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Warner Bros. is Making a Joker Movie That We Did Not See Coming

It involves Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, a new setting, and not Jared Leto.
Joker Laugh Killing Joke
By  · Published on August 22nd, 2017

It involves Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, a new setting, and not Jared Leto.

It’s hard to know exactly what Warner Bros. is doing with its DC Comics properties these days. At least beyond the Justice League movie that’s currently in post-production. If you check your calendar, it’s an even-numbered day, which means that Ben Affleck is still Batman. On odd-numbered days, his desire to continue in the role is more questionable. (That’s the most accurate predictor, anyway.)

We know from previous announcements that the studio wants to make The Batman with Matt Reeves. And they are planning two movies involving Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad 2 and Gotham City Sirens). They’ve also begun lining up a Joss Whedon-led Batgirl film. The two in the middle will involve the return of Jared Leto’s Joker, who goes wherever Robbie’s Harley Quinn goes. But beyond that, his fate in the larger universe has been a question mark.

Thanks to a report by Jeff Sneider at Tracking Board, we now know that WB/DC is going to eventually be recasting the Crown Prince of Crime and handing his origin story off to The Hangover director Todd Phillips and producer Martin Scorsese. Yes, you read that right.

Per the report, “Phillips will write the script with 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver, and the aim is for The Joker to have the gritty feel of one of Scorsese’s early films, like Taxi Driver. Scorsese’s participation in the project is fluid at the moment, and he’s expected to wait to read a script before deciding the extent of his involvement.”

According to Sneider, this is all part of a Warner Bros. move to create a new, expanded arm for its DC properties, likely under the leadership of Geoff Johns. It seems likely that as Justice League approaches and is released, we should begin to learn more about Warner Bros.’ plans for the universe beyond what Zack Snyder had mapped out. Perhaps there’s a coherent roadmap. Perhaps they’re just throwing a bunch of things at the wall to see what sticks. Needless to say, Martin Scorsese isn’t the kind of name that you just throw at the wall. He always sticks, so if he wants to make a “hard-boiled crime story will be set in the Gotham City of the 1980s” movie about The Joker, he’s gonna make one.

What a wild idea.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)