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Ra's al Ghul (Nolanverse)

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Note: this page is an incarnation of Ra's al Ghul and Henri Ducard from Christopher Nolan's trilogy. The mainstream version can be found here and here.


Ra's al Ghul

Full Name
Ra's al Ghul, Henri Ducard
Batman Begins
Leader of the League of Shadows
Powers / Skills
Combat skills, capable martial artist and swordsman. Schemer and high intelligence
Training Bruce Wayne (Formerly)
Destroy Gotham City and other corrupt places like it
Type of Villain
Anti-Villain / Master of Hero / Delusional Extremist

Gentlemen, time to spread the word. And the word is...panic.
~ Ra's al Ghul to his men, just before they release the fear toxin.
No one can save Gotham. When a forest grows too wild, a purging fire is inevitable and natural. Tomorrow, the world will watch in horror as its greatest city destroys itself. The movement back to harmony will be unstoppable this time.
~ Ra's to Bruce Wayne/Batman.
If someone stands in the way of true justice, you simply walk up behind them...and stab them in the heart.
~ Ra's to Bruce, before setting Wayne Manor on fire.

Ra's al Ghul, also known as Henri Ducard, was the true main antagonist of Batman Begins (the first of Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy) and the Bigger Bad/quaternary antagonist in The Dark Knight Rises. He was the former leader of the League of Shadows and was Bruce Wayne's mentor who helped him become the caped crusader.

He was portrayed by Liam Neeson.


Training Bruce Wayne

If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely. A legend, Mr. Wayne, a legend.
~ Ducard to Bruce Wayne

Ra's al Ghul first meets Bruce Wayne in a Bhutanese prison under the name Henri Ducard who offers Bruce a chance to become a member of the League of Shadows. Bruce agrees and Ra's tells him to find a rare blue flower outside the prison and bring it to his lair on top of a mountain. Bruce does so and finds the lair and meets the imposter Ra's al Ghul. Bruce tells Ducard everything: his parent's death, his fear for bats, events prior to his imprisonment. Ducard teaches him to fight with a sword, hand to hand combat, etc. Bruce succeeds in Ra's tests and is sworn in to the League. His final test was to execute a murderer but he refused and Ducard and the decoy Ra's reveal that they plan to attack Gotham and destroy it. Bruce then sets the lair on fire, kills the decoy Ra's and brings Ducard to a village to have him recuperate.

Assault on Gotham City

If someone stands in the way of true justice, you simply walk behind them and stab them in the heart.
~ Ducard to Bruce Wayne

Many months later, Bruce becomes Batman and slowly brings hope back to Gotham. He learns that Dr. Crane (the Scarecrow) is using his fear toxins on his patients and dumping it into the water supply. Scarecrow tells Batman he is working for Ra's al Ghul but Batman doesn't believe him as he saw the decoy get killed. Later that night, Ducard crashes Bruce's birthday party and reveals himself as the real Ra's al Ghul. He reveals that Scarecrow takes the toxin from the blue flowers near his lair and were able to weaponize it and make people see their worst fears. Ducard's master plan is to destroy Gotham with biological warfare and make the citizens kill each other out of fear. Ducard then goes on saying that the League of Shadows have been around for centuries and were behind historical ecological disasters including the sacking of Rome, the Bubonic Plague and the London fire; believing they did what they did for the sake of the environment. Ducard then knocks out Bruce and sets Wayne Manor on fire.

Final Battle and Death

I'm not gonna kill you. But I don't have to save you.
~ Batman, before leaving Ducard to die

Ducard then goes to the Narrows and frees all the inmates from Arkham Asylum. He then takes the microwave emitter he stole from Wayne Enterprises and releases his toxin throughout the narrows. Batman then arrives whom Ducard admired for using the League's tactic of theatricality and deception. He unleashes a few of his soldiers on Batman to occupy him while he puts the emitter on the monorail and sets course for Wayne Tower where the emitter will cause a chain reaction and cover the whole city in the poison. Batman gives then Lieutenant Gordon the Batmobile while he gets on the monorail and takes on Ducard. Ducard gets an advantage as Bruce fights the same way but Batman gets the upper hand. The fight was a ruse and Gordon destroys the monorail track and Batman destroys the stop switch to prevent the train from stopping. Batman then prepares to strike Ducard who welcomes it but Batman decides to leave him for dead remarking: "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you".

Batman then dismantles the train and escapes and Ducard falls to his death: the train derails and crashes into the Wayne Tower parking lot and the impact of the crash causes the emitter to explode; killing Ra's al Ghul.


You yourself fought the decadence of Gotham for years, with all your strength, all your resources, all your moral authority. And the only victory you could achieve was a lie. Now you understand. Gotham is beyond saving. And must be allowed to die.
~ Ducard

Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, a new enemy attacked Gotham: Bane. Bruce is told that Bane was once a member of the League of Shadows but was excommunicated by Ra's al Ghul. Bruce decided to come out of hiding and confront Bane as Batman. Batman asserted that Bane had nothing to do with the League, but Bane retorted that he was and that he was there to fulfill Ra's al Ghul's mission. Bane proved too much for Batman and he broke his back, stole his entire weaponry arsenal and brought him to Bane's former home. There, Bruce learned of Ra's al Ghul's past family drama.

Thirty years before the events of Batman Begins, Henri Ducard was a mercenary who served a warlord in Northern Africa. He fell in love with the warlord's daughter and they married in secret. When the warlord learned of the marriage, he sentenced Ducard to the pit. But unbeknownst to Ducard, the warlord's daughter offered to take his place in the pit and have Ducard be exiled. The warlord agreed. The daughter was imprisoned in the pit and was also with child; his daughter Talia. After a few years, the woman was attacked and killed by the prisoners but Bane protected Talia after she stabbed one of the assailants. One day, Talia escaped the pit and eventually found her father who rescued Bane and initiated them both into the League. While learning all of this, Bruce believed that Bane was the legendary child who escaped the pit.

In a hallucination, Ra's appeared before Bruce saying that he is immortal through another method–one that produced an heir. Bruce remembered Ducard telling him of once he had a wife who was taken from him and realized that he was the mercenary from the legend. Bruce finally escaped from the pit and returned to Gotham and as Batman, led an all-out assault on Bane. Batman defeated Bane and demanded to know where the bomb trigger was, but he gets stabbed by his girlfriend, Miranda Tate, who reveals herself as Talia Ducard, daughter of Ra's al Ghul.

Talia explains that she was the child who escaped from the pit and Bane was the prisoner who protected her. When she found her father, he stormed the prison and rescued Bane and gave him the mask to relieve the pain. Ducard excommunicated Bane because his very existence kept reminding him of his wife and the Hell that his family lived in. Talia could not forgive her father, but she blamed Batman for murdering him, and so she finally forgave him and vowed to follow his legacy. Her plans were foiled and both Bane and she were killed and Batman got the bomb out of range; finally ending Ra's al Ghul and the League of Shadows from beyond the grave.


Unlike his comic book counterpart, Ra's al Ghul was just an ordinary man who led a cult he said was centuries old. He claimed to Batman to be immortal through his use of dual identities, and through an heir in a later hallucination to Bruce Wayne. Ra's al Ghul believed in doing what was necessary to extinguish evil from the world in order to restore it to what he called balance.



  • The revelation that Henri Ducard is Ra's Al Ghul as well as the main antagonist of Batman Begins is similar to the twist of Aldrich Killian being The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 Both characters employed a double to disguise their true identities in order to avoid exposing themselves; with the difference being that Killian had hired Trevor to act out an idealized appearance of "The Mandarin" to divert the media and Tony Stark's attention away from his illegal activities, while the real Ra's Al Ghul had implemented the use of a decoy to protect and disguise himself as the mentor of Bruce Wayne. Ironically, both characters were portrayed as being of Caucasian descent in their respective film versions (at least based on the ethnicity of their actors), despite both of the comic versions of the Mandarin and Ra's Al Ghul being originally inspired by the "Fu Manchu" stereotype. Also, Guy Pearce was considered to portray Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, but the part ultimately went to Liam Neeson.
  • Ra's al Ghul had a major impact on the plot of the Nolan film trilogy, both as Bruce Wayne's mentor and as a villain. He taught Bruce the means he would use to fight injustice as Batman, means Ducard intended to use him to destroy Gotham City. The emergence of Batman in Gotham then led to the emergence of The Joker. Bruce Wayne's final test as Batman was to stop Ra's' daughter Talia and Bane from finishing Ra's work of destroying Gotham City.
  • Liam Neeson was not credited as Ra's al Ghul in the ending credits of Batman Begins. Instead, he is referred to by his pseudonym Ducard and the part of Ra's al Ghul is attributed to Ken Watanabe, who portrayed the decoy. Neeson was credited as Ra's al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Though Ra's al Ghul is not seen or mentioned in The Dark Knight, Bruce quotes him by saying that criminals are not complicated.
  • His daughter Talia had changed her name as Miranda Tate to avoid suspicion and get close to Bruce.
  • Similar to the Joker and Bane, the main antagonists of the trilogy's following installments, Ra's al Ghul's real name is never revealed, although it is possible that Henri Ducard is his birth name and not an alias.
  • He is the true bigger bad in "The Dark Knight Rises".

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