The Batman’s most famous antagonist may be getting his own origin story. Deadline has sources telling it that Todd Phillips, of “War Dogs” and “Hangover” fame, is in talks to direct and co-write an as of yet untitled Joker origin film. Also attached to the film according to Variety are Scott Silver as the other co-writer and Martin Scorsese in a undisclosed role. Sources tell Deadline the plot will be a “gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, [or] Raging Bull”. While Jared Leto is up to reprise his role in “Suicide Squad 2”and a Harley Quinn spinoff, it is believed that this film will recast the Clown Prince of Crime. The recasting calls into question where this film will fall in the DC Cinematic Universe.
Deadline says this film will fall under a new wing of DC’s films that will expand the canon of the DCCU but have different actors play the iconic characters. It appears that DC and Warner Brothers are setting up a place to do anthology like films a la Star Wars that are tangentially related to the main canon but with encapsulated stories and new or recasted characters. Very often in comics certain storylines are put into one shot (single comics not tied to the current run of a comics storyline) graphic novels like “The Killing Joke” and “The Man Who Laughs”, and you have to wonder if that’s what Warner Brothers is doing here.
While this has a chance to be something that Marvel’s smooth running machine is currently lacking, will this unorthodoxed approach at story telling be something that resonates with non-comic book fans? With the success of “Logan” (an adapted version of a one shot called “Old Man Logan”) DC and WB might be onto something with this direction of comic book movies. But they will have to straddle the line with this Joker film as it is often taboo to try and reveal the origins of the Joker.

-Steven Hanson