by Graham Pierrepoint
When it comes to comic book villains, it really does seem that no one can quite have enough of Batman’s constant nemesis, The Joker. The mysterious slasher-smiled, sharp-suited harlequin of chaos has been around for longer than many of our readers have been alive – and, as such, he has been re-interpreted and re-branded multiple times to varying success. Some may argue that Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the character in 2008’s The Dark Knight was perfect – while others will be keen to consider Jack Nicholson’s take from 1989’s Batman to be more on the money. Beyond this, it seems that we’re due to get not one but two Joker movies in the near future – both under DC’s guidance, but only one will remain part of the DC Cinematic Universe.
Perhaps the most critically interesting project of the two will be a project that will focus on an origin story for the villain – which will see him recast once again. Most interestingly, celebrated Hollywood veteran Martin Scorsese will be on board to produce – his first-ever comic book movie – and it could well be the second comic book movie spin-off focusing solely on a villain (after the forthcoming adaptation of Venom, set to star Tom Hardy).
Just when you thought an entirely new concept would be heading our way, guess what – there’s a second Joker movie on the cards, too! This spin-off will focus on the Jared Leto Joker from Suicide Squad – and will zoom in on the relationship he and Harley Quinn have cultivated over the years. This, of course, means a return for Margot Robbie too – as their maiden movie Suicide Squad still lingers as a poor taste in the mouths of disappointed critics last summer.
With the recent triumph of Wonder Woman at the international box office largely having rejuvenated faith in the DC brand on the big screen – at least for now – it will be interesting to see which lessons have been learned since Squad reached theaters – while it was a huge financial success, it gained little praise – meaning that if a Leto Joker spin-off is really going to work on a critical level, it may need to ditch a fair bit of the pop culture paint-job and to give us some real meat to whatever stories scriptwriters have in mind. Let’s just hold our collective breaths – and wait and see!