aimlessly rode off into the night, screaming in pain. Sergeant James Gordon informed Batman that Scarecrow was still at large.

When Bruce asked Ra's Al Ghul if Crane was a member of the League of Shadows, he said, "Of course not. He thought the plan was to hold the city to ransom," suggesting that Ra's used Crane and, if Crane wasn't in Arkham, would've left him in fear-infected Gotham.

The Dark Knight

Recaptured by Batman

"Buyer beware. I told you my compound would take you places. I never said any places you wanted to go."

The Chechen's gang and Scarecrow's thugs meet in an empty parking lot to discuss the negative effects of Scarecrow's drug had on the Chechen's customers, with one in particular being brought along as an example. The meeting is interrupted by the Batmen (impostors of the Dark Knight that wear armor and wield firearms). Scarecrow easily holds his own against the impostor Batmen, until the real Batman arrives. Scrambling into his van, Scarecrow makes a getaway whilst Batman deals with the impostors and the gangsters. However, Scarecrow's plans go awry when Batman crashes into his vehicle mid-transit. Batman ties up a strangely happy Scarecrow, possibly due to the fact that he felt fear when Batman arrived, and leaves him for the police with the Batmen.

The Dark Knight Rises

"Very well. Death... by exile!"
―Jonathan Crane sentencing Gordon.[src]

When Bane frees the prisoners from Blackgate Penitentiary, Scarecrow is one of the thousands of prisoners freed. Once liberated, Scarecrow presides over a "kangaroo court" trial wherein the rich aristocracy of Gotham are persecuted and given a choice between death and exile. He forced Phillip Stryver to go to exile, where he would have to walk across the ice-frozen river that connected Gotham to the other shore, away from the city. Stryver, along with presumably everybody else who tried the exile option, fell under the ice and froze to death. In addition, Bane also granted him full control of the courts to the extent that even Bane himself would not affect Scarecrow's ruling decision in the courts. Commissioner Gordon chose death, but Scarecrow made him have death by exile. He was saved by Batman while he began to walk, however. Scarecrow was presumably apprehended by the GCPD after Bane and Talia al Ghul were killed.

Weapons and Equipment

Scarecrow uses a deadly kind of Fear Toxin. The toxin is a powerful psychotropic hallucinogenic, causing disturbing images of fear in its victim's minds. When still a doctor, Crane used the toxin to experiment on his patients (nicknamed Crazies), and was brought into the League Of Shadows for use of his toxin against the whole of Gotham. The gas, in large doses, was mentally dangerous and capable of breaking one's mind. Only Lucius Fox was capable of making a cure for Crane's poison. In The Dark Knight, Scarecrow has managed to create a weapon from the gas, as seen when he uses a gas dispenser hidden in his sleeve.

Despite the toxin's frightening effectiveness, Crane is quite defenseless once the gas is bypassed, as evident when Batman subdues him with little trouble.

Crane wears a mask, seemingly a poorly-stitched burlap sack with a hangman's noose dangling around the neck. The mask has a built-in re-breather and acts as a gas mask, in addition to enhancing the effect of the hallucinations in his experiments. The mask is put to good use when a victim is poisoned, making his appearance all the more terrifying to the victim; Batman hallucinates bats crawling out of the "mouth", Rachel hallucinates maggots writhing in it, Falcone sees him moving about in a blur, while a boy sees both Scarecrow and his mounted police horse with fiery eyes, with the horse also breathing fire. Scarecrow wears an unbound straitjacket at the movie's climax due to his incarceration in Arkham Asylum.

Behind the Scenes

Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow: A psycho-pharmacologist who works at Arkham Asylum and has developed fear-inducing toxins. He takes on the persona of the Scarecrow to intimidate others and further his study of fears and phobias. Nolan decided against Murphy for Batman, before casting him as Scarecrow. Murphy read numerous comics featuring the Scarecrow, and discussed making the character look less theatrical with Nolan. Murphy explained, "I 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."

In other media

Batman: Gotham Knight

In a film in the animated Batman: Gotham Knight anthology, The Scarecrow was the mastermind behind Killer Croc's attacks. Crane drugged Croc with the fear toxin to make him try to kill everyone in his path. He also trained Croc to not fear bats. Batman encountered Croc and beat him, then moved on to find Scarecrow, who was about to slaughter Cardinal O'Fallon. Scarecrow had gathered a cult of mentally ill derelicts. He wore a large brimmed hat and carried a scythe for full effect. Scarecrow attempted to injure Batman with his scythe but failed. Batman defeated all the Scarecrow's men but Scarecrow escaped. Scarecrow is voiced by Corey Burton.


  • Scarecrow is the only antagonist to appear in all three Nolan Batman films, and one of only five characters to appear in all three films (the other four being Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox).


Batman Begins

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises IOS APP

See also


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