Screenwriter Sam Hamm first created Henri Ducard in his first draft of the Batman (1989) script, in which Ducard was one of the men to train Bruce Wayne in his younger days of traveling the world. When he was brought on to write comics he incorporated the character into his Blind Justice arc in Detective Comics first drawn by Denys Cowan. The character became established as part of Bruce Waye's backstory and even eventually made it into the origin movie Batman Begins in some form.
Ducard made a name for himself as a professional manhunter/ killer. Every organization from the CIA to KGB wanted Ducard's services. In time, Ducard gained several enemies including a French Algerian named Jeremiah Hassan. Hassan was a Muslim fundamentalist who had several terrorist cells spread out through Europe but his last attempt to strike at Capitalism ended badly because of Ducard. Hassan orders one of his female loyalists to seduce Ducard and kill him at the opportune moment. The female loyalist introduces herself to Ducard as Felicity Strode. When the moment presented itself, Felicity decided not to kill Ducard because she discovered that she was baring Ducard's child. Felicity faked her death in order to escape Hassan's vengeful retribution and started a whole new life with Ducard.
For the next twelve years, Ducard trained his son Morgan in the art of killing while Felicity maintained her position as a nurturing maternal figure. Unfortunately, Hassan learned about Felicity's continued existence and decided to take matters into his own hands. Hassan captured Felicity and told her that she has twenty four hours to eliminate Ducard or her son will suffer for her failure. Felicity knew that she could not escape Hassan's threat so she decides to go along with the mission. Felicity calls Hassan and tells him that she is expecting Ducard any minute.
Henri Ducard was one of Batman's several trainers in the ways of combat and crime fighting. Wayne traveled to Paris and sought out Ducard for his renowned skills as a detective. However, Ducard wanted to test out Wayne's potential by having his son Morgan challenge Wayne. Morgan surprised Wayne in an alley but Wayne proved his worth when he defeated Morgan. Ducard approaches Wayne with a silencer to his head and asks Wayne why he shouldn't just kill him for humiliating his son. Wayne then demonstrates his psychological ingenuity by toying with Ducard's vanity.
Wayne informs Ducard that he is aware of his involvement with Interpol. Interpol enlisted Ducard's services because they wanted an elusive terrorist cell to be taken out. Ducard agreed to Interpol's request because he wanted the chance to get revenge on Hassan, the leader of this terrorist cell. Hassan was the same man who gave Felicity Strode the responsibility to kill Ducard. Unfortunately, Ducard's tracking skills have only allowed him to get close to Hassan's lieutenants. Bruce on the other hand, has learned the exact location of Hassan and will provide the information if Ducard agrees to train him. Normally, Ducard would agree to such an offer and just kill the informant afterwards but he could not overlook Bruce's prowess as well as his knack for extracting near impossible information.
Ducard agreed to Bruce's offer and spent the next several months pairing Bruce with Morgan in the hopes of them working together as an elite killing force. Ducard eventually caught up with his prey and killed Hassan. Bruce decided to part ways with the Ducards because he didn't want to share their views on taking a life for the good of justice. However, Henri refused to allow this insult to go unpunished. Henri sends Morgan to eliminate Bruce while he was making arrangements to leave Paris. Morgan fails at his objective and Bruce drops Morgan's unconscious body on top of Ducard's workshop. Henri looked upon his son with great disappointment. Henri absolved any ties he had left with his son and Morgan was left as a shunned "nobody". Bruce didn't want to accept that Ducard was an amoral man who worked on both sides of the law but that all changed after he sent Morgan to kill him. Eventually they parted ways when they argued over whether it was right to take a life.
After Wayne became Batman, Ducard reentered Bruce's life when Bruce was accused of being a communist spy. Ducard was called in as a star witness by a government commission. The commission wanted Ducard's testimony on Bruce's eight year absence from Gotham as well as his activities while abroad. Ducard only agreed to help the commission if they clear him of his transgressions in France, Italy, El Slavador and the Islamic Republic of Syiraq where Hassan was hailed as a fallen hero. During his time in Gotham, Ducard learned that someone tried to assassinate Bruce.
With Bruce out of commission, the Batman was no longer present and Ducard began to put to and to together. Ducard wanted to share this information with the commission but Ducard respected Bruce more than his own devoted son. Ducard decide to keep this knowledge to himself and killed lead members in the commission to eliminate any opposition in Bruce's case. Before leaving Gotham, Ducard sent Bruce a letter dictating his admiration of Bruce's new found persona and informing him not to worry about the commission. Bruce was disgusted by Ducard's lack of morals when he killed the commission's chair people but he still allowed Ducard to continue his operations as a manhunter.
Tim Drake and Ducard encountered each other when he was globe trotting as part of his training. They met each other in Paris, leading them to work together on a case in Hong Kong.The two met again when Robin went to Paris in search of a cure for the Clench virus. Ducard also met Catwoman when she went to Paris. He later showed up pitting the assassin Deadshot against the man who stole his costume, arriving at Deadshot's hotel and giving him the location to meet the man who he had been training. Ducard felt it was a sure thing for Deadshot would not shoot the man in the costume as it would be essentially the same as shooting his own soul, however he was proven wrong when Deadshot killed the man, angering him.
Ducard was last seen helping Batman and Alfred track down the whereabouts of the Joker and Ra's Al Ghul. Ducard manages to capture and torture one of Ra's Al Ghul's devoted followers but Batman tells Ducard to back off. Batman then uses his own psychological torture to make the follower talk and Ducard was impressed by his former apprentice. He later assists Robin and Nightwing when they arrive in Paris to stop a plot by Ra's Al Ghul's followers to release his plague which would have the end result of wiping out most of the world's population.
In the "New 52" Batman and Robin series, Morgan, the son of Henri Ducard, surfaces as the villain known as " Nobody" with a vendetta against Bruce Wayne and an interest in bringing Damian over to his methods of crime fighting. Bruce Wayne explains how Ducard once fell in love with an assassin from a terrorist cell named Felicity Strode (though Ducard was un-aware of her past) who planned to kill him but fell in love with him instead, birthing the child together. The terrorist cell eventually caught up with Strode and forced her to carry out her assingment. Morgan killed his own mother when learning of her intentions, leaving Ducard to train his son to be a killer like him.
- Ducard was planned as part of the original script to Batman (1989).
An algamation of Henri Ducard and Ra's Al Ghul was used in the 2005 film Batman Begins. Ducard is the alias used by Ra's Al Ghul when training Bruce to be a part of the League of Shadows. Henri later reveals his true identity as Ra's Al Ghul during Bruce's birthday party. Ra's/ Henri was working with Scarecrow in spreading his fear toxin through out Gotham thereby causing Gotham to tear itself apart through fear. Ra's/ Henri was defeated by Batman and left to die on a derailed train that plummeted into an adjacent building. It is not made clear if Henri Ducard was just an alias or was actually once his real name. He was portrayed by Liam Neeson. Neeson reprises the role in the Batman Begins Video Game.
The Dark Knight Rises
In the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises: Ra's al Ghul used his alias as Henri Ducard to work for a tribal warlord in the Middle East. During his time in the desert, Ra's/ Henri fell in love with the warlord's daughter. When the warlord learned of Ducard's involvement with his daughter, he wanted Ducard condemned to a prison known as the Lazarus Pit. Fortunately, the warlord's daughter made an arrangement with her father. She convinced her father that she is to blame for his dishonor and that she should be punished along with her unborn child.
The warlord agreed with his daughter's confession and condemned his daughter to the pit and Ducard was banished from the warlord's province. Ducard learned everything from the Sensei who led the League of Shadows so he could return to the warlord's province and take his revenge on the man who took away his great love. When Henri came back to the province, he found his wayward daughter Talia who had just escaped from the pit. Talia pleaded with her father to rescue her protector Ubu from the pit. Ra's agreed to his daughter's pleas and saved Ubu.
Afterwards, Ra's took his bloody revenge on the warlord and the prisoners who were responsible for the death of his great love. Henri then burnt down the province but not before condemning the warlord's loyal subjects to the pit. As time went by, Henri inducted Ubu into the ranks within the League of Shadows. In the beginning, Ra's respected Ubu for his caring devotion to Talia's well being and became Ubu's surrogate father. However, Ra's saw Ubu's ferocity with great disgust during his training. When he learned that Talia and Ubu had fallen in love, he had Ubu banished from the League. Talia followed Ubu afterwards, vowing never to forgive him, until his untimely death by the Batman during his attack of Gotham City.