Why Joker Cut A Scene That Would've Cleared Up A Character Mystery

Joaquin Phoenix in 'Joker.'

There are still unanswered questions about the version of Gotham City that we encounter in Joker. Luckily, its filmmakers have given answers to one key mystery surrounding the fate of a beloved character. And the film’s director recently revealed that a single cut scene would have made it clear right from the beginning.

Joker introduces us to a handful of original characters that are purely of director Todd Phillips’ invention. That includes Sophie Dumond, a single mother, and neighbor to Arthur Fleck. At first, it appears that she is dating the increasingly disturbed comedian. So it’s particularly chilling to learn that his relationship with her was a figment of his imagination.

The last we see of Sophie is in her apartment when she asks him to leave. Fans were left wondering whether Arthur dealt with the revelation by murdering her. In October, Joker’s cinematographer Lawrence Sher revealed that Sophie survived the disturbing encounter with Arthur. And recently, Todd Phillips confirmed that she lived, arguing that killing her would have gone against Arthur’s code of conduct.

What’s more, Todd Phillips recently told IndieWire that he originally planned for a scene that would have made Sophie’s fate clear. The Joker script contained a cutaway scene during Murray Franklin’s interview with Arthur that showed Sophie watching the violent encounter unfold on her television. But, according to Todd Phillips, the scene ultimately wouldn’t have made sense for the overall narrative, because Joker is meant to be told entirely from Arthur’s perspective.

The director has remained vague about how many of the events in Joker actually happened, and how much was in Arthur’s mind. But the cast and crew have been open about what the process was like on set, and it’s easy to see how changes to the script could have been made. Both Todd Phillips and Lawrence Sher have shared anecdotes about how some of the movie’s most iconic scenes were the result of Joaquin Phoenix’s improvisation. The film’s makeup artist, Nicki Ledermann, recently revealed that Arthur’s Joker face paint was devised, at least partially, because the film’s star had a hard time sitting still in the makeup chair.

And Zazie Beetz, who brought the weary Sophie to life, also spoke frankly about the unpredictability of life on the Joker set. In an interview with MTV News, the Deadpool 2 actress explained that the filming process was collaborative, to say the least. She said the script was more or less written day-by-day before each scene was filmed. There’s no word as to whether she was privy to Sophie’s ultimate fate, though. Still, fans that have been speculating about Sophie’s fate should at least be relieved to know that she made it out (relatively) unscathed.

Katherine Webb