|“||The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome. Loaded trade ships with plague rats. Burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence we return to restore the balance.||„|
|~ Ra's al Ghul about the League of Shadows.|
The League of Shadows is the main antagonistic faction of The Dark Knight Trilogy, specifically being the main antagonistic faction of both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, and the unseen overarching antagonistic faction of The Dark Knight. They are a group of terrorists led by Ra's al Ghul, and later, Talia al Ghul.
Bruce Wayne joined the League of Shadows to seek the means to fight injustice. He was still traumatized by the murder of his parents during the Gotham depression but had learned to give up on the idea of revenge. While traveling the globe, he was recruited from a Bhutanese prison by a man calling himself "Ducard", who saw great potential in the angry young man. During the final test in his training, Bruce was asked to act as an executioner and learned what the League really was about, that their leader wanted him to lead a mission to destroy the city of Bruce's birth. Bruce then destroyed their base and left the man he believed to be Ra's al Ghul to die there. However, he saved Ducard, his teacher while in the League.
Over seven years after his disappearance from the city, Bruce returned to Gotham City and planned to root out its criminality and the corrupt. He became Batman to enact this plan, and used Ducard's lessons in the martial arts, stealth, intimidation, and theatricality. Meanwhile, the League was busy bringing a fear toxin (created from a hallucinogenic blue flower grown near their Himalayan base) into Gotham by employing some of Gotham's criminals, most notably Carmine Falcone and the Scarecrow. After Batman put both men behind bars, the League was forced to act sooner than expected and Ducard revealed to Bruce that he was Ra's al Ghul. Using a microwave emitter stolen from Wayne Enterprises, they began vaporizing the city's water supply, which the toxin had contaminated. Everyone who breathed in the toxin turned on each other in blind panic.
Batman, with the help of James Gordon, was able to stop the League before it could vaporize all the water in the city. In the process, Batman left Ra's for dead on a train that crashed, causing him to perish in the crash and resulting explosion.
The Dark Knight Rises
Following the death of Ra's al Ghul for which she blamed Bruce Wayne, Talia forgave her father and attempted to bring justice over his death and finish her father's work with the aid of Bane, who had become known as a mercenary with a rumored reputation following his excommunication from the League. Talia posed as Miranda Tate and came to Gotham, and became a shareholder and board member of Wayne Enterprises to fund the creation of a nuclear fusion reactor for which Bane abducted Doctor Pavel to turn into a nuclear bomb years later.
Batman asked Selina Kyle to take him to Bane after Bruce lost his fortune due to the risky trades made during the League's attack on the Gotham Stock Exchange so that Talia could takeover Wayne Enterprises and the reactor. In Bane's sewer lair underneath Gotham, Batman was challenged to a fight by Bane, wherein he outlined his aim of fulfilling Ra's al Ghul's destiny by destroying Gotham. Bruce was sent to the Pit after his defeat so that he could see it unfold and suffer.
The League of Shadows employed Gotham City's older orphans to work in the sewers, as well as John Daggett's construction crews to pour explosive cement throughout the city that was later detonated. The city was held hostage as Bane posed as its liberator in a false revolution. The ranks of the League of Shadows were augmented as former Blackgate prisoners and others joined their army. Talia continued to use her false persona to undermine Batman's allies in various ways such as alerting Bane of a meeting with U.S. Special Forces within the city and misleading Gordon's group of cops into believing that a decoy truck was the one containing the nuclear bomb.
After Batman's return, Talia revealed herself to him and unsuccessfully used her trigger to detonate the bomb and left city hall to ensure its detonation. Bane was shot dead by Selina on the Batpod, and Batman fired on Talia's bomb truck in his aerial vehicle the Bat and led it to crash where she drew her last breaths, confident her plan for the nuclear annihilation of Gotham was unstoppable. The other members of the League of Shadows in the city were killed or captured by the GCPD. Batman saved the city by sending the bomb far away from Gotham City over the water where it detonated.
- Ra's al Ghul (founder and leader)
- Talia al Ghul (heir, original second-in-command, and co-leader)
- Bane (co-leader and field commander)
- Barsad (mercenary, high-ranking lieutenant, and second-in-command)
- Decoy of Ra's al Ghul (high-ranking trainer)
- Scarecrow (Fear Toxin supplier; formerly)
- Carmine Falcone (mafia associate; formerly)
- John Daggett (business associate; formerly)
- Catwoman (hired thief; formerly)
- As described in the article about the organization this one was partly based off of and/or is "a movie version of", this in-some-ways-cultic/cult-resembling organization called by names such as the likes of examples such as in turn the "League of Assassins", "The Society of the League of the Assassins of the Shadows" as well as the "Society of Shadows", "The League Of Shadows" and other such names is considered by some to have been happening to be, and in some ways in fact was and is heavily influenced by legends about that in turn were inspired by a historically-existent-organization that was and is called by many names by many peoples' groups, with its names including "The Hashashins" and also in fact even "The Assassins". Founded in the Middle-East as a matter of fact, whilst in parts of Iraq and Iran in the years when they were known together as parts of just the lands of Persia, at the points taking place whilst during the years of ancient-and-medieval human history within enough time before the beginning of the Crusades, by a man called Hassan i-Sabbah, of whom some consider Ra's to have similarities to, even though this results from matters of reputations given to Hassan - some of which were bad and some of which were good - and in either case were heavily influenced by myths and legends influenced by as well as stories told of him - some of which especially among the ones giving Hassan a bad reputation were brought about in part in attempts to publicly discredit him by Hassan's adversaries. That said, some similarities can be pointed out in how - like how Ra's Al Ghul's followers were and are willing to die for him to the point of risking their lives to protect him - certain sources of described types describe Hassan i-Sabbah's followers - called by these described names - and those affiliated to them - as having at least something similar in regards to willingness to remain committed to described affiliations.
- One example is in how in according to certain Persian and other Middle-Eastern Sources including Arab types, in an attempt to demonstrate the amount of authority held over his followers and those affiliated to them and him being to the point where they would risk their lives to protect those within their groups and likes thereof and Hassan as well before ever doing anything for adversaries of them, Hassan i-Sabbah himself had ordered a man in his services jump off such a high place that it caused that man to fall to his death.
- Some among these certain sources say it was so Hassan could demonstrate this amount of authority he had to visiting dignitaries, some among these certain sources say it was so Hassan could still demonstrate this but to individuals coming to speak on behalf of and others among these certain sources say it was so Hassan could still demonstrate this but to individuals laying siege to him and those with him, etc., at one of their main residing locations.
- That said, whether or not any of that had ever actually happened whether like that or not still remains a mystery of unknown nature.
- Both Hassan i-Sabbah, Ra's Al Ghul and the organizations they respectively are known to have served as "founders" and/or "original leaders" for were and are known to be of Middle-Eastern in regards to background and nature of background type. One difference, however, was that Ra's Al Ghul, a fictional character who might have been possibly partly inspired by the bad reputations given to Hassan i-Sabbah, was and is of Arabian Background whereas Hassan i-Sabbah, a historical figure who merely became so widely known and/or widely known and remembered whilst he was alive and even after death that he had went down into History and Legends and the likes of them alike, was and is known for being of, in turn, Persian Background.
- Both the organization under Ra's Al Ghul's leadership and the organization under Hassan i-Sabbah's leadership are known to have individuals within membership who are known for being highly skilled in rooftop running, the likes of it, multiple forms of martial arts combat, multiple forms of physical combat generally speaking, perception used to enhance senses, and whilst in certain comic book incarnations of the organization under Ra's Al Ghul's leadership were said to have been extremely disciplined thanks to being given a chemical-form of a herb that supposedly enhances their senses - which is one of the very things that was and is what caused those under Hassan's leadership to be even called "The Hashishins" - although there is no evidence to even suggest that it ever was actually so in regards to the ones called "The Hashashins" or that they even used drugs like "Hashish" like how many sources had accused them of having done so whilst at least certain comic book incarnation-depictions of the ones called The Members Of The League Of Shadows and The Members Of The League Of Assassins using such things - like as how it was referenced to in "Batman Begins" - was and is a possible reference to what Hassan i-Sabbah and those under his leadership through the ones called "The Hashashins" and "The Assassins" were known to be accused of doing. Also, the organization under Ra's Al Ghul's leadership having places to reside at including from within areas located on mountaintop types which also serve as places of residence for them and for Ra's Al Ghul is a possible reference to Hassan i-Sabbah and his organization-leadership-successors being called as a truly factual matter by titles such as "The Old Man Of The Mountain".
- Certain comic book incarnations of the organization under Ra's Al Ghul's leadership imply that perhaps, that very organization was formed some point that was during the heyday-like years of existence of or during the years before the start of the foundations of the organization under leadership of Hassan i-Sabbah, which has been sometimes also called like in actual history whilst according to some sources and/or legends, etc., names like the "Ancient Order Of The Assassins" - from which Ra's Al Ghul had at one point in fact split from to form the organization under his leadership as a means of a successor movement. In some of these, some differences were that whilst the ones by names like just The Assassins were known to focus on main objectives as an organization to act in semi-catalyst-like fashion in order to put stops to sectarian religious conflicts and other types from amongst religious conflicts along with other conflicts of various types including and not including wars, etc., putting stops to injustices, tyranny, corruption, decadence etc., throughout The Middle-East and beyond from within "the world", the organization under the leadership of Ra's Al Ghul was formed to act in a similar matter yet whilst unlike the Assassins acting in such a catalyst-like way that it would potentially threaten the lives of too many innocent people.