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All The Characters Who Know Batman's Secret Identity

The argument could be made that Batman managing to maintain his secret identity for all these years is the least realistic part of his mythos. After all, how hard would it be to figure out Bruce Wayne is Batman? If you're a Gotham detective assigned to sniff him out or a villain trying find his vulnerabilities, you have everything you need to know. You know Wayne's disgustingly rich and lives in a remote mansion. That he watched his parents get murdered when he was only a boy is public knowledge. He's got the means, the opportunity, and the motive. 

It's not a bad argument, but possibly its biggest weakness is that it's based on the assumption that Batman's been able to keep his identity secret, and that's not as true as you may think. Over the years, Batman's secrets have made the rounds. Enemies and allies have figured it out, and in other cases he's admitted it for his own reasons. The facts change from medium to medium — for example, a character from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy might have a counterpart in the comics who remains oblivious — but regardless of whether he's in the funnybooks or in the theaters, enough people know Bruce Wayne is Batman to make you wonder why he even bothers with the mask anymore. 

Whether it's his butler, his cousin, his teammates, or his parents' murderer, here are all the characters who know Batman's secret identity.

His employees

If you're going to run a huge corporation, be one of the world's most well-known superheroes, and use your corporation's resources in your crimefighting escapades, you offer your employees the chance to unmask you if they have the brains and the motivation. 

That's what happens in 2008's The Dark Knight, when the ambitious forensic accountant Reese (Joshua Harto) discovers that Batman's (Christian Bale) car-crushing tumbler comes from Wayne Enterprise's Applied Sciences division. He tries to blackmail Wayne, but Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) convinces him threatening a man who dropkicks ninjas isn't smart. Wayne saves Reese when the accountant's threat to out Wayne on live TV inspires the Joker (Heath Ledger) to put a target on Reese's head. As far as we know Reese keeps the secret to himself after that, but he still knows it.

Lucius Fox's knowledge of Batman's identity in the Dark Knight films is handled with more subtlety. Wayne and Fox speak in riddles with one another, dancing around the name "Batman." It's clear in 2005's Batman Begins that Fox knows Wayne is Batman, but he doesn't want to know specifics. He tells Wayne he'd rather not have to lie for him, but warns him, "Don't think of me as an idiot." His counterpart in the comics, on the other hand, apparently doesn't know about Wayne's "night job."

Of course, Alfred Pennyworth knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, though referring to Wayne and Pennyworth as employer and employee hardly scratches the surface of their relationship. 

His sidekicks

They might not like being called "sidekicks," but whether you refer to them as sidekicks, partners, assistants, whatever — Batman's had a lot of them and they all know his name. 

There are the Robins, who for the most part know Batman's identity out of necessity. This goes for the original Robin — now Nightwing — Dick Grayson, and the second Robin, Jason Todd, who is now the Red Hood. The third Robin, Tim Drake, figures out Batman's real name long before he wears a costume and aids Wayne in his crusade. Carrie Kelly, who becomes Robin in the out-of-continuity classic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, earns Wayne's trust by saving his life. 

The Robins aren't Batman's only partners, either. The young Duke Thomas helps Batman during the Zero Year storyline and eventually becomes his daytime partner the Signal. There's Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl. There's Cassandra Cain, the nearly mute martial arts master who took the title of Batgirl for a time but in more recent years has become known as Orphan. 

Secret identities are of special interest to Stephanie Brown. Currently using the name Spoiler, Brown was also Batgirl for a time and briefly the first in-continuity female Robin. She dates Tim Drake for a while before learning his real name, which Batman reveals to her. After a 2016 storyline featuring villains calling themselves the Victims Syndicate, Spoiler threatens to reveal Batman's identity if he doesn't give up crimefighting, but she eventually relents.

His lovers

If you really want to know Batman's identity, his mask isn't necessarily the part of his outfit you need to get into. 

In the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher films, most of Batman's love interests learn his identity. Alfred (Michael Gough) leads Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) into the Batcave in Batman, Wayne (Michael Keaton) and Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) figure out each other's alter egos when they steal each others' dialogue in Batman Returns, and Wayne (Val Kilmer) gives up his secret to Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) in Batman Forever

Wayne's lover Silver St. Cloud, who first appears in early '90s issues of Batman, is able to figure out her boyfriend's secrets all on her own. Of course, Talia Al Ghul — daughter to Ra's Al Ghul and mother of Wayne's son Damian — knows Wayne's identity before they even meet because of her father's vast resources.

As Joshua Lapin-Bertone explains, the question of exactly when Catwoman first learns Batman's identity has one of the more confusing answers in the comics' long history of confusing answers. DC flip-flopped a couple of times on whether or not Catwoman knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. He reveals his identity to her in 2003's Batman #615, but the New 52 reboot brought with it some Catwoman amnesia. It's established in 2017's Batman #14 they know each others' secret IDs, but exactly how is left a mystery. They almost marry in 2018's Batman #50, but Selina backs out at the last minute.

The League

By the end of 2017's Justice League, all of Batman's (Ben Affleck) teammates know he's Bruce Wayne. In some cases, he willingly reveals who he is before the recruits have even agreed to join.

In the comics, before the New 52 reboot, Batman purposely unmasks to his teammates in order to regain their trust. In the eventful 2000 storyline "Tower of Babel," Batman's teammates learn that for years he's been working on methods and technologies to defeat his fellow Leaguers in case any of them were to unexpectedly become a threat; using his personal knowledge of not just their weaknesses but of their personality quirks as well. Unable to reconcile what he's done, the League votes to expel Batman, but their morale suffers horribly afterward. In 2001's JLA #50, Superman and Batman talk. In order to promote a new era of League transparency, they both agree to reveal their identities to the active League members, which at the time include Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man, the Wally West Flash, and the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. 

With the League, Batman is not quite as guarded as he is with others (others, that is, who aren't girlfriends, partners, employees, etc.). He doesn't make a practice of revealing his identity to his fellow Leaguers in grand gestures – JLA #50 is a unique exception — but he also doesn't shy from letting his teammates know who he is if the necessity arises.

The other Batmen

Alternate realities have become as integral to the DC comic book universe as golden lassos and dogs with red capes. Most Earths of DC's multiverse have their own unique variation on Batman, and — if/when they come into contact with the Batman of DC's prime Earth — know exactly who that world's Batman is. That usually isn't a problem, but it becomes one when those alternate Batmen are as malevolent as any foe our more familiar Batman has ever faced. 

In the 2013 line-wide event Forever Evil, the heroes of Earth encounter Owlman of the nefarious Crime Syndicate. The Syndicate is from an alternate Earth and all its members are evil versions of Justice League members. Owlman is Thomas Wayne Jr., whose brother Bruce was murdered by their butler Alfred when they were just boys. Because of this, Owlman knows exactly who Batman is.

In 2019, Batman fights off alternate Batmen all over the place. In Batman, the back-breaking Bane teams up with the Flashpoint Batman — Thomas Wayne, from a world where Joe Chill murders his son instead of him and his wife. At the same time in the miniseries The Batman Who Laughs, the titular Batman/Joker amalgam who first appears in 2017's Dark Nights: Metal joins forces with yet another reality's Batman — the gun-toting Grim Knight — to murder as many different Bruce Waynes from around the multiverse as they can and corrupt the Bruce Wayne of Earth Prime. 

The bad guys

That old superhero trope tells us that if the hero's enemies knew their real name, none of the hero's friends or loved ones would be safe. If that were the case, you'd think just about everyone Batman ever so much as said "good morning" to would be dead by now. 

Ra's Al Ghul and his daughter Talia know Wayne's secret even before they meet him in 1971's Batman #232 just as their movie counterparts are shown to know them first in Batman Begins and then in 2012's Dark Knight Rises. The latter movie's Bane (Tom Hardy) learns Wayne's identity because of his master Talia (Marion Cotillard), and in the comics he figures it out on his own through sheer observation. In fact, it's in the Batcave where Bane performs his back-breaking attack on Batman. The Riddler (Jim Carrey) of Batman Forever discovers the truth by subjecting Wayne to a mind-reading device. In the comics, Riddler tells Batman he figured out the truth after emerging from a resurrecting Lazarus Pit with "clarity," and gave the information to Tommy Elliot, a.k.a. Hush. The mercenary Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, has it figured out before the New 52 reboot, and a 2018 "Deathstroke Vs. Batman" storyline in Deathstroke reveals he still knows it, as does his mentor Wintergreen. 


While the murders of Bruce Wayne's parents put him on the road to becoming Batman, not everyone blood-related to Bruce died in Crime Alley.

Batman first learns he has a son, Damian, at the end of 2006's Batman #656. Damian's mother, Talia Al Ghul, trains Damian to be an assassin and keeps his existence secret from Wayne. Though she uses him initially as a way to distract Batman, Damian eventually takes on the title of Robin and becomes an integral part of the Batman mythos — remaining as partner to Batman and leading the Teen Titans. 

In 2016's Detective Comics #934, Batman unmasks for his cousin Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, only to learn she's known for a year and a half. She doesn't explain how, saying simply, "We're cousins." Her father, Bruce's uncle Colonel Jacob Kane, also knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and he uses that information when he leads an army he calls the Colony to get rid of Gotham's vigilantes and replace them with his own forces. 


Nothing in all four of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher films indicates the James Gordon of that narrative (Pat Hingle) has any idea Bruce Wayne is Batman. The same goes for JK Simmons' version of the character in 2017's Justice League. While you could argue the Gordon of the Nolan films should have figured it out on his own, he doesn't, though Batman reveals his identity to him just before faking his own death at the end of Dark Knight Rises

Things get trickier in the comics. Before the New 52 reboot, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's prequel story reprinted as the graphic novel Batman: Year One suggests Gordon may have known Batman's identity since the beginning. After Wayne — without his mask or costume — saves Gordon's baby from what would've been a fatal fall, Gordon looks the undisguised Batman in the face but his glasses have fallen off. Gordon says, "You know, I'm practically blind without my glasses." Whether or not Gordon is telling the truth is left to the reader. 

Even if you assume Year One establishes Gordon knows Batman's identity, there's some question as to whether the events of the story survive the New 52 reboot. Throughout the run of Batman which started in 2016, Batman and Catwoman regularly disagree on where they first met — on a boat (The New 52) or on a street (Year One). 

The killer

One of the strangest examples of Batman unmasking is when he revealed his identity to none other than Joe Chill — the man who murdered his parents. 

In the comics, Batman's tragic origin story isn't told until 1948's Batman #47, at which point Batman tracks down his parents' killer. Enraged and wanting to force Chill to confess to his crimes, Wayne throws off his cowl and yells "I know because I am the son of the man you murdered! I am Bruce Wayne!" 

Chill gets away from Wayne and, desperate for help, finds some criminal buddies. When he tells them what he's learned (minus Batman's real name) — that he killed Batman's father and so is responsible for creating the Batman — his buddies are enraged, blaming Chill for every time they've been on the wrong end of Batman's knuckles. They're so angry all three of them shoot him at the same time before he can even spill Batman's identity. Realizing their mistake, they try to get the name out of Chill, but Batman shows up and knocks them all out before the dying crook can continue. Chill dies moments later, taking his secret to the grave.

The rest

There are other characters who know Batman's identity who don't fit under categories like sidekicks, lovers, enemies, or Justice Leaguers. 

Wayne's childhood friend Rachel Dawes, played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins and Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight, learns Batman's identity toward the end of Batman Begins when he repeats back words she said to Wayne earlier in the film: "It's not what I am underneath, but what I do that defines me." Unfortunately Dawes dies without ever revealing Wayne's secret — she's murdered by the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) makes it clear that she knows Wayne is Batman in the mid-credits scene of 2016's Suicide Squad when she tells Wayne he "should stop working nights." Waller's intelligence on Batman is fairly consistent throughout comics, TV, and movies. With the resources at her command, Waller's in a position to know just about anyone's alter ego if she wants to. Luckily for Wayne, she's not the type to spill the beans just for the sake of spilling the beans. To Waller, knowing Batman's real name is priceless information and allows her a unique relationship with the Dark Knight. Whether they're enemies or allies — and they've been both — what Waller knows forces Batman to deal with her at a level of respect he doesn't often afford people without masks, much less government employees.