Joker Director Todd Phillips Says He ‘Didn’t Follow Anything’ From The Comics

Joaquin Phoenix in the Joker trailer

It's no secret that superhero movies are everywhere. A genre that used to be a major financial risk has since become commonplace with myriad cinematic universes competing for box office supremacy. DC's live-action universe has had its share of peaks and valleys since Man of Steel, although it seems to have hit its stride with the recent release of Aquaman and Shazam!

Warner Bros. will break new ground with Todd Phillips' Joker, in a blockbuster that is disconnected from the greater shared universe. The upcoming movie will give its title character an origin story, a rare perspective on the Clown Prince of Crime. The Joker is usually known for his anarchy and lack of logical motivation, although Philips recently revealed that his story isn't actually taking much from the comics. As he put it:

We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about. 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.

It really sounds like just about anything could happen in Joker, as Todd Phillips didn't make a by-the-numbers comic book adaptation. In fact, calling it an adaptation might not even be accurate, since he's clearly not utilizing the page for his upcoming psychological drama.

Todd Phillips' comments to Empire will likely elicit a mixed back of reactions from DC fans. Hardcore followers of DC's comic book pages may have some apprehension about Joker, knowing the director isn't going to be utilizing the character's comic book life to inform Joker. Instead, he'll be making a movie about the man who eventually became joker. As such, we shouldn't expect Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck to don the mantle of Red Hood throughout the movie's runtime.

Related: Brian Tyree Henry Says Joker Will Be ‘Very Different’ From Other Versions Of The Character

On the flip side of the argument, Joker has the potential to bring something totally unique to the genre. The highly anticipated movie is unconstrained by the rules of a shared universe. What's more, Todd Phillips crafting a story totally unique to the comics means moviegoers can go into the experience fresh, without being able to predict the plot. And we should expect that mysterious project to be free of fan service, at least according to everything Phillips has said about Joker.

Joaquin Phoenix has some big shoes to fill in playing Joker, considering Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning performance in The Dark Knight. But by focusing more on the man than the villain, Phoenix and Todd Phillips should have the ability to craft something unique to the myriad other version of the character. And there’s an outstanding cast attached to help make it all happen.

All will be revealed when Joker arrives in theaters on October 4, 2019. In the meantime check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.