One way for a Joker Origin movie to work

Yesterday a Souper Friend asked our thoughts about the planned Joker Origin movie set to star Joaquin Phoenix. He sent us a tweet from The Nerdist containing a link to the news story. I answered with an eyeroll and well…here’s the tweet.

Basically I’m not really hopeful that this movie will be anything that terrific. Though in fairness I will go watch it if it ever comes out because I’m a sucker for seeing comic book movies!

Here’s what we know so far

  • Joaquin Phoenix has officially signed on.
  • It’s reportedly going to be a smaller budget film than most comic book movies, with this article from The Nerdist saying somewhere in the $55 million range.
  • They also report it’s going to be more of a gritty crime drama feel, set back in the 1980’s and it may follow a bit of story from the popular one off title, The Killing Joke.

But then.

Today.

Polygon drops this fantastic article about Joker Origin Stories. Seriously, go read it quick and come right back.

Pretty compelling evidence that should have most of us thinking this movie is doomed to fail, huh? I agree 100% that giving the Joker a concrete backstory will basically break this character. Taking away the fear and madness by giving him a reason to do everything he does. What makes the Joker so terrifying is the fact that we have no idea what motivates him.

Remember the Batman Reboot also being rumored

The important thing to remember is that we are still hearing rumors of the next Batman movie being a total reboot that will not involve Ben Affleck at all. Matt Reeves has even hinted this stand alone Batman movie could be a new trilogy that could begin filming as soon as 2019. Back in June, ComicBook.com had this article that covered some of the speculation around the stand alone Batman film.

It’s also important to remember that I am not a film writer, I have no industry ties. I’m just a fan of comics, movies, and all sorts of geeky stuff, so this is just my theory on how to make this Joker Origin movie work.

They need to take this reported new Batman trilogy and stand it on it’s head. The movies do not center around Batman, rather around his rogues gallery of biggest villains and are told from the perspective of each villain, starting with the Joker. That’s right, make Batman a vital member of a secondary cast. No Batman origin story, no focus on his thought process or struggles as Bruce Wayne.

One way to make this work

We get a movie that claims to be the Joker origin story, but is rather a series of short films all tied together. Each a version of an origin for the Joker but none of them THE actual version. In a similar fashion to how Heath Ledger’s Joker told multiple versions of his back story in The Dark Knight. All plausible, but no idea which, if any, were the truth.

Each of the vignettes of Joker’s origin told in the movie will involve eventual run-in’s with The Caped Crusader and by the end of the film we are brought to present day as Joker is in Arkham Asylum recruiting other villains to form a team to take down The Caped Crusader. The different versions of his origin story are told as he recruits each of the individuals to his team. Movies two and three will be the group escaping Arkham and terrorizing Gotham with an eventual showdown to end the trilogy.

We know they are doomed to fail, with Batman prevailing somehow. But if the whole thing is told from the perspective of the Joker and other villains it could be a fun bit of tension and a twist on a familiar story.

Let us know what you think? How would you make a Joker Origin movie work?

 

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Dave Szweduik

Usually Dave is a co-host of digitalSoup, a photographer, outdoorsman, and all around geek!

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