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Martin Scorsese Producing ‘The Joker’ Origin Story!

Martin Scorsese Producing ‘The Joker’ Origin Story!

With all the problems behind the scenes of Warner Bros. and DC’s Justice League, it looks as if the studio is finally moving in a new direction and putting their eggs in better baskets.

Deadline breaks the news of the filmmaking superheroes who will be aligning to tell the origin story of The Joker.

The studio has set The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips to co-write a script with 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver. Phillips will direct the movie, and Martin Scorsese will produce it with Phillips. This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.

They’re told that the intention is to make an origin story that isn’t part of any other iteration. The Joker has memorably been part of two Batman movies in the form of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, and was most recently played by Jared Leto in the first Suicide Squad film. He will reprise in the Suicide Squad sequel, they explain, as well as the Harley Quinn spinoff, but this new film will launch the character with a different actor, possibly younger.

The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy. I’m told that Phillips and Silver are writing already, but there is nothing firm on where this will fit into the DC schedule.

Even with high hopes for James Wan’s Aquaman, this will be a breath of fresh air with everything that’s been going on in the Justice League canon.



  • McGilli

    Will there ever be any famous NEW superheroes and villains? Not the ones I grew up with for the last 50 years?

    • Darkknight2149

      To be fair, Marvel and Fox have been bringing many lesser known characters to the big screen (mainly out of necessity, due to movie rights being at different studios). But every once in a blue moon, there are some good new superheroes that aren’t spin-offs of pre-existing characters.

      Probably the best one, that I can think of off the top of my head, is Marvel’s The Runaways. If you haven’t read that comic series, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

    • Fracassi

      Hey, we could always get a “Saga” movie.

      • jurgmandr

        that would honestly work better as a tv show. Y the last man would make a pretty sick trilogy of films though. What I really think we need is an American Vampire film. Easily one of the best horror comics out there besides Severed or Revival.

  • A new “gritty and grounded” origin story.
    Can’t wait.

  • YeerkOnTheBrain

    That kid from Gotham is a hoot to watch.

  • Darkknight2149

    At first I was excited because I thought Scorsese was directing. Now, all I can say is… WHY?! Isn’t the whole point that the Joker’s past is fragmented and he prefers to keep it multiple choice? He has said that he remembers it different every time, and there have been multiple origins in the comic where the reader doesn’t know which is the correct one. Really, the Joker is more interesting without an origin.

    • Daniel Anderson

      Gives me more respect for ledgers joker. “You wanna know how I got these scars?” Stories.

      • Darkknight2149

        And even those changed every time he told them, much like how the Joker’s origin changed whenever he remembered it in the comics.

        God, I miss Heath Ledger’s Joker..

    • Necro

      Got to agree, much like Horror, not everything needs explained! IMO the more mysterious the better.

      • Darkknight2149

        I hope this Joker movie is like Christopher Nolan’s Memento, where the whole story is fragmented and even the audience doesn’t know what definitively happened. This whole thing just kills much of the intrigue of the character.

        In the comics, Joker is literally quoted as saying:
        “What is it with you? What made you what you are? Girlfriend killed by the mob? Brother carved by some mugger? Something like that happened to me. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

  • silverfishimperitrix

    Isn’t this just a movie version of Gotham?

  • Vinnie Vincent’s Dead Dog

    This just sounds like a way to get rid of Jared Leto and his horrible pimp Joker. Which is fine by me because he was fucking terrible.

  • Bart Crowe

    I always liked that no one really knows The Joker’s true origin including The Joker. Hell they work that into The Dark Knight with the whole “Do you know where I got these scars?” line. The Joker just is and giving him a concrete backstory takes away from the character. The Joker’s the antithesis to Batman who’s origin is unchanging and defines who he is and why he does what he does. Joker is at his best when he is an agent of chaos. An origin story that makes Batman responsible for his white skin and green hair gives purpose to The Joker that ruins what makes the character so great.
    Sorry that was a lot of shit to say about The Joker but I was a huge Batman fan as a kid mostly because he had the best villains.

    • Darkknight2149

      Precisely! That’s my major issue with this film. Maybe if this were Martin Scorsese’s vision I would be in, but he’s just producing it. As I have stated elsewhere, my fingers are crossed that this movie is abstract and fragmented (in a similar manner to the film Memento). Then, this could be interesting. Otherwise…

    • Don’t be sorry, it was a great comment!

  • N3kr0

    I’m in… that joker from SC was a disrespect of art both in cinema and comics. The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City

    Nolan created a Joker like a normal gritty and grounded crime drama, We want that again.

    • Vinnie Vincent’s Dead Dog

      Why would we want that again? You can’t top Heath Ledger and his take on this kind of Joker. There are many other kinds of Joker stories to tell. This just seems like a safe option.

      • Creating a Joker with a similar theme and setting doesn’t have to be a Ledger clone, unless they give him scars and run make up, then yeah, but I doubt they’d ever make that mistake.

    • Darkknight2149

      Yes, but the Joker is a character that shouldn’t have a definitive origin. Even the Joker doesn’t know how he came to be, which is intriguing. I really hope this movie is abstract and fragmented, similar to Christopher Nolan’s Momento.

  • Cali-Chainsaw

    Honestly what is the joker without Batman?

  • Alex

    Justice League better be a good movie or else I will have no faith in this shitty movie universe.

  • Cappy Tally

    “This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.”

    I feel like this should be highlighted, because it’s really the bigger news here. WB is going to make a line of DC-based films set outside the continuity of the DCEU, free from the shackles of complex universe building. So worries about Suicide Squad or Jared Leto or Justice League, none of that matters when it comes to these films because they’re not connected to them.

    • Good point.

    • YeerkOnTheBrain

      “Now free from the chains of the DCEU. Travelling the world and doing good.”

  • Edwina Gein
    • Bart Crowe

      Still weird seeing Drew Scanlon formerly of Giant Bomb popping up as a meme.

      • Edwina Gein

        It’s my favorite meme since Zodiac Killer Ted Cruz and I’ll use it at every opportunity

  • DE@DFukk

    Seems like the Punisher would be the best character to do a Scorcese thing with

  • AdamX

    Have you ever had a really…bad…day?

  • zombie84_41

    Hope they make it R and really dark.

    • The Blogger

      This is the ONLY way it should be done.

      • zombie84_41

        I agree. The one and only way.

    • Necro

      Yep! That is if they truly want to tell it accurately.

      • zombie84_41

        Well with the talent we got on this film it should be R. that’s if it even happens. I’m upset with the bad boy films hope they don’t get canned even if they just make one more and call it quits I want at least that.

        • Necro

          Last I heard on them they are “for sure” doing a 4th part and “would like” to do a 5th but Will Smith isn’t sure on the 5th because of scheduling conflicts. Now that was awhile ago so a lot might’ve changed.

          • zombie84_41

            Yeah last I read was a few days ago martian was saying he’s sure it won’t happen the 3rd.

          • Necro

            Well that sucks!

          • zombie84_41

            tell me bout it. Last I heard they were looking for a director cus joe carran dropped out.

  • Big Boss Rogers

    Interesting lots of different ways they can do this! Dark and gritty with a lil mob style can see it fitting in well especially if they add black mask!

  • Lady Bathory

    I really like the MCU and I’m always excited when characters appear in another character’s film after end credit senses. However, I’m glad DC isn’t trying to do the exact same thing. To some extent maybe, like the scene when Diana got a message from Bruce Wayne at the end of Wonder Woman, but it has a more serious, more story driven character than the Marvel crossovers.

    I can imagine a Joker origin story the way he was portrayed in Gotham but I hope they won’t throw everything DC and Batman over board. R rated is a must, though. And as much as I like Harley Quinn (much more than the Joker), please leave her out of that film! Joker’s interactions with Harley are disgusting and abusive and I don’t want to be reminded of them every single time.

  • Dr. Carrion Crow

    Yes, lets Dive into the origins of an enigmatic villain, that’s never backfired before….

    • The Blogger

      The way i read this is supposed to be a stand alone thing. As long as it’s not cannon and they stay true to the character it could be good.

      • Dr. Carrion Crow

        I just hate the idea of talking about Joker’s origin. Let him just be. Don’t tell me how the sausage is made, just serve it up.

        • Darkknight2149

          Yeah, that’s why I’m hoping that this film is non-linear and abstract (similar to how the Joker remembers his past, and how films like Christopher Nolan’s Memento are structured). I hate the idea of giving him a definitive origin.

  • James Allard

    If Scorsese is directing, I will be watching. An evil clown film by the man that gave us The King Of Comedy (one of his most neglected) and Taxi Driver (still carries a gut punch to the most jaded of audiences, me and my kids for a small example)… yes, yes. Will he be the director, though?

    I see producer, not director.

    • Darkknight2149

      I wish he was but, sadly, it’s Todd Phillips directing.

  • I’d be curious to see this but I’m definitely in the “Joker doesn’t need an origin story” camp at the same time. I like how Gotham has ‘sort of’ worked it in with Jerome, but I don’t think there’s any need to go further than that.

  • The chicken man

    No more origins! Leave some mystery in the world.

  • Sky Ferreira

    “The studio has set The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips to co-write a script with 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver.”

    Aaaand….. just like that you lost me.

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