Apart from Phoenix’s chaotic clown, casting is currently underway for the low-budget segue into a new branch of the DCEU. While fan-favourites like Commissioner Gordon and maybe a pre-Affleck Batman are almost certainly sure to pop up somewhere, who else from the pages of DC should make themselves known in Joker?
Here are 10 Batman characters who should appear in Todd Phillips' Joker movie.
While Joker promises to be an origin story that charts Mr. J’s rise to prominence in Gotham, Phillips could bookend his movie with one of the most gruesome scenes to ever grace a comic book movie. With a reimagined Joker for The New 52, new villain, Dollmaker famously stole the Clown Prince of Crime’s face.
Joker was presumed dead, but reattaching his face with some staples and a belt, began to relieve some of his earlier crimes. What better way to start the movie than the immortal image of Joker’s mangled face as he tells the kidnapped members of the Bat Family how he came to be the way he is?
David Ayer’s maligned Suicide Squad briefly glossed over the history of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and instead focussed on the sexed-up Daddy’s Lil Monster. While Robbie was a highlight of the otherwise pretty average movie, there is much more to the backstory of Doctor Harleen Quinzel.
Although the main branch of the DCEU is still planning a Robbie/Leto movie, one of Hollywood’s leading ladies could play the tormented psychiatrist in her ‘normal’ days at Arkham Asylum -- just imagine a young actress like Evan Rachel Wood or Emma Roberts playing Harley. The key here is to keep Quinzel as sane as possible for as long as possible, after all, the movie isn’t titled, Harley.
As Fox’s Gotham has already told fans, the origins of almost any Batman character is ripe for reimagining. A highlight of the Caped Crusader prequel has been Robin Lord Taylor’s turn as Oswald Cobblepot, aka Penguin.
Although another story about how Cobblepot rose from street thug to underworld overlord may be a little samey, a younger version of Penguin is a must-have addition to Joker. Remembering that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was once rumoured to include Penguin -- with Philip Seymour Hoffman passing on the part -- think what someone like Scorsese could do with the character
But what’s the point in having Cobblepot if one of Gotham’s other rising stars is forced to sit on the sidelines? Joker will undoubtedly be packed with Batman rogues as Phillips tries to juggle the various characters, but Harvey Dent is another villain who would be perfect.
Just like Billy Dee Williams’ tiny role in Batman ‘89 or Aaron Eckhart’s tragic turn in The Dark Knight (see below), Joker could focus on Dent’s DA days rather than a full-blown Two-Face. Instead of making him a bad guy, this would make him an ally to the good guys in an otherwise murky Gotham.
With Dent comes Sal Maroni. Again featured in The Dark Knight to help with Harv’s fall from grace, Joker should hone in on the warring factions of the Gotham City mob. If Joker competes against the likes of Maroni and Carmine Falcone, the movie could serve as an origin story to the whole DC Black/Dark line of movies.
Nolan did a great job of crafting a more realistic version of Gotham with his Godfather-eque power struggle, and with a gangster aficionado like Scorsese at the helm, the Maroni crime dynasty is primed for another live-action outing.
The Flying Graysons
While the timelines might be a little off to feature Robin, that doesn’t mean the Flying Graysons shouldn’t have some form of presence in Joker. Batman fans will remember the family’s demise in the poorly-received Batman Forever, but Joker is an invaluable chance to expand their backstory.
Just as the upcoming Titans will be a darker look at the Grayson’s and what happened to them, the famous acrobats should at least feature as an Easter egg in Phillips’ movie. Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town.
Up there with Uncle Ben, Thomas and Martha Wayne are the two most killed characters in comic book movie history. It just wouldn’t be a Batman prequel without seeing the doomed husband and wife gunned down in Crime Alley.
In a break with tradition, Joker should feature the Wayne’s alive and kicking. Thomas looks like a dead cert for Joker, with a rough synopsis teasing that he could even have a twisted tie to Phoenix’s version of the character. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has already said he would love to play the Wayne patriarch again, so make it happen.
The last adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke may not have done Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel justice, but Joker is another chance to bring at least some of the origin story to life. Although another full retelling of The Killing Joke is unlikely for Joker, Phillips should at least include some of its most iconic moments.
Top of the list for jaw-dropping The Killing Joke scenes is the crippling of Barbara Gordon. Importantly, seeing Babs take one to the spine could neatly set up Christina Hodson’s script for Batgirl after Joss Whedon left the project.
And no, we don’t mean the Jesse Eisenberg iteration of Superman’s greatest foe. Over the years, Joker and Lex Luthor have balanced a troublesome bond of being best friends or worst enemies. Just like Jared Leto’s version of Mr. J is one of the DCEU’s most divisive castings, so is Eisenberg as Luthor.
Phillips is clearly going for an older vibe with Phoenix as the lead, so why not give Lex the same treatment? After years of fan casting, who wouldn’t love to see Bryan Cranston as the Metropolis madman?
The Killing Joke fans will remember the one-shot character of Jeannie -- the woman who a pre-madness Joker fell in love with. One interesting plot of the story was that Jeannie was pregnant and this was what forced Joker into a life of crime.
The comics have already toyed with the idea of the Joker having a kid before thanks to the introduction of Duela Dent. Although the character was revealed to be just another unhinged lunatic who wanted to follow in Joker’s footsteps, Phillips could adapt this storyline to his actual daughter making some sort of appearance in the movie. A post-credit scene where an aged Phoenix Joker walks off into the sunset with his flesh and blood could be one hell of a way to end Joker.