In the New Joker Trailer, a Broken Man Becomes Batman's Greatest Foe

Send in the clowns.
Send in the clowns.
Image: Warner Bros.
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We’ve already had a few glimpses of Todd Phillips’ take on how a man like the Joker could come to existence, even in the already sordid world of Gotham City. But this latest look dives even further into the haunting downfall of Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck.


Warner Bros. just released a brand new trailer for Joker, a movie that is coming way, way sooner than you’d think considering we’ve barely seen any of it!

(Twitter link in case that’s not viewable internationally.)

Set as an origin story entirely separate from any previous cinematic iteration of Batman’s most enduring foe, the movie follows Fleck as the world around him begins to crumble, pushing stresses on the man that apparently lead to his complete undoing—and his rebirth as the cackling, calculated crown prince of crime.

Chance encounters with everyone from Robert De Niro as a mysterious TV host and even the Wayne family itself—with Brett Cullen’s Thomas Wayne glimpsed briefly as he takes a swing at the Joker—see Fleck rise from a man beaten down by the harsh world around him to the seeming catalyst for a clown-mask-clad revolution. It’s...let’s just say there’s a lot going on here.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, and Marc Maron, Joker hits theaters October 4.

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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


The more I see of this movie, the less I see of it really having anything to do with the Joker. The King of Comedy vibe is so strong here — down to the casting of De Niro — that I feel like this trailer could almost be sued for copyright infringement.

I just feel like this is really the wrong approach for this character. I don’t see how we get from these trailers to “gassing the entire city with nerve gas” level of Joker shenanigans. Which means the homicidal violence is going to have to be way more grounded and I feel like that will just hit too real for audiences these days. I mean, we’ve literally already had someone “reach his breaking point,” almost dress up in clown makeup (dyed his hair anyway) and shoot up a movie theater (during a Batman movie, no less). We don’t need that story told in a way that tries to humanize that kind of activity.