The Clown Prince Lives, Laughs, and Kills in First Trailer for ‘Joker’

We’ve seen cinematic Batmans rise and fall, but one thing has remained the same: audiences are always drawn to a good Joker. As the most iconic villain of the Batman franchise, he’s often been given a lot of care and consideration when he appears on screen. Joaquin Phoenix appears to be continuing this tradition in the character’s first solo film, Joker.

In the trailer we see Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a struggling comedian and clown who slowly begins to lose his mind in Gotham City. He goes from sad sap to criminal with ease, and looks like he might be even leading his own revolution. Besides Phoenix, we’ve got Robert De Niro as a talk show host who will play a role in the story, Zazie Beetz as Arthur’s love interest Sophie, Frances Conroy as Arthur’s mother Penny, and Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne, who is running for Mayor in Gotham.

That’s right, the Waynes are going to be in this film, with young Dante Pereira-Olson cast to play the child version of Bruce Wayne. That does mean the whole film takes place before Bruce picks up the cape and cowl. Could this be an alternate version of the story where Bruce’s parents don’t die? Or perhaps this origin story is meant to create a state of chaos that then Batman work to topple, rather than the Nolan version where the Joker was born out of Batman’s existence. The more classic clown make-up is also an interesting, eerie take on the character, like he’s just crossed over the edge into insanity – not to mention the Cesar Romero vibes.

We don’t typically get to know much about The Joker, especially when his history is constantly re-written and thrown into question. What’s even more interesting is that the film is written and directed by Todd Philips, who is best known for comedies like Due Date and War Dogs. Still, if this trailer is to be believed, we’re going to get a very dark, sad, and violent Joker…and I honestly can’t wait to see it. 

Joker will premiere in theaters on October 4, 2019.