Batman perhaps has the most prolific rogue’s gallery in all of comic mythology ranging from the earthy and seductive Poison Ivy, the squatty yet manipulative Penguin, the icy and ruthless Mr. Freeze, to the brilliant and powerful Bane, but there has always been one villain who practically grins to go mano-e-mano with the Dark Knight, every chance he can get!
Gotham City’s Clown Prince of Crime, simply known as The Joker, has long established himself as the arch-nemesis and complete antithesis to the Batman. Batman carries himself as the serious figure of order, watching over the streets and citizens of his hometown ready to protect them at a moment’s notice, while the Joker is madness personified with a perverted sense of humor, eager to crack a smile and/or a skull whenever he feels the need to do either. The Bat and the Clown have done battle dozens of times in both live-action and animated features and they have always been paired together. That is, until now!
The Joker is getting his own origin story, directed by Todd Phillips, known for films such as The Hangover and War Dogs and the legendary Martin Scorsese is attached to this project in an unspecified role. In a surprising reveal, this standalone Joker picture will not be a part of DC Extended Universe and Jared Leto, who starred as the Joker in Suicide Squad, will have no involvement in this project.
Sources say the story will take place in the ’80s and have more of the look of a gritty crime drama than comic book movie, which had a lot to do with getting Scorsese’s commitment to the project.
I find this a puzzling move for Warner Bros. and DC because I felt that the Joker was very underutilized in Suicide Squad and I was hopeful that Leto would have an opportunity to flex his acting muscles as the purple-clad clown in a future installment of the DCEU, perhaps in a Suicide Squad sequel or in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Also, it is strange to keep this project isolated from the DCEU since characters in Batman’s canon such as Nightwing and Batgirl are getting their own features but to keep this Joker film separated from this franchise that is appearing to be getting its feet under them is a strange move.
Aside from Haynes and Scorsese, only Scott Silver, who is co-writing a script with Haynes, is attached to this project. No one is currently penciled in to portray the Clown Prince of Crime though, nor is a production schedule or release date confirmed.
Update: A day after this independent Joker movie was announced, a Joker and Harley Quinn movie starring Jared Leto and Margot Robbie was announced.
This film will be a part of the DC Extended Universe and Glenn Ficarra and John Requa the directors of Focus, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, will direct this project. This will be Leto and Robbie’s third stints in the roles of Joker and Harley Quinn, following a planned Suicide Squad sequel.
Also, news regarding Matt Reeves’ The Batman is set outside of the DC Extended Universe, has been debunked by Matt Reeves himself.
Questions still abound regarding what the project will entail for the character. If The Batman is a part of the DCEU, it is likely that Ben Affleck is still attached to the project but with the script being tinkered by Reeves, the status of Joe Mangionello as Deathstroke is still up in the air.