Many characters fell victims to the Joker in The Dark Knight, but there’s one whose fate was left uncertain: Gambol, and here’s what happened to him. After a rough patch on the big screen with Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, the Caped Crusader was given a new chance with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which introduced Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and gave Gotham and its residents a darker and more realistic look.
First was Batman Begins, released in 2005, which explored the origin story of the title character and saw him go against Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy). Batman Begins was followed by The Dark Knight in 2008, where Batman came across the Joker (Heath Ledger), who brought a lot of chaos to Gotham City, and closing the trilogy was The Dark Knight Rises, which introduced the audience to Bane (Tom Hardy) and Talia al Ghul (Marion Cotillard). Although the trilogy was well-received by critics and viewers, The Dark Knight is widely considered as the best and one of the greatest superhero movies ever, and the actions of the Joker continue to be a topic of discussion among fans.
The Joker arrived to bring chaos to the city of Gotham and messed with every person that crossed his way, no matter if they were civilians, politicians, or gangsters. Among those was Gambol (Michael Jai White), an arrogant and confrontational mob boss who hated the Joker from the moment he arrived unannounced to a business meeting between Gotham’s mob, killed one of his guards and insulted him. As a result, Gambol put a bounty on the Joker’s head but was tricked by a trio of bounty hunters who made him believe they brought the Joker’s body. The Joker revealed himself alive and immediately put a knife in Gambol’s mouth.
The Joker proceeded to tell one of the many stories he had about how he got his scars, and as he was about to scar Gambol like his father supposedly did with him, he turned to one of the guards to ask “why so serious?”. The scene then cut to the Joker dropping Gambol, with a sound effect that suggested he killed him, but the scene didn’t show what he did to make him drop dead. This made fans wonder what exactly happened to Gambol, with many explaining that it is possible to die from having your cheeks slashed, so it’s generally believed that Gambol died due to the shock and bleeding of the Joker giving him a “Glasgow smile”. The Joker slashing Gambol’s cheeks was confirmed by White in 2018, who told THR that he never shot a death scene and was as surprised as everyone else about his character’s ambiguous ending, and he was only going to get a Glasgow smile of his own.
Gambol might have not been initially supposed to die, but the final product changed that original idea and left the audience guessing for years what truly happened to him. Some fans have gotten so deep into this topic that have theorized over the direction in which the Joker’s knife could have gone in order to kill Gambol so quickly, but the truth is that Gambol had a pretty shocking death in The Dark Knight as dying as a result of a Glasgow smile is quite cruel, even if it wasn’t shown on screen.