A succession of cryptic clips posted online reveal that a new trailer for Joker is set to drop on Wednesday. The DCEU kicked off in 2013 with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. He later returned to direct the two follow-up movies, Batman v Superman and Justice League. Those films also spun-off into a Patty Jenkins-directed solo outing for Wonder Woman, as Warner Bros incorporated more interconnected storytelling. Unfortunately, despite a multiple-movie plan seemingly in place, the studio switched tactics after Snyder stepped away due to a personal tragedy. Joss Whedon was ultimately brought in to oversee the Justice League reshoots, completely reworking the story and offering a vastly different cut of the film for theatrical release.
Since then, and Justice League's underwhelming reception at the box office, Warner Bros. have opted for more standalone adventures for their DC heroes. Though each comes packed with references that place them squarely within the realm of the DCEU, each outing is largely self-contained. The shift in direction (as well as the varying tones) appear to have paid dividends, with Shazam! garnering positive reviews, and Aquaman dominating at the box office in a way not seen since Wonder Woman. The commitment to that trend is set to become even more extreme in the coming months, with a version of The Joker far different from Jared Leto's DCEU iteration set to take center stage. Directed by Todd Phillips, the film will see Joaquin Phoenix underneath the face-paint.
The clips were posted by Phillips on his Instagram. Most are comprised of moments already seen in the film's first trailer - most notably Phoenix's iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime dancing on city steps and running from an apparent crime beneath an overpass. A couple of them feature additional or briefly extended shots. One, however, is entirely new and utterly enigmatic. Seen topless in his dilapidated apartment, Arthur Fleck can be seen climbing into a fridge and closing the door behind him. Unfortunately, as befits the character's initially tragic nature, the door refuses to remain closed. Check out each of the clips below:
Each of the clips is also notable for the quick flashes of imagery that appear on the screen. On the surface, they could be attributed to Arthur's ever-increasing madness. Similar to Tyler Durden's initial blink-and-you'll-miss-them appearances in Fight Club, they could have been briefly encroaching representations of his dark inner thoughts. Thanks to precise pauses and the power of the internet fandom, however, it was revealed that the flashes represent something a lot more significant. When pieced together, the imagery combines to reveal the word "trailer" and unveil a release date. A Twitter user by the name of MAHDi has helpfully already put the pieces of the puzzle together. The full collage can be seen below:
Despite the fact Joker will reportedly take nothing from the comics, fans remain transfixed by everything that's been released so far. The decision to opt for the 1960s, Scorsese-style aesthetic has proven a wise choice, and left fans eager to see what sum the parts amount to. This is in large part due to the enigmatic style of the teasers, only offering a brief taste of the overall story. The sight of Phoenix's Arthur climbing into a fridge is sure to exacerbate that fact. After all, is he hiding from somebody? Is it a misguided attempt at suicide? Fans will potentially know when the trailer drops. And they'll definitely be able to find out what it all means when Joker officially hits theaters in October.