Batman Beyond introduced a unique Batman story without the Joker, which was quite a surprise. Instead of using old villains, the show created new bad guys, some inspired by the past and others completely original. However, the desire to bring back the fan-favorite Joker was irresistible, and it happened twice in two different ways.
In the movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker makes a comeback in Gotham City. It is revealed that during Bruce Wayne’s time as Batman, the Joker kidnaps Tim Drake and implants a microchip containing his own consciousness in Tim’s head. After the Joker dies, his consciousness activates in Tim’s head, effectively possessing him and transforming Tim into the original Joker. This method of coming back to life was complicated and unlikely to succeed, but it somehow worked.
The second time the Joker returns in Batman Beyond is more practical and straightforward. In a comic called Batman Beyond #3, Terry McGinnis goes undercover to infiltrate the Jokerz, a gang that idolizes the original Joker. Terry discovers the Joker’s body preserved in stasis after his final fight with Batman. His minions kept him on life support, waiting for the technology to revive him. Eventually, the technology becomes available, and the Joker is brought back to life.
In Return of the Joker, it was actually a copy of the Joker’s consciousness inside Tim Drake’s body, essentially a clone of the original Joker. However, in the comic, the Joker’s original body is revived using advanced technology, making it a true resurrection. Interestingly, these two storylines could have happened simultaneously, potentially resulting in two Jokers running amok in Neo Gotham.
The fact that the Joker returned from the dead twice in Batman Beyond is quite insane, which is in line with the Joker’s unpredictable nature. It showcases the ongoing struggle between Batman and the Joker, even in the future.