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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
Corey Burton - Batman: Gotham Knight (Voice)
Appearances: Batman Begins
Batman: Gotham Knight
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.


Origin and Early Life


Dr. Jonathan Crane

Born on October 20th, 1973 out of wedlock, Jonathan Crane was raised in the care of his religious fanatic grandmother, who had less than pure intentions for the boy. These involved exposing him to severe emotional and physical torment and torture from his grandmother, the worst of such being brought upon him at age 9, when she locked Jonathan up in the family's atrium dressed in a suit contaminated with a homemade chemical designed to enrage the crows nesting nearby and force them to attack the source. Because of this, he developed into a tall thin frame, a crippling fear of crows and above it all, a bent mystique woven into his intelligence. While at school, Crane became the victim of taunts and jeers due to his appearance that even the other boys in the neighborhood threw rocks at him and called him cruel names. But despite the bullying he got, the frail boy learned that the rules didn't have their place for him and only those of limited intellect them because his intellect was anything but limited and hampered him in any way to disserve the rest of mankind.

Following his high school graduation, the stillness of Crane's rural life in wedlock didn't hold enough charm to entice him to stay, so to ensure that his grandmother to no longer inflict his cruelty on him, he decided to run away with a tuition check from the mail and thus traveled to Gotham City by bus. There, he enrolled in Gotham University to study the emotional functions of humanity and spent his studying time trying to use fossils that were too dense to comprehend the benefits that conferred to humanity. Most doubted his brilliance, but at age 21, Crane was surprisingly given his doctorate in psychology by the university's president, Dr. Titus V. Blaney, after submitting a thesis on the etiology of the fear reflex in primary mammals (including humans). Later hired as the psychology professor at the same college, the now Dr. Crane ensconced in the psychology department and developed a habit of annoying his colleagues and generally describing his students as "dumber than pond scum". These bad manners eventually enhanced his mystique as he secretly began experimenting fear etiology on his students by feeding them a hallucinogenic drug meant to induce panic. Rumors about this illicit action started to spread on the campus, later becoming facts when Crane formed the drug into a liquid which he called a "party potion" and presented it at a Christmas Eve party at the school. One of the students who drank it simply tasted the full effect that she was seen a hour later running through the glass window of a department store at the city's local mall and trying to wreck apart a Santa Claus mannequin once inside. When questioning on the incident later revealed her connection to Crane, the situation got worse for him when a colleague also among the university staff quietly investigated the doctor's phobia thesis and discovered the faked activity behind it. Crane was thus called before a university staff meeting, where he explained his conclusions as valid because his insight was so much deeper than that of others and chose not to waste it doing dreary and horrible chores to constitute proof. Blaney tried to overrule the staff's decision to dismiss Crane from the college due to how much he praised the young wizard for his "achievements", but soon came to realize that he may have staked his reputation on his student too much and saw him as a "fraudulent egotistical braggart".

Now angrily fired from the psychology professor post at the end of the semester, Crane told Gotham's public relations office at a press release that he was reluctantly leaving the school to pursue other opportunities such as research in the private sector. However, academic community members who knew the real story gleefully spread it around the city, and by the time the news reached the nearby Arkham Asylum, the doctors there didn't get the bad news about the talented doctor in question, who was invited to the asylum and hired as its Chief Administrator. Given license to experiment on the insane asylum inmates, Crane set up a Fear Aversion therapy program in which his drug was used to frighten his worst fears and those of his patients, eventually developing his worsened mystique with a sadistic personality disorder. In addition, the charming doctor discovered that putting on a mask furthered his experiments, and was thus inspired by his childhood fear of crows to gradually develop the "external tormentor" alter ego of "the Scarecrow" with a burlap gas mask to make himself immune to the drug. By then, some fellow psychiatrists indicated Crane himself was insane, and he was willing to admit such possibility by clinical standards which he wasn't ready to show were irrelevant to him than they were relevant to most humans. But as he remained as Arkham's resident genius, Crane prepared himself to make a grand theory to prove that fear was the basis of all of humanity's errors and "cure" it by ushering mankind with the fear-induction within his hallucinogen into a true Garden of Eden where all of its worst fears came true and be conquered, with him as its benevolent ruler. He got the opportunity to do so when the rumors about him came to the attention of the mysterious eco-terrorist Ra's al Ghul, who was inspired on how well Crane practiced his experiments on his patients and offered the doctor help test the drug on a cross-section of the human species; Gotham's entire population, for which Crane would be rewarded by anything beyond what money could provide. Crane agreed, only because he believed that the man's scheme was to hold the city to ransom. While in Ra's service, the Scarecrow managed to develop an even better form of his hallucinogen that caused the subject great fear of everything around them, which he dubbed "Fear Toxin", for him and his League of Shadows using a rare blue flower that grew on the slopes of the Himalayas near to the League's monastery, and tested it on the Arkham inmates as always. Using Carmine Falcone, the head of Gotham's organized crime, to smuggle the toxin's drug ingredients into the city, the doctor in return set up his psychiatric credentials into declaring any of Falcone's thugs insane once they were tried in court. He transferred them to his secure wing at the asylum, where they enjoyed more luxurious conditions than in prison.

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]
While testifying in court that Victor Zsasz, one of Falcone's assassins, was legally insane and should be moved to Arkham for rehabilitation, Crane was approached by the Assistant District Attorney Rachel Dawes, who commented on the high number of Falcone's associates that he had at Arkham and implied that he was corrupt in his assessments. The psychiatrist responded by telling Carl Finch, Rachel's boss, to make sure that she knew what accusations the DA office has authorized her to make. He then met with Falcone to discuss the latest shipment of drugs, and explained that the packets hidden inside toy bears went to the drug dealers, and those hidden inside toy rabbits went to the Crane's apartment in the Narrows. Crane also explained that the less Falcone knew, the better. When Falcone was apprehended, Crane visited him after the gangster cut his wrists hoping for an insanity plea. Falcone threatened him with his unexpected knowledge of Ra's plan and asked to be a part of it. Knowing that Ra's would never trust a criminal like Falcone, Crane donned his Scarecrow mask and doused Falcone with his Fear Toxin, which drove the mob boss insane and left him repeatedly uttering "Scarecrow". The corrupt doctor attributed this to Falcone identifying the image with a Jungian archetype.

Anticipating that Gotham's brand-new vigilante hero Batman would find the stash of fear toxin laced into stuffed animals, Crane went to his apartment with two of his thugs and the intention to burn the evidence, but both men ended up knocked out by the vigilante before they could actually do anything beyond spraying gasoline all over. Donning the mask again, he sprayed Batman with his fear toxin and set him on fire, though though narrowly escaped with his life and mind intact, later acquiring an antidote to the toxin developed by Lucius Fox. Three nights later, Rachel became furious yet concerned about Crane's actions on transferring Falcone to Arkham on suicide watch, and Crane showed her that he had been pouring his fear-inducing drug into Gotham's water supply. He dosed Rachel with it, but Batman saved her by overpowering the Scarecrow's thugs and spraying the tormentor with a dose of his own medicine, destroying what was left of his sanity and divulging his real superior: Ra's al Ghul. But Batman found the identity of the Scarecrow's employer impossible since he was trained by the League of Shadows in the martial arts and killed Ra's by burning his headquarters down on him when he found out his actual scheme was to destroy Gotham (though he claimed that Ra's was dead because he was oblivious that the "Ra's al Ghul" he killed was a decoy).

Crane was subsequently arrested by Sgt. James Gordon and Det. Arnold Flass, but later escaped in the mass release of Arkham inmates prompted by Ra's as part of his plot to destroy Gotham. As Ra's unleashed his pawn's fear gas on Gotham's slums, the Scarecrow pursued Rachel and a boy through an alley on a horse he stole from a riot policeman, dragging the officer's corpse from its stirrups. To the boy, who was affected with the gas, the Scarecrow appeared as a fiery eyed, deep-voiced monster riding a fire-breathing horse stating "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself - I'm here to help," until Rachel shocked him in the face with a taser, making the deranged psychiatrist scream in pain as he aimlessly rode off into the night. After Batman foiled the League's scheme to spread the gas on the entire city via the monorail train, everything in the city but the Narrows started returning to normal, but Gordon informed the bat-masked figure that the Scarecrow and half the Arkham patients he freed were still at large, even though he was supposed to have died.

Batman: Gotham Knight

As it turned out shortly later, Crane didn't die as everyone thought. Instead, Scarecrow had gathered a cult of mentally ill derelicts 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 attempted to injure Batman with his scythe but failed. Batman defeated all the Scarecrow's men but Scarecrow escaped.

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."


  • 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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