When director Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman movie franchise with his epic Dark Knight trilogy (2005 – 2012), he introduced a lot of characters into the series. Some of these characters had appeared on screen before, such as Harvey Dent and the Joker, while others made their cinematic debut in Nolan’s films.
Amongst the list of newbies was Rachel Dawes – a character who proved rather important to Nolan’s trilogy. But who is Rachel Dawes and where did she come from?
In this post I am taking a look at Rachel, to explain who she is, why she is so important to Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, and much more.
Who is Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight trilogy?
In the Dark Knight trilogy, Rachel Dawes is the childhood friend of Bruce Wayne. As seen in Batman Begins (2005), Rachel’s mother worked for the Wayne family when Rachel was a child, and Rachel and Bruce grew up together.
Rachel and Bruce remained close, up until Bruce left Gotham City shortly after the trial of Joe Chill – the man who murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne. From here, Rachel and Bruce went their separate ways, until Bruce returned sometime later.
Rachel is Gotham’s Assistant District Attorney, and in this role she has helped to prosecute many of the criminals that have corrupted the city. This position has also brought her into close contact with the likes of the Scarecrow and the Joker.
Crossing paths with the Joker was what ultimately led to Rachel’s demise. She was killed during the events of The Dark Knight (2008), as part of one of the Joker’s schemes.
Who played Rachel Dawes in the Batman movies?
Across the two movies (Batman Begins/The Dark Knight), Rachel Dawes was played by three actresses. In her first appearance in Batman Begins, Emma Lockhart played the role of young Rachel, while Katie Holmes played the character as an adult.
In her second appearance in The Dark Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal took over the role from Holmes.
Why was Katie Holmes replaced in The Dark Knight?
Katie Holmes did not return to the role of Rachel Dawes for The Dark Knight due to scheduling conflicts. Holmes was reportedly due to reprise her role, but it is believed she turned down the part in order to make the crime comedy, Mad Money (2008).
Why is Rachel so important in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy?
Rachel is important to the Batman movies, because she acts as the moral conscience of Bruce Wayne. When Bruce’s parents were killed, he not only lost his family, and his innocence, he also lost a piece of himself – the good part of his character that ensures he stays on the correct path in life.
Rachel is in essence that moral compass. In her role as Gotham City’s Assistant District Attorney, she works hard to maintain justice. In her personal life she offers friendship and possible companionship to Bruce.
Rachel has remained a constant force for good in Bruce’s life, and when it appears as if he is moving in the wrong direction, she helps to steer him back to the centre. He feels a great loss when she dies in The Dark Knight – not just because he has lost a friend, and someone he loves, but also because he once again feels he has lost a piece of himself.
Was Rachel Dawes created for The Dark Knight trilogy or did the character originate in the comics?
Rachel Dawes was an original character, created specifically for inclusion in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. She did not previously appear in the comics, or any other Batman media.
Thank you for stopping by I’ll Get Drive-Thru to read this post about Rachel Dawes. For more Batman movie-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.