Ra’s al Ghul was born 700 years ago in a tribe of nomads in one of the Arabian deserts. When Ra’s was young, he became fascinated with science, but due to his nomad tribe, he was unable to study. Ra’s decided to leave his tribe and move to the city where he could study science. He became a physician and then quickly married the love of his life, Sora. Later, Ra’s discovered the secret lair of the Lazarus Pit. When a sadistic prince was dying (Ra’s did not know he was sadistic) Ra's tried to save him by putting him in the Lazarus Pit. When he emerged from the Lazarus Pit , it caused him to go completely insane and the prince would proceed to strangle Sora and killed her in the process.
The King would convict Ra’s for doing something to his son and sentences him to a slow and torturing death in a cage with his wife’s corpse. Ra’s was eventually set free by a son of an old woman; he tries to save the dying woman but was unsuccessful.
Ra’s was devastated with what had happened to him and his wife. He decides to take the son of the old woman and they went to the tribe that Ra’s was born from. At the tribe, Ra’s asked his uncle, who was the leader of the tribe, to help him and guaranteed the fall of the King. His uncle would agree and they began plotting against the King. Ra’s was extremely knowledgeable with germ theory of disease. His knowledge on it was far more advanced then anyone of that time. With that knowledge, Ra’s would contaminate some fabrics and sent it to the prince. The prince became sick and the king would seek Ra’s for a cure. Ra’s denied him and killed both the king and prince. He sends the tribe into the kingdom and they proceed to kill everyone inside it. Right afterward, Ra’s would declare himself the “Demon's Head”. Ra’s also has a daughter named Talia. He met a woman that was mixed Chinese and Arab at Woodstock, after that Talia was born.
Rise of the League of Assassins
Ra’s began to travel the world. Ra’s, his uncle, and that boy were all using the Lazarus Pit s to continue living. While in London, Ra’s catches the boy writing about the Lazarus Pits and about his whole life in their language. Ra’s engages in a fight with him to stop him from writing any more and kills him in the end. Ra’s became weak after the battle and had to get to the Lazarus Pits to help revive him. When he returns to London , he discovers that his uncle had stolen all his historical records. Ra’s continues his journey and eventually becomes a master martial artist, and also became a great fencer. He also gains a mass amount of wealth through time and starts creating organizations to rid the world of crime; his first was called The Demon. The League of Assassins is a branch organization of The Demon.
Ra’s is an eco-terrorist and his purpose with the League of Assassins is to eliminate all evil in the world. He concludes that the only way to do so is to destroy all of humanity and start all over. This gives him run-ins with the superhero community, especially Batman. Ra’s has had many plans over the years that tried to destroy the world. One includes his organization unleashing a virus called Elbola into Gotham City. He had also allied with Bane and also thought of Bane as a possible heir, however, Talia disliked Bane 's brutish criminal personality. Ra’s has also beaten the entire JLA before when he discovered Batman's notes on how to take down every single hero. He is defeated but was able to get Batman kicked out of the JLA.
War with Batman
When Talia began falling in love with Batman , Ra's began to consider Batman as a possible heir for his organization. Ra's decides that he must find out the identity of Batman and was able to deduce only a rich man would be able to buy the equipment Batman uses. He learns that it is Bruce Wayne and was able to locate the Batcave. Ra’s went to the Batcave seeking Batman’s help to save his daughter and Robin who were kidnapped by a mysterious stranger. After Batman realizes that it was all an elaborate plan by Ra’s, Ra’s then proceeds to tell Batman that he passed the test. Ra’s then offers Batman to become the new heir but is denied by Batman stating that his plan is genocide and will not be a part of it. After Batman’s decline to join Ra’s, he made Batman his mortal enemy for life for defending a corrupt world.
While Ra’s was traveling in Russia during the 18th century, Ra’s had another child by the name of Nyssa Raatko. Her mother told her romantic stories about her father and it made Nyssa determined to find her father. She eventually was able to locate his headquarters in North Africa. Ra’s is impressed with everything about her and especially since she was able to locate him, he offers her a high position in his organization which she accepts. Ra’s would reveal the Lazarus Pits to Nyssa , which later she would be able to make the Pits reusable. Eventually, Nyssa began to disagree with Ra’s ideals and decides to leave the organization. Ra’s thought that she would someday return with children to take over his organization, but she declined and Ra’s would disown her. During World War II, Ra’s had allied himself with the Nazis, while Nyssa and her family had been taken into a concentration camp. Ra’s has abandoned her in the camp where she was tortured and her whole family was killed.
After her father abandoned her at the concentration camp, she began plotting against him. Nyssa would later befriend her half-sister, Talia, but actually kidnaps her and brainwashes her. Nyssa planned to assassinate Superman to destroy all hope in the world, but is stopped by Batman. However, Nyssa was able to badly wound her father. As Ra’s laid there dying, he reveals that this was all a part of his plan. Since his daughters both did not like his ideals and what he has done, he showed them that he is correct with his death. It worked since Talia and Nyssa now became the head of The Demons and the league of Assassins. Talia tells Batman that she no longer loves him, and Nyssa finishes Ra’s by stabbing him in the heart. They declared war on Batman, and later Batman would have Ra’s body cremated so he does not return.
Talia takes her son, Damian, to Australia to be told about Ra's' history by his servant White Ghost. However the Ghost attempts to use Damian's body as a host for Ra's' return. This plan was stopped Batman who defeated the Ghost. White Ghost meets his end when he accidentally fell into Lazarus Pit. Ra's' had recently come back to life in a new body. However, his host betrayed him and poisoned himself with radiation, and he needed a new body. He had chosen Damian, but Damian had refused and was going to inform his father of Ra's' return. Ra's is also trying to take back control of the League of Assassins from the Sensei.
He kidnapped Robin and Damian and intends to force Batman into choosing which one will be his new host.
In the end, Ra's al Ghul has no choice but to accept the offer from his son, White Ghost. Ra's is now reborn in a somewhat inferior body. He soon arrives in Gotham and tells Batman he is setting up his base of operations there.
Batman quickly discovers where Ra's al Ghul is. They fight with Batman telling him it is "over forever". In disguise, Batman transfers him to Arkham Asylum under the identity of " Terry Gene Kase". He tells Arkham that he has multiple personality disorder. His files say he's claimed to be Superman, Jesus, and even the "billionaire leader of a cabal of international assassins". He is being kept heavily sedated. It is Batman's hopes that he will rot there for decades.
Recently, Ra's was able to escape Arkham, though the exact specifics remain unknown. Returning to take control as the Demon's Head he steered clear of Gotham , until rumors of the Detective's death reached him after Final Crisis. Using his contacts he began spying on members of the "Bat Family" and superhero community, whose action's validate the rumor's to him. Wanting both to have absolute proof, and also attempting to push Dick Grayson along the same path as Bruce, he sends a group of ninja's to the manor to bring Dick to him.
Not at all to his surprise, Dick manages to defeat all of his henchmen, and after a brief conversation the two reach an accord. Ra's waits for Dick to arrive at his base for their meeting, showing that their are none of his acolytes for over a 25 mile radius, just as Dick failed to bring any of his Superhero cohorts. Ra's confronts Dick about both his choices during the events of his resurrection, and the recent loss of Bruce.
As Dick gets angry and is about to leave, Ra's tosses him one of a pair of blades used by himself and the Detective in a previous duel. He proceeds to duel Dick, both raging about his own feelings on Bruce's loss, and pushing Dick closer towards taking up the mantle of his father, and forging a new Detective. Dick is able to defeat Ra's, to his apparent pleasure, and Ra's offers him the blade used as a keep-sake, explaining their history. When Dick refuses, and tells Ra's to keep it as a reminder that they will cross path's again, Ra's feels his plan is complete. He has one of his minions deliver the sword to the cave, having it waiting for Dick, the new Detective, upon his return.
In addition to Dick, Ra's also makes contact with Tim Drake who is now using the identity of Red Robin as he travels through Europe searching for proof that Bruce is alive and lost in time. Ra's offers Tim the resources of the League of Assassins in his quest, as well as a team of assassins to assist and eliminate any threat to Tim's life and Tim accepts, finding the proof that he's looking for in the Iraq desert. However Ra's has come under attack from a rival organization called the Council of Spiders and his people are being assassinated, and Tim nearly dies in one of these attacks before being brought to a League facility in Istanbul called the Cradle.
Ra's makes Tim the leader of an effort to eliminate the Council of Spiders and Tim complies only to gain access to Ra's database and destroy all of the League's bases across the world, causing Ra's to declare revenge on Tim, vowing to destroy Bruce Wayne's legacy just as Tim has destroyed his own. Now established in Gotham, Ra's phones Tim to tell him that he has sent assassins to kill Dick and Damian, Stephanie Brown, Alfred Pennyworth, Selina Kyle, Oracle, Vicky Vale, Jim Gordon, Lucius Fox and Julie Madison, but Tim has his friends from both the Batman family and Teen Titans to defend all of Ra's targets before confronting Ra's at his Gotham base.
Ra's engages Tim in a brutal duel but Tim reveals he never intended to win the fight, realizing that Ra's secondary goal was to transfer all of Bruce Wayne's financial interests to himself by threatening Hush, and using those funds to restore his League of Assassins. Tim says that all he needed was to buy himself time for Lucius Fox to transfer controlling interest of Wayne Enterprises to Tim as Bruce's named heir and thereby protect Bruce's legacy, since Lucius had suspected Hush's goal was to bankrupt Wayne Enterprises. Calling Tim the 'Detective', a title he has only ever bestowed on Bruce, Ra's kicks Tim out of the penthouse window before retreating to an unknown location where he talks with an unknown woman, stating that Tim surpassed every one of his expectations and that he would 'produce a worthy heir', indicating that he considers Tim the equal of Bruce Wayne.
Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul
During the events of Road Home, Ra's Al Ghul turned out to be the mastermind behind all of the attacks on Vicki Vale's life! From a series of events, Vicki Vale collected information on all of the members of the Bat-Family! What she didn't have was evidence to prove that different citizens (for example Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Barbara Gordon) were different heroes (or used to be heroes) in Gotham City.
When Ra's found out that Vicki was going to expose Batman's identity, he quickly got a team of assassins, mercenaries, and Ninjas to kill Vicki Vale. Ra's didn't want to draw battle with Bruce's friends and family,
Ra's just wanted to protect the kingdom (or legacy) that Bruce Wayne has created over the years. When all of his soldiers failed to kill Vicki Vale, Ra's Al Ghul decided to combat Vicki Vale himself! Insider (Bruce Wayne) jumped in between them and revealed to Vicki Vale that he was Batman (Insider at the time) all along.
Ra's Al Ghul dropped the charges on Vicki Vale's life, and told Bruce Wayne that the next time they meet, they will be enemies.
Powers and Abilities
Ra's al Ghul is a superb fighter. He has had centuries of training and practice, making him nearly a match for Batman himself. Through use of the alchemical Lazarus Pits, al Ghul has been able to prolong his life considerably and can also transfer his soul into other bodies through ancient rituals. Via prolonged use, the Pits have given him enhanced strength and agility as well. In addition, Ra's has a mind naturally inclined towards science and analysis. He was, for example, one of the first human beings to understand germ theory. He is an excellent strategist and tactician. Ra's engineered a test for Batman in their very first encounter by kidnapping Robin; a scheme so elaborate that he went to great lengths to determine if Batman was "worthy" to be considered his heir. Over his centuries of existence, Ra's has amassed an enormous amount of information, resources, and wealth.
Rä's al Ghül is the leader and protector of House of Selene; he is also known as Cat-Man and rumored to have nine lives. Timon Vicar has already killed his eight lives and now he hunts him for his last life. Timon catches up with Rä's in the Temple of Selene. Timon manages to kill Rä's with the cost of his eye. But Goddess Selene chooses another protector, Rä's' daughter Talia , and is gifted with the same feline powers as her father before her.
Live Action Films/Series
In Batman Begins, the film that would reboot the franchise, Ra's al Ghul appears as an amalgamation of Ra's and Henri Ducard. He is at first a mentor to Bruce Wayne, but is later revealed as the primary antagonist. He shares Bruce's desire and want for justice, but is not bothered by the thought of using murder to achieve it. This is the line that Bruce will not cross, which leads to him blowing up the building where he was trained; he also saves Ra's' life in the process. Wayne returns to Gotham and unleashes his alter-ego Batman on the criminals that haunt Gotham's good citizens. Ra's, however, reappears at Bruce's birthday party, and tells him nothing will stop him from destroying Gotham with Scarecrow's fear gas. After he burns Wayne Manor to the ground, he proceeds to the narrows to unleash the fear gas. Batman arrives, and after a fight with his old mentor on a train, Batman leaves Ra's to die in the oncoming collision. Gotham is later restored to normal. Ra's al Ghul is played by Liam Neeson.
The Dark Knight Rises
Neeson briefly reprises his role in The Dark Knight Rises, while Josh Pence portrays a young Ra's in flashbacks. Ra's appears in a hallucination Bruce Wayne experiences after having his back broken by Bane, which leads Batman to mistakenly believe that Bane is Ra's son. Ra's later appears in flashbacks as a young mercenary when it is revealed that his child is actually Talia, who has been posing as a businesswoman named Miranda Tate.
So far, he's only been a behind the scenes character and hadn't made an appearance. He's been referenced by other characters many times though.
Batman: The Animated Series
Ra's al Ghül appeared as recurring villain in Batman: The Animated Series. He first appeared at the end of the episode "Off Balance", where he tasked Talia with killing Vertigo, a rogue former pupil of his who had tried to cause a schism in the Society of Shadows (the show's version of the League of Assassins). He first faced Batman in the two part episode "Demon's Quest", where he attempted to wipe out most of the Earth's population in order to create a greater harmony between man and nature. He subsequently appeared in the episodes "Avatar" and "Showdown", the latter of which featured a battle between Ra's and Jonah Hex during the 1800's. He was voiced by David Warner.
Superman: The Animated Series
Warner would reprise his role in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Demon Reborn".
In Batman Beyond, which is set decades after BTAS, Ra's is initially assumed to have died following an incident known as "The Near Apocalypse of 09", where he nearly destroyed the world. He was revealed to have survived by taking possession of Talia's body, essentially killing her in the process. He attempted to possess the body of the elderly Bruce Wayne, but was stopped by Terry McGinnis, the new Batman. He was killed at the end when his mansion collapsed, marking Ra's final appearance in the DC Animated Universe. Once again, he was voiced by David Warner.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Ra's al Ghül appears in several episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, starting with "Sidekicks Assemble!", an episode featuring the birth of the Teen Titans. He attempts to infect Coast City with mutated plant creatures, but is thwarted by Robin, Aqualad, and Speedy. He returns in "Crisis 22,300 Miles Above Earth!", where he tries to drown the world by flooding the polar icecaps. He is stopped by the Justice League International and the JSA, resulting in his apparent death when he falls of a cliff. He makes a cameo in the series finale, "Mitefall!", alongside nearly every other character that appeared in the show. He was voiced by Peter Woodward.
Batman: Under The Red Hood
Ra's al Ghül plays a major role in Batman: Under The Red Hood, where he is revealed to be responsible for Jason Todd's resurrection (whereas in the comics, he was accidentally resurrected by Superboy Prime). During a failed attempt to destroy the global banking system, Ra's recruited the Joker in order to distract Batman and Robin, ultimately resulting in Todd's death. Feeling guilty over the child's death, Ra's placed his corpse in the Lazaurus Pit, bringing him back to life. He was voiced by Jason Isaacs, best known for his role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.
Ra's al Ghül appears as an antagonist in Young Justice, specifically as a member of the Light, the main antagonists of the series. He makes his debut in the episode "Infiltrator", where he tasks Cheshire, Black Spider, and the Hook with assassinating Serling Roquette, a young scientist. However, his appearance is shadowed, and only his voice is heard. He makes his first real appearance in "Targets", where he orders Cheshire and Sportsmaster to kill Lex Luthor. Though the plan is foiled by Red Arrow and Aqualad, it's later revealed that Ra's and Lex had been working together, and the attempt on Luthor's life was a hoax.
He appears in the second series, Young Justice: Invasion, still as a member of the Light. In the series' penultimate episode, "Summit," Ra's and the other members of the Light meet with the Reach, whom have been working with the group to conquer Earth. Ra's discovers that Artemis has been posing as an assassin named Tigress to infiltrate the group, and the meeting ends with a massive battle between the Light, the Reach, and the Team. During the battle, Ra's is fatally stabbed through the chest by Black Beetle. His corpse is carried off by Ubu, who promises to resurrect him in the Lazarus Pit.
He was voiced by Oded Fehr.
Beware the Batman
Ra's al Ghül will appear in Beware the Batman. He will be voiced by Lance Reddick, one of the stars of Fringe.
Batman Begins: The Video Game
Rä's al Ghül appears as the final boss in Batman Begins: The Video Game.
He also appears in Lego Batman: The Video Game as an unlockable character.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Ra's appears in the sequel, voiced by Steve Blum.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Rä's al Ghül makes a cameo appearance in the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. The Demon's Head is seen as a cadaver in Dr. Penelope Young's office during Batman's travels around the island. As an Easter egg, once the game has been finished, the player can return to Dr. Young's office to find that the corpse is now completely missing and more than likely been taken to be resurrected by the League of Assassins.
Batman: Arkham City
Rä's al Ghül appears in Arkham City as the mastermind behind the events of the game. Batman initially encounters him after pursuing a female member of the League of Assassins who had been held captive by the Penguin. This leads to a duel between Batman and Ra's, which ends with the villain's defeat, though Batman spares his life.
Rä's al Ghül is revealed to have hired Dr. Hugo Strange to kill all the prisoners in Arkham City to test Batman and see if he will be a worthy successor. He subsequently kills Strange after he is defeated by Batman. Ra's himself is later killed after landing on a sharp fence during an attempt to stab Batman while falling through the air. His body is recovered before the player can reach it, leading to the possibility of a return in a later game. He was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.