There is an infatuation. There is an attraction. There is an obsession. And then there is the Joker. As the Avatar of Insanity and Madness, Joker is a character unique to the pop culture phenomenon. There is absolutely no one that is similar to the Joker in any comic book or non-comic book adaptation. Period. His arch-nemesis is Batman, the world’s most popular superhero. Against Batman’s years of training and unlimited resources, all the Joker has at his disposal is his ingenuity and street-smarts. And he still manages to get under his skin every freaking time. The relationship between the Joker and Batman is held sacred.
The movie ‘The Dark Knight’ tried explaining the Joker and Batman dynamics as “When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object”. They share a special form of enmity found nowhere else in the comic books. But the new Joker movie could completely change the rhetoric between Batman and the Joker if this theory is true. It establishes a layer to that relationship which could completely radicalize the way the Joker’s tryst with the Dark Knight is viewed as. Presenting – Joker Movie Theory – Joaquin Phoenix is the Joker as well as Batman’s Brother!!!
In the movie, Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a down on his luck comedian who is somehow obsessed with the Wayne Family. No one knows why he is so crazy about the richest family in Gotham City. But there is a reason there as well. This theory claims that Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce Wayne, is the father of Arthur Fleck, hence the latter’s infatuation. The theory is this – Arthur Fleck is the illegitimate son of Thomas Wayne and hence, the half-brother of Bruce Wayne aka the Batman.
The trailer for the Joker literally sent chills down everybody’s spines. Joaquin Phoenix looks like he could actually pull off a Heath Ledger (God rest his soul) with his portrayal of the Joker, or maybe even do a better job at it. The trailer shows Arthur deciding to take up arms against the Elite classes of Gotham City, to end the tradition of the rich feeding on the poor. When Mayoral Candidate asks what kind of a man does such heinous things hiding behind a mask, it looks like Thomas Wayne and Arthur Fleck will now become true enemies. But the fact is – they already were. Arthur despises Thomas Wayne because he believes that Thomas abandoned him. The events of the movie if the theory is to be trusted is one man coping with his daddy issues and exacting revenge on his estranged father.
The Joker is not about a guy finally snapping after having the proverbial ‘One Bad Day’. It is about one abandoned child deciding enough is enough and trying to inflict pain on a father that was never around for him and his mother. It is a tale of jealousy, where the Joker tries to turn the life of a young Bruce Wayne, who had everything that anyone could ever ask for handed to him on a platter, into a living hell, just like his childhood was.
Where are Thomas and Bruce Wayne in the movie?
There has been no official confirmation of Bruce Wayne being included in the character list for the Joker movie. The character description for Mr Warner, an unknown character goes something like this:
‘male, Caucasian, 60s, a deeply-tanned, hair dyed so black it was almost blue, highly successful, New York City businessman, rumored to be running for Mayor. He’s a public figure in the city and a symbol of wealth.”
As you can see, the character description is eerily similar to Thomas Wayne of DC Comics. Although Alec Baldwin was originally cast for the role of Bruce Wayne, he had to let go of the role and Brett Cullen had to be cast as the father of Bruce Wayne in the movie. Dante Pereira Olson plays the younger Bruce Wayne in the movie. As you can already see in the trailer, a certain Mayoral candidate is facing increasing protests in Gotham City where the masses are clearly not happy with the elitist attitude of the city’s ruling class.
The trailer showed a mob forming in front of the Wayne Building, where protests were taking place with prop photos from the set revealing placards that read “Blame Wayne” and ”Fascist Wayne is to Blame”. We also see Thomas Wayne being attacked by a group of people wearing Joker masks as Arthur Fleck gracefully gallops away in the subway scene from the trailer. So they are definitely there.
The Thomas Wayne-Joker’s Mother Equation
The trailer shows Arthur’s mother, Penny Fleck, played by Francs Conroy, living with his 40 year old son in a small bedroom apartment. The mother and son are very close and Arthur clearly respects and loves his mother. Penny Fleck’s character description reads:
“very attractive in her youth, obsessed with her former employer and unable to believe this is what her life has come to.”
If you read through the above lines closely, you might get what we are trying to say here. Both Conroy and Cullen, who play Penny Fleck and Thomas Wayne respectively, are in their sixties. Joaquin Phoenix is in his forties. The timeline certainly fits. Penny Fleck was most probably a former employee in Wayne Enterprises, where she fell in love with Thomas Wayne, then just a rich, young and naïve heir to a billion dollar industry and was impregnated with his child. When Wayne Enterprises caught wind of it, they paid Penny a huge amount and silenced her. But stones like these do not stay unturned. When Thomas Wayne would later run for the Mayor, he knew he would have to tie the loose ends.
In order to stop Penny from revealing about his days of adultery, he must have sent her to the Arkham Asylum. Maybe, just maybe, the scene where Arthur visits the Asylum is after his mother Penny is forcibly taken away from him by Thomas Wayne and put in the insanity ward. Stuff like that is more than enough to be considered Arthur Fleck’s ‘One Bad Day’. Maybe that is what turns him into the Joker.
The Joker-Batman Equation
The theory still does provide some concrete evidence as to what the Joker’s intentions truly are. He is not an agent of chaos. He is not here to set fires and watch the world burn. He is just a vengeful spirit that has a score to settle with Bruce Wayne. DC Comics’ The Killing joke is by far the most accurate portrayal of the Joker, his origin story and his true intentions. In The Dark Knight, we see the Joker revealing his mysterious origin tales, sharing two different tales of his scars to different people. The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight only ended up confusing the fans about how the Joker came to be.
The new Joker movie might be trying to solve that problem by establishing the relationship between Bruce Wayne and the Joker as brothers related by blood. This would be a very interesting take on the story of the Joker. Maybe Todd Philips is trying to use a ‘’What If’ take on the Joker Origin storyline. When Arthur lures Bruce Wayne into the fences of Wayne Minor and forces him into grinning, is that where he exacts his final revenge on Thomas Wayne by killing his son and heir to Wayne Enterprises there? Does that mean the world where the Joker movie belongs to may not have a Batman? It is surely something that is unique and would be fun to watch on screen. All good things to those who wait!
The Joker movie releases on the 3rd of October this year. The official film synopsis for the movie reads:
Failed comedian Arthur Fleck encounters violent thugs while wandering the streets of Gotham City dressed as a clown. Disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow dissent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.