In an unexpected move from Warner Bros and DC Films, Martin Scorsese will produce a standalone origin story for The Joker with The Hangover director Todd Philips at the helm.
The surprise announcement also came with a few intriguing details that tease an exciting future for Warner’s DC based films. Perhaps the most interesting prospect is The Joker origins story won’t be connected to the wider DC Universe in any shape way or form. In the age of movie studios all wanting a shared universe, a standalone comic-book adaptation seems almost retro. But wait, there’s more. Jared Leto won’t be back as the Clown Prince, and if the rumours are true, the new movie will be set in the 80s.
I’m not sure if this renewed gusto from Warner Bros is down to the critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman, but I’m onboard with this in a big way. Smaller budgeted standalone character driven stories are what’s missing from comic-book movie adaptations, and this shared universe craze won’t last forever.
The future of Ben Affleck as Batman continues to be a point of contention with rumours swirling around the internet that he wants out of his contract. Affleck recently reaffirmed his commitment and confirmed he would be starring in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, but mere days later his brother, Cassey Affleck, claimed his big brother wasn’t likely to star in Reeves’ film. Further doubt was cast about Batffleck’s future when Matt Reeves announced that The Batman wouldn’t be part of the DCEU.
“Well, I have a vision for a way to do something with that character that feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow out into other things. When they [Warner Bros.] approached me, what they said was ‘look, it’s a standalone, it’s not part of the extended universe.’”
One possibility could be that Affleck plays Batman in the DCEU and a new actor will take on the role for Matt Reeves’ proposed Batman trilogy. While I accept that the notion of two actors playing Batman in two different movies from the same studio at the same time might be a tough sell, it has previously worked in the comic book world so why not give it a bash in the movie world.
Despite being written off as an expensive joke by most of the film industry, Iron Man won audiences over and set in motion the most ambitious franchise ever conceived. The Marvel movies that followed Iron Man were all modestly successful, but it was all leading towards The Avengers, and writer/director Joss Whedon delivered the goods. Ever since The Avengers assembled, every movie studio has been looking to replicate its formula, only none of them were willing to lay the groundwork over many years like Marvel. Warner Bros tried to speed up the process with Batman v Superman, but finally managed to get it right with Wonder Woman.
A big part of what worked for Wonder Woman was the standalone story, sure it tied it a little with BvS with the framing device, but the wartime setting kept the events self-contained. I’m not advocating that shared movie universe should be done away with, but they shouldn’t be the be all and end all of superhero movies.
Speculation aside, the fact The Flash solo movie will adapt the Flashpoint story arc (Barry Allen goes back in time to save his mother and accidentally creates an apocalyptic alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne died as a child), Affleck’s Batman could feasibly be replaced. Whatever the future may hold for Affleck in the DCEU, he’ll be back on the big screen in November uniting the seven in Justice League.