I am he who is called Ra's al Ghul. My admiration for you is well founded, Detective. As Napoleon once told me, a strong mind can fuel a frail body. Humankind must be forced to serve the planet instead of its own appetites.
~ Ra's al Ghul to Batman in Batman: The Demon's Quest.
You don't cheat death. You whimper in fear of it.
~ Batman regarding Ra's al Ghul's thanatophobia in Batman: Beyond.
I have been called criminal and genius... and I am neither! I am an artist! I have a vision of an Earth as clean and pure as a snow-swept mountain... or the desert outside!
~ Ra's al Ghul
Ra's al Ghul, translated from the Demon's Head in Arabic, is one of the main antagonists of DC Comics, serving as one of the main antagonists of the Batman franchise and Batman’s second arch-nemesis.
He is the immortal founder of the League of Assassins and is perhaps one of the most intelligent and mysterious villains that Batman ever faced, since he is nearly unkillable and possesses seemingly limitless knowledge regarding Gotham City and its inner workings. Not much is known about his earlier life and identity, which gives him the advantage in a confrontation. He is one of the main antagonists in Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Beware the Batman. Specifically, he appears as the main antagonist of Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Demon Reborn", the main antagonist in Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past", the main antagonist of the 2005 film Batman Begins and the posthumous overarching antagonist of its 2012 sequel The Dark Knight Rises, the overarching antagonist of the 2010 animated direct-to-video film Batman: Under the Red Hood, and one of the two main antagonists in Batman VS Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alongside Shredder. In the comics, he is a major villain in storylines that involves the Bat-Family and sometimes the stories in the Justice League stories as well.
Ra's Al Ghul was created by the late Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams.
Little is specifically known of the early years of the nearly immortal Ra’s Al Ghul, whose name means “the demon's head”, but it is known that he has lived for many centuries due to Lazarus Pits, mystical and alchemical brews that restore his youth. A capable master of strategy and organization, Ra’s Al Ghul’s goal is to save the Earth from ecological devastation by destroying most of its population.
He recognized Batman as both a worthy foe and a possible ally – except that Batman cannot accept his dystopic worldview. Batman also shares a love-hate relationship with Ra’s daughter, the beautiful Talia. (Note: Talia appears in Batman: Arkham City) Ra's heads the sinister terrorist group known as the League of Assassins which he uses to wreak havoc worldwide.
Versions in adaptation
Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Ra's al Ghul is the main antagonist of the game. His League of Assassins take control of a weaponized satellite that is targeting Gotham City and release several Gotham inmates in order to keep Batman distracted. Eventually, Batman discovers what is happening and makes his way to Ra's base. Ra's reveals he has placed several bombs around the world and plans to use them to flood the planet and wipe out a large majority of it so that a better would in his mind will be born for him to rule over. Ra's tries to convince Batman to join him, but when he refuses Ra's gives Batman a sword so they can fight.
The ending of the game depends on what you do. If Batman did not disable the signal and loses the sword fight, he is killed by Ra's and dies in Talia's arms, as Ra's puts his plan into action and floods the world. If Batman loses the fight but disabled the signal, Ra's reveals to the dying Batman that the override is only temporary and presumably begins his plan to flood the world. If Batman wins the fight, but did not disable the signal, a defeated Ra's still manages to commence his plan and flood the world. And if Batman disables the signal and wins the sword fight he stops the bombs and Ra's ends up dying and because of that Ubu and Talia who then takes him to the lazurus pit.
Ra's al Ghul appears in the 2005 movie Batman Begins as the main antagonist, and then the posthumous antagonist in The Dark Knight Rises, as a ghost. Both times, he is portrayed by Liam Neeson.
He is the head of the alleged centuries-old League of Shadows, a morally ambiguous organization that is dedicated to keeping order and justice in a world which they views as decadent and corrupt. He is the silent partner of Carmine Falcone and Scarecrow in a plan to disperse fear gas into the water supplies of Gotham City. For the first half of the film, he goes by the name Henri Ducard and acts as a mentor to a young Bruce Wayne, teaching him the martial arts training and keysi methods that he will one day use as Batman. During this time, Ducard hides behind a decoy Ra's al Ghul.
The Decoy (played by Ken Watanabe) is killed while battling Bruce. During Bruce Wayne's birthday party years later, Ducard reveals himself to be the real Ra's al Ghul, and explains that the League is bound to destroy Gotham. He then explains to Bruce that he had hoped for Bruce to be by his side when he purged the evil from Gotham, a reference to the comics in which Ra's wished for Bruce to be his heir. As Ducard's men attack Bruce and wreck Wayne Manor, more of his agents release the inmates at Arkham Asylum as part of a diversion for the cops in order for Scarecrow's gas to envelop the city. In their final confrontation, Batman defeats Ducard and leaves him to die in a train crash. He returns in the film The Dark Knight Rises in flashback scenes and in a cameo as a spirit.
DC Universe Online
Ra's al Ghul makes an appearance as one of the bosses in DC Universe Online.
Ra's al Ghul is a major antagonist in the TV show Young Justice. He is the leader of the League of Shadows and a member of the evil organization, The Light. As a member of the Light, Ra's went under the alias of "L-2".
Here he was voiced by Oded Fehr, who also voiced Equinox in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Mr. Freeze in Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants, while also portraying Asim Naseri in 24: Legacy, Jafar in Once Upon a Time and Zankou in Charmed.
Beware the Batman
At the end of the episode "Sacrifice", Lady Shiva finds the package that Anarky had temporarily stolen from the League of Assassins had contained Ra's al Ghul's body. In "Fall", a flashback reveals that he fought MI6 Agents Alfred Pennyworth and Edogawa Yamashiro (the father of Katana) in the past with their last encounter leading to the Edogawa's death. In the present day, he is revived by Lady Shiva and is ready to use the Ion Cortex to drain all of Gotham City's electricity leaving it in darkness.
Batman and Katana arrive to stop him. Ra's al Ghul fights hand-to-hand against Batman where he defeats Batman considering him a "worthy opponent." Ra's al Ghul nearly kills Batman before Alfred arrives and interferes. Katana and Alfred barely escape from the League of Assassins with Ra's al Ghul commenting on how Alfred killed Edogawa. Ra's al Ghul activates the Ion Cortex plunging all of Gotham City into darkness. In "Darkness", Ra's al Ghul directly threatens Gotham's citizens by making an example of it to the rest of the world by taking it over and "cleansing" it from the evils of technology, and even has the unnamed police commissioner killed to make his point. In addition, he has Alfred and Katana captured when they try to break into his lair.
He also causes a breakout at Blackgate Penitentiary at the end of the episode. In "Reckoning", Ra's al Ghul recruits Professor Pyg, Mr. Toad, Magpie, Tobias Whale, and Phosphorus Rex as well and League of Assassins operative Cypher to kill Batman (who had escaped with the help of an imprisoned Silver Monkey) in exchange of a small piece of the city. Ra's al Ghul also manipulates Katana into killing Alfred to avenge the death of her father. She refuses nearly having Ra's al Ghul kill them all only for Tobias to arrive with a captured Batman. Batman breaks free and stalls Ra's al Ghul in combat while Barbara Gordon hacks into the Ion Cortex, disabling it from the League of Assassins' control and bringing electricity back into the city.
Batman ultimately defeats Ra's al Ghul by using a reverse chant to release all of the souls in the Soultaker Sword (particularly all of Ra's al Ghul's enemies throughout the centuries). The angry spirits drag Ra's al Ghul into a bottomless pit, presumably to his death.
DC Animated Film Version
Ra's Al Ghul appears as a minor character of Son of Batman. He raised Damian to succeed him. Until the League of Assassins were under attack by assassin led by Ra's former right-hand man, Slade Wilson (aka Deathstroke). Ra's took serious damaged from the missile strike. Ra's died before he could reach the Lazarus Pit even the pit cannot revive him with a lot of damage.
In Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Ra's was revive by Trigon. He fought Damian and got killed by his grandson.
Ra's al Ghul appears in Arrow, played by Matt Nable. He is the father of Nyssa al Ghul and Tali al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins, the trainer of Malcolm Merlyn and the unseen antagonist of Season 2, then the main antagonist of Season 3. It's stated that before he battled Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, he had battled another man 67 years ago. The fact that Ra's looks to be in his late forties confirms that he is immortal and Lazarus Pits exist in the Arrowverse. He later appears as a minor character in Season 1 of DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
Ra’s al Ghul appears in the second half of the third season of Gotham and is played by Alexander Siddig. He arrives on the show when a young Bruce Wayne looks into who is truly behind the Court of Owls and serves as the main antagonist of the entire series, as controlling the organization along with the League of Assassins.
Ra's Al Ghul is one of the two main antagonists along with Shredder. Ra's formed an alliance with Shredder and his Foot Clan of destroying Gotham for Ra's imagine. He made a deal for Shredder of Ooze in exchange for Ra's Lazarus Pit to give Shredder immortality. He and Shredder infiltrated Arkham Asylum for the Joker's ingredient for Gotham's destruction. Ra's and Shredder freed and mutant Bane, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Two-Face and Joker to destroy Batman and the Turtles. He fought and was defeated by Leonardo.
This version of Ra's is eviler than several of his other versions. Throughout the film, he shows no regard for human life as he went through with the plan to spread chaos around Gothan and the world. Said plan involved endangering several hundred thousand if not millions of people. Furthermore, he shows much less respect towards Batman, even mocking one of his previous failures by stating that "Leonardo is only another child that Batman sent to his demise." Thus, this version lacks the nobler traits of most other incarnations of the character.
Powers & Abilities
Knowledgeable intellect and strategist.
Superior strength and stamina.
Superb hand-to-hand combatant, trained over millennia.
Nearly immortal due to the Lazarus Pits.
Possesses some magic power.
Commands a legion of followers dedicated to serve him.
Ra's al Ghul said that he is over 600 years old.
In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Ra's al Ghul had a hand in creating the Red Hood, but unlike the Joker, he regrets his actions.
Ra's is the second villain to have a possible false identity, because his true identity is never revealed.
Because of his threat level he is often considered to be the big guns of Batman’s rogues even above Joker (DC) who is more of a personal threat to Batman.
Ra’s Al Ghul is the second primary antagonist of the Batman franchise the first being Joker.