WARNING: This article contains MASSIVE spoilers for Batman: Arkham Knight. Click away now or forever hold your peace.
The sure-to-be epic conclusion to Rocksteady's impeccable Arkham video game series, Batman: Arkham Knight, finally swoops onto store shelves this month - but has its biggest surprise secret just leaked online?!
Arkham Knight picks up one year after the jaw-dropping conclusion to the previous game, in which the Clown Prince of Crime was finally brought down in this eerily emotional final scene:
As unbelievable as it seemed, The Joker was dead. And I was pretty convinced he was going to stay that way, with super-villains Scarecrow, Harley Quinn and the Arkham Knight taking his place as the anti-Bats antagonists in this fourth and final outing.
That was until I saw these mind-blowing leaked shots posted on Imgur, featuring one smiley face that you might just recognize...
That's right, The Joker appears to be back from the dead, his face seemingly still scarred from the Titan poisoning he 'succumbed' to in the previous game. I knew we hadn't seen the last of the purple-suited maniac - it just wouldn't be an Arkham game without him!
But Wait - Is He Really Alive?
We're all familiar with the comic book laws of death, it being an extraordinarily flexible state that no character can't be brought back from. But remember - Rocksteady Games' Sefton Hill did confirm, in an interview with Game Informer, that The Joker really had popped his clogs in Arkham City. So, if he really is dead, why is he pictured in a leaked screenshot from the game?
Well, one answer could be that the images have in fact been modified, but they don't look fake to me. Instead, my theory is that the leaked screenshots are actually taken from a Scarecrow sequence in the game, and The Joker is simply one of Batman's haunting hallucinations.
We've all seen Jonathan Crane's dreaded fear toxin at work - I don't know about you, but this Scarecrow scene from the first game, Arkham Asylum, had me gripping my sweaty, shaking controller in absolute terror!
If Scarecrow was able to make Batman see his dead parents, he can surely do the same with a deceased Joker.
Anyway, that's my theory - The Joker will return in Arkham Knight, but only as a toxin-induced hallucination. But enough from me, what do you think?