The DC universe is going in a radically different direction with the development of the Joaquin Phoenix-fronted standalone Joker movie. The Todd Phillips-directed solo spinoff will shine a never-before-seen light on the classic villain's past, and that means offering up a look at Gotham City that's decidedly different from anything previous DC movies have done before.
Of course, that idea also has us wondering what characters could potentially show up to flesh out the Joker movie's supporting cast. On the heels of the recent Collider report that the film may feature Thomas Wayne in a supporting role, we have put together a list of other Batman characters who could show up as well. On that note, let's dive in with a Gotham criminal whose existence predates the arrival of The Bat or The Clown.
Before Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham City after his years training abroad, a traditional mafia existed in DC's most crime-ridden city. At the head of it all was none other than mob boss Carmine Falcone, who ruled the underworld with an iron fist before The Bat arrived to systematically deconstruct it. We still do not fully know when the Joker solo movie will take place on the overarching DC timeline, but if it's an origin movie then we can reasonably assume that it takes place fairly early within the chronology of the Batman mythos, which means someone like Falcone (or even Salvatore Maroni) could still be around to give some orders to mob thugs.
Fans of Batman Begins will likely recognize the name Arnold Flass, as he's Jim Gordon's corrupt partner in Christopher Nolan's original Batman movie, as well as in the pages of Frank Miller's Year One. A dirty cop who moonlights as an enforcer for the mafia to make some extra money, the comic book version of Flass is a burley ex-soldier with deep connections to the criminal underworld. With all of those qualities (and many more), this makes him an ideal henchman to show up and flex some muscle in a story presumably taking place in the earlier portions of the Batman DC universe timeline.
With the potential of Thomas Wayne to show up and play a prominent role in the events of the upcoming Joker movie, there's also room for other notable members of the Wayne family business to show up as well. With that in mind, one of the most obvious choices of the bunch would be Lucius Fox, Batman's trusted gadget master and a longtime friend of the Wayne family. The character was played dutifully by Morgan Freeman in all three entries of The Dark Knight trilogy, and while those are big shoes to fill for any actor, it's hard to deny that a new live-action version of Lucius would be very exciting for many fans of The Bat.
Many fans probably knew that this one was coming. In the annals of Batman history, few characters have ever received quite as much thorough exploration or examination as Bruce Wayne's trusty ally in the war on crime, James Gordon. The seasoned detective has a long history of battling corruption and criminality in Gotham that even predates Batman's own arrival in the city, so it stands to reason that someone like Jim would potentially be around to investigate the early days of The Joker's presence in the city. Some audiences might be a bit Gordoned out after so many seasons of Gotham on Fox, but the character remains vital to the mythos.
Building off of that last point, another seasoned cop that many fans of Frank Miller's Batman have grown to know and love over the years is none other than Sara Essen, who joined Jim Gordon during the events of Year One and began an affair that would eventually see the end of Gordon's first marriage. Essen has appeared numerous times as a character in the pages of DC Comics over the years, and she has one very notable connection to The Joker that could make her a heartbreaking addition to the ensemble of this particular film: The Clown Prince of Crime murdered her during the events of the No Man's Land story arc.
When it comes to Batman villains, Joker is obviously one of the most prominent and notable entries in The Caped Crusader's rogue gallery, but there are plenty of other iconic baddies who could show up in the Joker origin movie as well. Chief among these is Harvey Dent a.k.a Two-Face, who has a long history as a lawyer in his battles AGAINST Gotham City's criminal element. In many versions of the Batman lore, Harvey's presence in Gotham often predates Joker's arrival, which means it would not be difficult for the movie to show us a proud and handsome District Attorney hellbent on cleaning up the city, not unlike Aaron Eckhart's version of the character in The Dark Knight.
Joker has had a broad range of notable henchmen over the years, but one of the most sympathetic of the bunch is Jonny Frost from the Joker story written by Brian Azzarello and published back in 2008. A naïve, ground-level criminal keen to make his mark on Gotham's underworld, Jonny picks up Joker following The Clown Prince of Crime's release from Arkham Asylum, and he slowly but surely finds himself confronted with horrors that he never would've imagined before getting close to the supervillain. Jonny is one of the most grounded and relatable criminals in the Gotham lore, and he would make a great foil to Joaquin Phoenix's dark and violent descent into madness.
This one arguably seems like a no-brainer, if the rumors are true and Thomas Wayne actually will play a role in the upcoming Joker spinoff movie. Martha Wayne has long maintained a strong role in the history of Gotham City's sociopolitical landscape so it would be fairly easy for the movie to find a way to work her into the narrative if it wants to utilize the Wayne family. Moreover, as many fans of the Flashpoint timeline already know, there's an alternate history in which Martha Wayne becomes The Joker in the wake of Bruce's death in Crime Alley, so giving her a connection to Joker in this film could offer up some solid fan service.
The Court Of Owls
Lastly, we end our list with an ensemble of Batman rogues who have never been featured in a major movie: The Court of Owls. Essentially Gotham City's Illuminati, the secretive organization of criminals and high-society types has spent centuries ruling the crime-ridden metropolis from the shadows, often having a hand in some of its most dastardly happenings. The group is a relatively new addition to the Batman lore, having made its first appearance in the New 52 run of Scott Snyder's Batman comics, and a movie focusing on the origins of one of Gotham's most terrifying criminals could benefit from the deep conspiracy that they bring to that world.