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If there's one thing that's been made clear about next year's Joker movie, it's that it's deviating significantly from the source material. In fact, aside from the central character, who was originally called Arthur Fleck in this continuity, the only other character from the DC Comics mythology who's been announced to appear in Joker is Bruce Wayne's father, Thomas Wayne. Originally Alec Baldwin was tapped for the role, but he left only a few days after the news was announced. Now Baldwin's replacement has been revealed: Person of Interest's Brett Cullen.
With Alec Baldwin needing to walk away from Joker due to scheduling issues, Comicbook.com reports that Brett Cullen is taking over as Thomas Wayne. Unlike in the comics, where Thomas helped the sick as a physician and used the Wayne family fortune to improve Gotham City before he and his wife Martha were killed, Joker's version of Thomas is reportedly a less friendly figured, described back when Baldwin was playing the character as a "a cheesy and tanned businessman." Whether Thomas is legitimately like this in Joker or this is just how Arthur Fleck viewed the man, don't expect the movie to handle Thomas the same way previous media adaptations have... although perhaps him and Martha being gunned down in an alley is still on the table.
This won't be Brett Cullen's first time appearing in a comic book movie. He previously played Barton Blaze, Johnny Blaze's father in Ghost Rider, and he later made a minor appearance in The Dark Knight Rises as a Congressman. Cullen's other notable cinematic credits include Apollo 13, 42 and The Shallows, and along with recurring as Nathan Ingram on Person of Interest, his TV appearances include Desperate Housewives, The West Wing, Devious Maids, Under the Dome and Narcos.
With Jared Leto handling Clown Prince of Crime duties in the DC Extended Universe, the Joker movie was conceived as a standalone character study with a much lower budget compared to the average comic book blockbuster. Set in the 1980s, the story will take inspiration from The Killing Joke and show how a failed standup comedian became one of Gotham City's most infamous criminal masterminds. Along with Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, the movie's cast includes Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron and Bryan Callen. There's still no word on if Bruce Wayne will make an appearance in Joker, although given the time period and his father's presence, he'd still be a child, and thus many years away from dressing like a bat.
Directed by Todd Phillips, who also co-wrote the script with Scott Silver, Joker will be released in theaters on October 4, 2019, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on how it's coming along.