We’ve been following news of Todd Phillips’ upcoming origin story, Joker, for a few reasons. One, antiheroes are a hot commodity these days with Venom recently pulling beaucoup dollars at the box office and the upcoming Spawn reboot brewing at Blumhouse. There’s also a huge crossover between comics fans and horror fans, with Batman being one of the darkest, most complex franchises ever penned.
Then there’s the fact that the production is financed by Francis Ford Coppola who described it as a gritty, hard-boiled affair and the fact that it’s starring Joaquin Phoenix. Still, some aren’t as happy with the prospect of the project, as The Joker, like Michael Myers, is one of those villains who’s most effective when as little as possible is known about him. Giving The Joker an origin story might end up falling as flat as Rob Zombie’s Halloween.
But there’s a new fan theory making the rounds that suggests something kind of mind-boggling: What if Phillips’ movie isn’t really about The Joker—or at least, not The Joker we’ve come to love, the one portrayed by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto? The hypothesis was posed by Adam Holmes on CinemaBlend, and it has to do with the age of Phoenix (44) vs the age of the actor hired to play young Bruce Wayne.
Also cast in Joker are the roles of Bruce’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne, meaning Joker takes place before their murders. This means Bruce is still a tyke. Since I’m not as familiar with Batman history, I’ll let Holmes explain in his own words:
“It’s the Bruce Wayne part of this that’s particularly interesting. His parents are still alive, meaning he’s somewhere between 8-12 years old. Joaquin Phoenix, on the other hand, turned 44 a few weeks ago, so let’s assume that Arthur Fleck is the same age as well. That means Arthur has over 30 years on Bruce, so by the time Bruce ages to adulthood and dons the cape and cowl in two decades, Phoenix’s version of The Joker will be in his mid-60s or pushing 70.”
Holmes goes on to postulate that, whoever Phoenix’s Joker is, he’s merely the inspiration for whoever becomes the actual Joker—kind of how rapper 50 Cent took his moniker from a legendary Bronx drug dealer. Look, I’m not saying it’s a flawless theory, but we’ve heard stranger. Plus, such an angle would still maintain the original Joker of comic book fame’s mysterious, unknown origins.
Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale.
Joker is slated to hit US theaters on October 4th, 1999; in addition to Phoenix, the film stars Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, and Zazie Beetz.
What do you think about the theory that Todd Phillips’ upcoming Joker movie isn’t about the same Joker most recognized from the Batman franchise? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!