The Joker Spin-Off

If you thought we knew about all of the DC Comics movies that were in the works over the next few years, think again.

Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment are reportedly developing a Batman spin-off that will focus on the origin of The Dark Knight’s nemesis The Joker. While a story looking at the early days of The Joker gives us prequel concerns, it’s the talent involved behind the scenes that is most intriguing. Find out all about The Joker spin-off below.

The news broke while we were recording tomorrow’s episode of /Film Daily. You can hear our first reactions and a discussion of the news at 32:45 in the player above. You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Play, Overcast and all the popular podcast apps (here is the RSS URL if you need it).

Deadline has the exclusive scoop on The Joker spin-off that has The Hangover director Todd Phillips attached to be at the helm of the movie. Furthermore, Phillips will also co-write the movie with 8 Mile screenwriter Scott Silver, and he’ll be producing the movie with none other than cinema legend Martin Scorsese.

The question all DC fans currently have is, “What does this mean for The Joker from Suicide Squad played by Jared Leto?” Well, it turns out that iteration of the villain can remain intact despite the development of this origin story for the character, because this will be completely separate from any big screen version of The Joker we’ve seen before. It won’t have any ties to either Heath Ledger’s take in The Dark Knight or Jack Nicholson’s turn in Tim Burton’s Batman.

Another question fans might have is whether this new version of The Joker will have ties to the DC Extended Universe. Apparently, the plan is for this movie to be part of a new Warner Bros. banner that will expand the canon of various DC Comics properties and have unique storylines and different actors playing these familiar characters. So Jared Leto will keep playing The Joker in a Suicide Squad sequel and the Harley Quinn spin-off currently in the works, and this other version of The Joker – which may be even younger than Leto’s version of the character – will exist elsewhere.

UPDATE: For further clarification, Forbes has said that The Joker origin spin-off will be the first in a series of movies intended to be one-shot, standalone stories featuring characters from DC Comics.

Won’t this be confusing to general audiences? Potentially it could create some confusion, but The Joker spin-off is said to be “a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City,” so the tone and style should be much different from what we’re getting in the DC Extended Universe right now. Hopefully that will be enough to separate it from the rest of the DC movies so far. The hope is to have a movie that feels in line with Martin Scorsese’s films like Taxi Driver or Raging Bull.

Honestly, I’m just flabbergasted with this news. The thought of having Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese working together on an origin story of The Joker sounds crazy enough to work, and if it’s successful, maybe we’ll see more standalone movies just like it that take more risks with DC’s characters rather than trying to ride the coattails of Marvel by trying to create their own cinematic universe in a hurry.

Are you interested in this project at all?

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