“You wanna know how I got these scars?”

Someday soon Warner Bros., Todd Phillips, and Martin Scorsese are going to tell that story on the big screen. A Joker Origin film has been rumored for a while now. And just a few days ago it was revealed that Joaquin Phoenix is the front-runner for the role. Still, this is one of those projects that sounds almost too good to be true. While that still might be the case, a rumor suggests that the production has a start-date!

Warner Bros./DC Films’ Joker Origin film will supposedly begin shooting on May 1st of this year. The information comes by way of Jeff Sneider on Twitter.

The document also has some important bits of information about the film. Under logline (a short, one-sentence description of a film) it’s referred to as a “Standalone.” This isn’t a concrete declaration that this film won’t have sequels, but it gives a clear idea of the filmmaker’s intentions. This isn’t one film leading to three others. Hopefully, the team’s first goal is to make a fantastic Joker film. If Phoenix really is starring, as the document suggests, then this is going to be one hell of a ride.

The other significant detail is the description of the story. According to the logline the film “Chronicles the Origin of the Joker Set in Gritty Early 80’s Gotham City.” Interesting choice of timeline. Early 80’s? Is this implying some sort of companionship to Jack Nicholson’s Joker? Tim Burton’s Batman was released in 1989, after all.

While that would be interesting the chances are very low of that happening. Nicholson’s origin is in the 1989 film. Not only that, Gotham City exists outside of normal time and space. If this document is valid, it’s more likely describing an aesthetic choice.

The Streets of Gotham

To create a Superhero/Period piece film is not a new idea. Just look at Captain America and Wonder Woman. But those characters needed to have stories set in different eras. They’re literally taken from another time and placed in the current world. It’s part of their stories. While The Joker is based on old mobsters, no one has ever felt the character to be dated. While Heath Ledger created a whole new interpretation of The Joker, the character has always been a beloved and popular villain.

If the Joker’s origin film is set in the 80’s, it might be to further separate it from current continuity. It’s cool to think that Warner Bros. might be trusting audiences with multiple versions of the same character on the big screen. While many thought Leto under-performed as The Joker, he didn’t get a proper chance to fully flesh out the character. If given the right material he could be a wonderful Joker.

But then again so could Joaquin Phoenix.

If this Production Date is to be believed, fans will get to see Phoenix’s Joker before seeing Leto’s again. If standalone films are the future of DC, hopefully they continue to attract the same level of talent as Joaquin Phoenix and Martin Scorsese.

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About The Author

Daniel Mills
Batman & DC Writer

Daniel Mills is a screenwriter and director working in Los Angeles, California. Far too many comics and Forgotten Realms-novels led him to want to tell stories of his own. From articles and opinion pieces to reviews and screenplays, he sees every new opportunity as another new realm waiting to be explored.

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