Five of the six movies inspired by Marvel or DC Comics characters hitting theaters this year have already come and gone. Captain Marvel, Shazam!, Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix, and Spider-Man: Far From Home have all made their mark on 2019, meaning there's just one main comic movie left to go this year. Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is arriving in October, and there's a good chance it will be the most controversial of the group. Not only is it going to be R-rated, but it also isn't going to be drawing inspiration from any of the comic books, which will certainly get some fans up in arms.
Empire spoke with Phillips about Joker for its latest cover story, and he confirmed that the plot of the film is completely original, and won't pull from any iteration of the Joker that currently exists in the pages of DC Comics.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips said. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
This is definitely a direction that some people won't be happy with, but it does give Phillips and Phoenix the opportunity to tell a story that hasn't been told before, and put their own stamp on the Joker mythology. So don't go in expecting a version of The Killing Joke, but rather something wholly unique.
There's still plenty of reason to be excited for Joker, regardless of its lack of source material. The trailer looks great, and its fueled by what appears to be a stunning performance from Joaquin Phoenix. During the Empire interview, Phillips took a chance to sing the praises of his star.
“I think he’s the greatest actor,” said the director. “We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.’”
Are you looking forward to Joker? Does the lack of comic influences bother you? Let us know in the comments!
Joker arrives in theaters on October 4th.