Warner Bros. is developing a movie about the origin story for The Joker that will not be part of the DC Extended Universe. WB is only a few years into launching the DCEU and has done so to varying levels of success. Financially, the films have been box office hits, while the critical reception had been mixed at best, prior to Wonder Woman's success. The studio has no intentions on stopping the DCEU or its lineup, and has several projects currently in development with release dates staked out till 2020.
But, the DCEU is not enough for the studio. WB is now intent on creating a new banner of the studio that will further explore the DC Comics characters at their disposal in new and interesting ways. To kick this off, an origin story for Batman's most iconic villain is in store.
Deadline is reporting that The Joker will be the first film to come out of this new banner and has already lined up a director, writers, and one mega producer. The Hangover's Todd Phillips will direct the origin film with 8 Mile's Scott Silver co-writing alongside him. They will be backed by none other than Martin Scorsese as a producer, but THR cautions his involvement is still fluid. The film will star a new actor in the role, with this report pointing to a possible 1980s setting.
Moviegoing audiences have already seen three live-action portrayals of Joker, with Jared Leto's being the most recent and controversial, but none have explored the character in this way - especially not with him being the focal point. What makes this film even more intriguing is it not being attached to the DCEU. This will allow the creatives involved to tell truly original and standalone films that take characters in drastically different directions than the main DCEU story, almost like the Red Son Superman movie Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is keen on.
With so many shared universes popping up in Hollywood, this is one way for WB to keep their comic book movie lineup fresh and different. Even though the clamor for a Joker origin story may not be there now, the possibilities that WB would have with this new banner are unlimited. They would have the freedom to tell any story they desired and take a similar approach to their Elseworld comics. The lack of continuity holds the potential for something new, but also creates the chance for confusion.
The question still remains why they would launch this idea with a Joker film that is already being criticized. A Joker origin story is not something many comic fans want to know, and it is an odd move to make with the DCEU finally hitting its stride. It will undoubtedly be confusing for many to see a young Joker film one year and then see Leto reprise the role with a different take in a different universe soon after. Recasting Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and so on for these films would also be surprising, possibly eliminating them from these stories.
Clearly, this announcement raises a lot of questions, but also presents WB and DC's characters with plenty of possibilities. With The Joker just starting to be developed, it may be some time before we start to learn more.
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