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    Pre-release 

The ‘Man Who Laughs’ will be the end result of the movie

We gotta keep in mind: This is a ‘Scorsese’ flick. This means macho mobsters, brutality, grey on grey morality for the cops, etc. There probably won’t be a ‘chemical’ origin.

The trailers paint an individual with all the makings of a psychopath, but he isn’t there yet.

First he becomes a proletariat revolutionary, who operates much like a mobster.

Arthur runs afoul with the mobsters benefitting from the status quo and reality ensues. I would rate the Glasgow smile as a very likely addition to Arthur’s appearance at some point. Maybe even a mob hit’s tattoo’d makeup as a mockery of his intial clown disguise. Of course, this casts him right over the dispair event horizon, which drives him towards ‘The Man Who Laughs.’

Beetz’s Quinn is probably going to have her own evolution as ‘girl friend who likes Arthur’s vision’ to insane co-mobster.

Arthur’s mission, and fighting with the other mobsters leads to the deaths of the Wayne parents, sparking Bruce Wayne’s (offscreen) evolution into Batman.

The kid whose mouth Arthur sticks his fingers in is Bruce Wayne
Considering the background, and bars present in the scene, its most likely Bruce standing at the perimeter fence of the Wayne estate. Awwww... a clown paid a visit to cheer him up.

No, the implications are super creepy.

The movie takes place around the 1980’s / early ‘90’s. The Joker is hinted at being a proletariat figure. Considering this is around the same period as the Burton’s Batman, one of the shout outs could be Joker was responsible for the deaths of Wayne’s parents, like he was in that story arc.

If the Joker is forcing Bruce to smile in this scene, its likely his parents are already dead.

It gets exponentially creepier when you consider this Joker’s wildly unhealthy relationship with his mother shown in the same trailer. I think that’s all that needs to be said on this matter.

Either the Joker is there to more or less bully Bruce, or he’s there to corrupt him.

Its terrifying in its own right: Batman in this arc has two likely origins...

  • Born out of the rage against the Joker
  • The evolution of a possible crazy Joker henchman (impressionable kid), into a crazy vigilante (Batman).

In this context, Batman is Bruce’s Joker-like identity, after having ‘one bad day.’

  • The WMG headline is correct, but the circumstances around it are not.

Batman will appear

The Dark Knight could make a short appearance in a manner similar to the Joker comic book by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. But only after a Time Skip, since Bruce is a young boy for the biggest part of the story.

  • Jossed, but his existence has been guaranteed nonetheless due to a clown rioter killing Bruce's parents.

The film will feature a Shout-Out to The Man Who Laughs
Since the film adaptation starring Conrad Veidt was a primary inspiration for the Joker, there will be some kind of reference to the book/film, like someone saying they love the works of Victor Hugo while holding the book, someone pointing out Conrad Veidt in an old movie they are watching, or the name Gwynplaine appearing on a sign or being the name of an establishment visited by Phoenix's character.

Arthur is a Decoy Protagonist
The movie will throw a curveball, revealing that Arthur is not the Joker. After serious setup, we will Time Skip to several years later, where Arthur is found dead by Batman and/or Joker. The message of The Killing Joke will be spelled out here, where either men recognize Arthur as a Serial Killer whose history is well known and more proof of the Joker's "One bad day" philosophy. In the same way as how they do the Joker in Gotham, Arthur is used as an argument for "anybody could become as evil as the Joker if pushed far enough."

  • Jossed. He's definitely the story's protagonist and survives the events of the movie. There is no Time Skip at the end.

Arthur is an Unreliable Narrator, subverting Thomas's Adaptational Villainy
The film is from Arthur's POV, showing how he became The Clown Prince Of Crime. Keeping in line with the comics, his perspective is faulty and skewed. Thomas Wayne is still the Nice Guy he always was, it's just that Arthur, our delusional, and likely lower class protagonist, is biased.
  • In some final confrontation, we'll get a Once More, with Clarity! montage of all the times Arthur had been beaten down by society. The kids who stole his sign and possibly kicked him in the balls didn't actually do anything that bad and it was Arthur who saw the whole thing as a metaphorical Groin Attack. His encounter with the rich guys on the subway was an Imagine Spot where his anxiety over his appearance led to him fantasizing them beating him up and humiliating him. In the end, Arthur will be driven even more mad and truly become the comics Joker we all know and love once he's told "Maybe it was just you, all this time."
    • Semi-confirmed since his interactions with Sophie turned out to be delusions. Much of the film is up to interpretation so it is unclear if Thomas Wayne is depicted accurately.

Arthur will don his clown makeup as a disguise for his later crimes, and will have the makeup fused onto him when he eventually falls into a vat of chemicals like the comics.
Hence, the film could end with Arthur attempting, in vain, to wipe off his disguise, and let out one gigantic laugh in response.

  • Another creepy option, is for his sanity slippage to be gradual, and he progressively tattoos the makeup on his face. Maybe even providing his own Glasgow smile by the end.
  • He is a clown for hire by trade initially, and commits his first crime without premeditation.

There will be a Harley Quinn cameo.
Not in a major role, but as a possible Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • Jossed.

Arthur/Joker will kill Thomas Wayne and his wife, but not Bruce...
Considering Thomas Wayne's Adaptational Villainy, he will do something that spites Arthur, maybe involving Arthur's mother. In revenge, Arthur, either pre- or post-Joker, will kill him and Martha Wayne, just like The Joker's incarnation in the 1989 Batman. Then, he will try to kill Bruce, but being a Tragic Villain, he won'tinadvertently creating his greatest adversary: Batman.

  • Semi-confirmed. The Wayne parents both die, but one of the clown mask crowd that got set ablaze by Joker's murder of Franklin Murray does the deed.

Zazie Beetz will play a version of Harley Quinn.
Maybe not Harleen Quinzel, but still some form of love interest or ally who becomes Joker's harlequin themed assistant.

  • Jossed. She's just his neighbor, and he fancies himself her boyfriend.

The movie will take place in the "real world".
Meaning, there will be no Batman, Justice League, meta-humans, aliens, magical beings, etc. This will be a real life take on Joker. His arch foes will be Gordon and the police. If Batman does appear, he would be grounded like Nolan's Batman.

  • Confirmed, although the Bat-cast has not been expanded beyond the Waynes, Alfred, and Joker himself.

The movie takes place in the real world, and is about a man who is an obsessive fan of, and ends up thinking he is, the Joker

Similar to the above, but to a further degree - there is no Gordon, no Thomas Wayne, there just regular people that this psychopath is forcing to participate in his delusions. If Batman does appear, it will just be another insane person who is playing into the same delusion, and the city becomes besieged by a pair of psychotics, playing out and feeding into each others dangerous delusions.

  • Jossed.

The Joker will die at the end of the movie.
Given that the movie is being described as a cautionary tale, this could further cement Arthur's status as a Tragic Villain, ending on a serious Cry for the Devil note.

  • Jossed. He gets interned at Arkham.

The Framing Device will be...
The Joker telling the story to someone, presumably a staff member at Arkham Asylum. Possible canditates would be Hugo Strange or Harleen Quinzel pre-insanity. Bonus points if they then point out that he's given several contradictory versions of his history after arriving.

  • Semi-confirmed since the film ends with him talking to a psychiatrist at Arkham and we are left uncertain as to how much of the film actually happened.

This will be a stealth prequel to the Dark Knight trilogy

  • Unlikely. TDK Trilogy Thomas Wayne is a Benevolent Boss, Joker's Thomas Wayne is verging on Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Jossed.
  • Technically this could be viable, as the film is meant to be seen as a haze of truth and hallucinations combined. The Joker's status as an Unreliable Narrator helps, and one could also ascribe a touch of the trope to Bruce and Alfred's recollections of Thomas Wayne in the trilogy. Perhaps one could read him as some where in the middle of Benevolent Boss and Corrupt Corporate Executive, depending on who's viewpoint we have.

Jared Leto's Joker is a Loony Fan of Arthur
And became a Jack The Rip Off after Arthur died (maybe he killed Robin and Batman killed him, triggering his violent crusade in Batman v. Superman).

  • Jossed. This is a different universe altogether. Todd Philips made it clear long ago.

Joker is just the Beginning
The film will introduce other characters who are heavily implied to become villains like Arthur, but haven't woken up yet, possibly leaving a Sequel Hook to the origin story of those villains introduced in future films.

Thomas Wayne at the end will be remorseful.
The Joker has been arrested leaving a trail of destruction in his wake, Thomas will feel guilty thinking about that he caused the city’s problems and how it’s treatment of a misunderstood outcast created the greatest threat Gotham has ever faced. He will decide to turn over a new leaf and work hard to make things better in Gotham. With this new attitude in mind,the film will end with him and his wife laughing with Bruce, as they exited the movie theater having seen the new Zorro film....

  • Jossed. He gets killed along with Martha under Bruce's eyes, as usual.

Arthur Fleck will be revealed to be Thomas Wayne's bastard son
Wayne is said to have ties to this version Joker's origin (and is getting a dose of Adaptational Villainy), and Arthur's mom appears to be a single parent without the means to make ends meet. Those two things might be correlated.

  • Ultimately subverted. While Arthur's mom Penny was leading this on to Arthur, when he actually confronts Thomas, Thomas instead points out that Penny did work for him, but she was delusional. When Arthur goes to confirm it, not only is Thomas right, Arthur learns he's adopted. Granted, even with how older Thomas is, the idea of Arthur being his son seems highly suspect given how old Arthur is himself. Granted, the correlation is in that Thomas does indirectly lead to Arthur's last push into being Joker and Joker spurs Joe Chill to kill Thomas Wayne.

This movie is actually a stealth prequel to Titans

  • Jossed.

The 1960s Batman-era Batmobile will make an Easter Egg appearance.
There are rumors that a 60's era Batomobile will appear in the movie (a model of the Adam West version was seen close to where the movie was filming). There will be a scene at a car show or something similar in which this car shows up in the background. It will only be an Easter Egg, however. Batman likely will not show up.
  • Jossed.

The Joker will become a Legacy Character
Arthur will die at some point in the film, but his actions will inspire others to take up his mantle and face off against the future Batman.

  • Jossed.

Joker will kill the rich jerks on the subway
The first trailer shows some rich jerks harassing Arthur on a subway and knocking him to the ground. The trailer then shows Arthur on the subway floor looking enraged and then there's a shot of him running back to his apartment, presumably after this altercation as he is wearing the same costume and has blood on his face. What the trailer doesn't show is Arthur killing the men on the subway in a fit of rage, thus beginning his Start of Darkness.
  • To add to this, this killing might be similar to the Bernhard Goetz situation. Witnesses will report a "guy dressed as a clown" defending himself and Arthur will be seen as a hero, thus inciting copycats. This is where we get the clown protests in the subways and other parts of Gotham seen in the trailer.
  • Confirmed.

Arthur's mother's death will be the 'last straw' that'll spark his final transformation
From the looks of things, his mother seems to be a pillar in his life that keeps him on a vaguely hopeful path, but if she dies due to something with society or no one helping, not much would stop him from sliding down the slipperly slope into The Joker. It'd be a good callback to what was brought up in the Killing joke: sometimes a bad day happens.
  • Jossed hard. He is, in fact, the one who kills her.

  • Adding to that, her death will be caused by a heart attack out of worry from trying to defend Arthur from jerks similar to the ones from the subway, making him blame "society" for taking away the one person he cared the most in his life.

Bruce will die.
Wouldn't that be a twist worthy of the Joker? In all seriousness, though, it would be a good way to distinguish this film as being just about the Joker. And it would be a good breaking point for his parents...

  • Jossed. His parents die, as usual.

Comic book Joker is based off of Arthur.
In this universe, instead of Gwynplaine being an inspiration for Joker, it will be Arthur. Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, and Bob Kane expies will come up with the idea of Joker from watching Arthur on the news. This newly created villain will be an arch nemesis for a comic book super hero called Batman, which will inspire young Bruce to become a mask vigilante.

  • Jossed. The timeline on this doesn't match up, either.

Batman will appear but he's not Bruce Wayne
Or anyone recognizable really. The biggest twist in the movie will be that Batman already exists, but he only appears at the end to help the police apprehend Arthur, with throwaway dialogue from cops talking about how they thought he was just an urban legend. Not only will this firmly establish Joker as an Alternate Continuity, but will also serve as a Perspective Flip. After we have an origin story for the Joker and understand everything about what made him tick, we'll be greeted by a Batman who is as mysterious and as much of The Spook as Heath Ledger's Joker was, with seemingly no point to his existence besides being a background-less agent of order against Arthur's chaos.

  • Jossed.

Thomas Wayne will become Batman, or at least the arch-nemesis to Joker
To expand on the above theory that Bruce Wayne will die, we may get a Flashpoint Paradox type situation in which Thomas Wayne will survive and instead go onto becoming Batman, or at least a vigilante of sorts who will serve as Fleck/Joker's nemesis in the future.

  • Jossed. Thomas and Martha Wayne both die, and their son survives.

Harley Quinn wrote the script
She probably would write something that applied Adaptational Heroism to her “puddin’”.
  • Unlikely that the character would include him possibly murdering his crush, who isn't her, and leave herself out entirely.

Arthur is not Joker, but his son will be
Zazie Beetz's character Sophia Dumond will become pregnant by Arthur. The son will grow up to be the Joker we all know and love.

  • Jossed; Arthur is the Joker. And she may very well be dead.

Sophia will die at the end
She will either die in a car accident (a reference to The Killing Joke), or be killed by a thug.

  • Maybe confirmed? It's hinted that Arthur kills her, but it isn't shown.

The movie is a Show Within a Show biopic within the DC canon.
A filmmaker is cashing in on the Joker's infamy by getting "his side" of the story. Despite the story being 100% false, the movie will be well-received in canon, tug at the heart strings of the gullible public, and earn the Joker sympathy during trials for future crimes.
  • Unlikely, since the film depicts Arthur as delusional and features a blatant tease of Bruce being his future foe.

Arthur will kill Murray on his own show in front of his audience.
He may even throw in a "Who’s laughing now?"
  • Confirmed. But he doesn't say "Who's laughing now?"

Arthur is a middle name
His first name is Benjamin.Ben A. Fleck.

One of Arthur's followers (let's call him Joe Chill) will kill the Waynes on his own
Arthur will lose control of his fanbase (or never control it in the first place), a la Fight Club or Life of Brian, and one of his followers will decide that killing the richest couple in the city is the next step in whatever revolution Arthur is preaching.

  • Confirmed. When his followers go nuts, one of them goes to kill the Waynes.

A dialogue between Murray and Arthur will quote the "You talkin' to me?" scene in Taxi Driver
In particular, Murray will say "You talkin' to me?!" to Arthur.

Arthur Fleck is the original Joker, while the Joker in Suicide Squad (2016) is a follower of his

  • Jossed. Different universe.

Joker will screw with the ending of the movie
So just when it looks like the movie will end, Joker will somehow break the fourth wall (It's not really what he does, but given his nature and what he's capable of, he might as well) and reveal how some of the more sentimental and heartwarming moments involving him ended in violence, all while taking glee in all of the bloodshed and chaos he inflicted. He'll then mock the audience for being so gullible as to fall for his sob story when he reveals that he doesn't even remember how it all started for him and he really doesn't care enough to divulge anything. He then goes on to explain that the whole movie was just a way for him to get the audience to sympathize with him and then kill them afterwards just for the fun of it. Joker then goes on to say how it's a joke that all it takes to sway the masses is a tragic backstory with crocodile tears. Not long after this revelation, he revels with glee that now that the audience is fully invested in him, he'll now be able to kill them however he chooses. He then sprays the audience with Joker gas and as the movie ends, he taunts the audience by saying that Batman won't be able to save them this time and the last thing you hear is his trademark maniacal laugh.

Joker: So now you must be asking yourself, "Why, oh why, did Joker make us sit through two hours of his tragic backstory that never even happened?" Quite simple, really! To make it easier for me to get rid of you lot without any resistance. Why? Cause it's fun, that's why! And all it took was just a sob story complete with crocodile tears and you all fell for it hook, line, and sinker! Aw come on, don't be so blue! Here, how about a nice squirt to the face? That always gets em'! (sprays Joker gas) Whoops! Sorry! Looks like I forgot to change out the flowers this time! All jokes aside, I hope you all had a great time sitting through two hours of tragedy and woe, all for it to end the same for all of you! And before I leave ya, let me say some nice parting words: Shame ol' Bats won't be here to save you. (does his maniacal trademark laugh)

  • Jossed.

    Post-release 
Wayne is Arthur's Father.

He's way, way too specific in his denial to Arthur in the bathroom. All he has to say is that he never slept with Penny and that would be that. And yet he chooses to layer on the entirely separate and irrelevant detail of him being adopted in addition. Why and how in the hell would the owner and Director of a massive international conglomerate like Wayne Enterprises at all be so aware of the private life of a low-level employee (Wayne hardly even knows or cares about much higher-level people in his company, like the finance professionals Arthur killed), unless he had more to do with her than he's letting on? Furthermore the idea that Penny had a narcissist personality disorder flies in the face of the flashback showing she was battered by her 'boyfriend'. A real narcissist would never take physical abuse lying down as she did, so the medical record and the idea she imagined her relationship with Thomas is immediately suspect.

The Joker from this movie isn't the same one from the other movies.

He isn't nearly smart enough. The other, smarter Joker may want people to think they are the same person and so under-estimate his intelligence.

  • Adding to this, it could be that the real Joker is indeed Arthur Fleck; it’s just that the events of the movie turn out to be a story that he made up, and that the only real glimpse we get of the actual Joker is the one we see in Arkham at the end of the film.

The film will get a sequel exploring some other realistic Batman characters in detail
Possibly Harley Quinn, assuming the Margot Robbie version hasn't colored the perception. Alternately, a Deconstruction of Robin could be nice.

Arthur Fleck is just the Joker's inspiration rather than the Joker
  • At some point shortly after the events of the film, the riot Arthur inspired will die down, and the rest of the city's elite will work to improve Gotham's state with increased charitable donations (much like how Alfred mentioned people responding to the Waynes' deaths in Batman Begins). As a result, while Arthur eventually either died in Arkham, was executed, or just became too old to do anything physically active, shortly after Bruce returns to Gotham and goes 'public' as Batman, someone of a similar age will be inspired by the tales of the old riots to take up Arthur's look, but take it to the next level to become the truly twisted, remorseless Joker we all Love to Hate (as opposed to Arthur, who could almost be sympathetic and is shown to have a degree of standards when he spares someone who was never cruel to him).

Several characters and concepts from this film will end up going Canon Immigrant
It's easy to imagine Murray Franklin going back into the comics, or Thomas Wayne being made into a more unsympathetic character.

  • Most likely, "Arthur Fleck" will be mentioned alongside "Jack Napier" as known alias of the Joker.

The kid who Arthur entertained will grow up to be someone important

Gary will become a super villain
When Arthur killed Randall that day, it created another villain...The Penguin. The fear and stress of witnessing a friend's murder caused Gary to go insane and gain a lot of weight.
  • Or, perhaps he will become Gaggy, a midget sidekick Joker had in the comics back in the Sixties. His name even sounds a little like Gaggy. A possible story for him: Gary decided it would be best to join a traveling circus and get away from the madness in Gotham. He was doing well with the circus as a midget clown. He became enamored of a young acrobat named Mary Lloyd. Mary thought of Gary only as a friend and was really in love with another acrobat named John Grayson. On the day Gary decided to confess his feelings to Mary she cut him off with "Oh, Gary, I have the best news! John asked me to marry him! Isn't that wonderful? Hey, are those flowers for your new act or something?" He was invited to the wedding, but instead went to a seedy bar to drown his troubles. A couple of drunks decided it would be fun to pick on the midget. A lanky figure comes over, slaps his hands on the drunks' shoulders and says "Hey, cut it out, guys!" The two drunks wince and touch where the guy slapped them. One asks "What's the big idea sticking me with a nee...." then suddenly breaks down in hysterical laughter, as does the other. They fall to the ground dead with hideous grins on their faces. "I always liked you, Gary." says Arthur. "Buy you a drink?" And an evil friendship is renewed.

This film is in the same universe as Darren Aronofsky's unproduced Batman:Year One Script
The tone and atmosphere of this film goes hand in hand with the script’s. Really, just say that the butler wasn’t Alfred (possibly his father, Jarvis), and it all makes sense.

Sophie's daughter will grow up to be Catwoman.
Before anyone gripes about race, Catwoman has been played by two black actresses and one of them was pretty good. Her last name is Dumond, so she's not Selina or Patience. It would be just right if her first name was Kitt or some variant of Catherine. Say Arthur killed Sophie but spared her daughter in that ambiguous apartment scene. The now homeless child takes to the street, where she finds alley cats more trustworthy than the humans. She steals to survive and becomes an accomplished cat burglar. One night, she runs into a caped crimefighter called Batman and the rest is history.
  • As nice as this sound, I highly doubt Sophie's daughter survived the movie.
    • Why not? As previous scenes have shown, Arthur Wouldn't Hurt a Child, and unlike the rest of of his possible victims, Sophie's daughter never wronged him in any way.
      • Keep in mind, at that point in the movie, Arthur becomes more and more violent, so it's not impossible.
  • The Joker could've just walked out of Sophie's apartment with no further trouble from him only for Sophie to lose her life in the riot that consumed Gotham. Her death would still be tied to Joker that way, while recognizing how she was someone he wouldn't hurt (at least back then).
  • The cinematographer states Sophie survived the film.

The next DC movie to be focused on a villain's origin will be about Lex Luthor.
  • Could be interesting; however Lex Luthor might not be the one. He's generally rich and privileged, making it less tragic. Some better options might be Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Red Hood, Deathstroke, Two-Face, or Mr. Freeze.
    • The film can be based on the version who grew up in Suicide Slum and killed his Abusive Parents to collect the insurance money he needed to start LexCorp.
    • Ah, but Lex Luthor being rich and privileged would work for him as a Contrasting Sequel Protagonist/Contrasting Sequel Antagonist. He can be played sympathetically by taking nods from portrayals such as the Silver Age's Superboy and Lextor (where he becomes a legit hero to a planet, starts a family, only to lose it all in a series of events that significantly include Superman) stories, Smallville, and Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (calling attention to how terrifing Clark is as both an alien and as something mankind can never reach, show him genuinely caring for his sister Lena, seeking to build the future if only through his way).
    • Geez, and also take into consideration that there are interesting Dc Comics supervillains outside of Batman's Rogues Gallery. There are people who could fill up a film easily such as Brainiac, General Zod, Manchester Black, Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Ultrahumanite, Vandal Savage, Parallax, Gorilla Grodd, Maxwell Lord, Giganta, Black Adam, Doctor Light, Circe, ... Also notice that the Joker film really bent the traditional Joker out of shape to do this movie. By this standard, Luthor or any other antagonist could be given an unorthodox background as well to make an interesting standalone film.

The final act was all a delusion.
The police apprehended Arthur on the way to the show, and he ended up in a mental institution. He snaps out of the delusion at the final scene, while in the mental hospital. This delusion was the "joke" he was laughing at. This explains why Franklin let Arthur come on in the makeup and why he didn't immediately stop the show when Arthur admitted to the murders.

The entire movie up to the final scene was all a delusion.
Early in the film, Arthur was revealed to have been previously institutionalized. During the ending scene, Joker isn't being restrained in any way during the psychiatrist's session, including having any sort of guards on the scene. This is odd, considering a person who has been shown to kill without any signs of forewarning would be heavily guarded. Believing he was the reason behind the Waynes' death (despite them being killed by a random mugger in most other canon) fits the same delusions of grandeur he shows throughout the rest of the film. Isn't it even more frighting an origin that one day a ostensibly normal man walks into his therapist's office, thinks up a joke so funny that he starts actually laughing for the first time in his life, and then walks out, completely changed into a monster?

Arthur was never a guest on the Murray show.
In reality, Murray's people never contacted Arthur because he was booed off stage after laughing uncontrollably. Do you really buy the audience cheering for Arthur after being so awkward on stage?
  • So did Murray never die? Or was it a follower who killed Murray in reality?
    • It's possible Arthur sneaked onto the set and shot him while under a delusional state.

The Ratcatcher is behind the Super Rats fiasco.
Arthur isn't Gotham's first super villain. A villain called Ratcatcher is lurking around in the sewer. He is the one behind the Super Rats.
  • I think this is confirmed, actually.

This version of Gotham City is going to be protected by the Rainbow Batman.
Fits with the fact that the Waynes went to watch Zorro, the Gay Blade instead of The Mark of Zorro, as per tradition.

The whole movie was a story made up by the Joker.
It was one of the many stories about his past that the Joker told the doctors at Arkham. He started it out somewhat plausible, with him being a failed comedian and all that—but when he got to the part about him killing the Wayne Enterprise employees, he deliberately threw the story off the rails and spun a blatantly fake yarn about him inspiring a protest movement and killing a man on live television, then insisted that the doctors were crazy for telling him that none of it happened.
  • This is actually supported by a subtle clue: In the "real" version of events, the Waynes went to see "The Mark of Zorro". In the Joker's version of events, they saw "Zorro, the Gay Blade," a parody of Zorro movies.

Thomas Wayne really is Arthur's dad
.We've seen the level of Wretched Hive that Gotham is, and that Thomas Wayne is far more of an asshole here than in normal canon. Given some of the very real shenanigans that the wealthy have pulled in the name of covering up affairs and illegitimate sons in the real world, it's not that much of a stretch that Thomas Wayne used his connections to create a fake paper trail in order to discredit Penny Fleck, so she can't try and force him to financially support her.
  • Plus, how exactly does a mentally ill, lower-class single woman manage to become a prime candidate for adopting someone?
    • Sadly, adoption centers aren't perfect. Even people who obviously shouldn't have children still somehow get to adopt. Same goes for people who are sponsors for foster children. Furthermore, Gotham is a corrupt city during the events of the story, so this shouldn't come off as a shock.
    • If Arthur is adopted to begin with, then we have to consider the film is set in 1981 by which time Arthur is at least some 30 years old. This means he may have been adopted at latest around 1955. Perhaps the requirements to adopt weren't as stringent as today.

Arthur's 'laughing tic' stems from brain damage caused by Wayne's goons
.Building on from the above WMG that the papers supporting Thomas Wayne's claims that Arthur was adopted, this pushes him even further into villain territory: it would be just as plausible that Thomas Wayne had Dirty Cops under his employ beat Arthur after staging a raid on Penny's apartment so he could get her committed to Arkham Asylum and lobotomized, in order to further flesh out his plan and cover up his disgraceful tie to a bastard son with some lowborn "commoner" woman. The story of Arthur being abused by his mother's Bastard Boyfriend was a fake, but the injuries were real.

Joe Chill was hired by one of Thomas Wayne's rival candidates
.He only wore a clown mask to trick investigators. To make matters worse, his employer will win the election.

Arthur Fleck's real name is Jack Napier.
When Penny adopted him, she not only gave him her surname but also changed his prename so people looking for Jack won't find him. The claim that his birth parents abandoned him is a lie.

As an adult, Batman will eventually wonder if the Joker is really his brother.
Alfred will say he should be ashamed of himself for even entertaining that possibility.

Arthur is just the first Joker of the continuity.
Considering that he is explicitly stated to be 40 years old in this film while Bruce is still a child, Arthur may be too elderly to fight against Batman when he finally comes to be. However, then you remember the fact that the Joker inspired an entire cult to cause gigantic riots across Gotham. The story of this Joker could go the way of Legacy Character - lord knows that even some of his followers' children, if they have any at all, will be raised by the clown's anarchistic views. Combined with the fact that the Joker strays significantly from the traditional design (red suit, more extensive clown makeup, Adaptational Dumbass) in this film, it is entirely possible that he will gain successors that will not only be far more cunning as well as extremely dangerous but also have their own unique spin on the look, until it becomes the purple-suited, magnificent Monster Clown everyone knows him as by the time Batman comes around.
  • "The chair said there are three."
  • Let's get nuts: Arthur is the prelude to Ledger's Joker. It's hard to disentangle the events of Joker from Arthur's delusions, but let's say both the Joker riots and Arthur's five minutes of fame happened (though there may not be a direct link between the two). By Batman Begins, most people have moved on to newer problems, but Ledger's Joker looks back to them for inspiration. He even models himself on Arthur Fleck, adopting his lank-haired look and high voice, albeit injected with a great deal of his personal menace. For him, Fleck is the archetypal “bad day”, a reminder of the time Gotham society almost tore itself apart in line with Joker 2's beliefs. While there's a dramatic difference in the depiction of the Waynes' deaths between the two universes, Fleck's delusions of grandeur might suggest his tangential role in those events may have been nothing more than a “joke” he later tells himself as a form of internal revenge on the Waynes. So the version we see in the Nolanverse is the real one. On a meta level, this gives Joker a “sequel” of its own and unites the two most adjacent cinematic versions of the Joker, with a little nod to Gotham's multi-Joker backstory along the way.
    • However, one major inconsistency remains: the death of the Waynes. In Begins, it was Joe Chill, dressed normally and just wanting Thomas' cash. In Joker it is still presumably Chill, though he is one of Joker's rioting followers who just shoots them dead out of an Eat the Rich philosophy. Although, the film is still set Through the Eyes of Madness, and thus you experience the same scene through two different viewpoints. Bruce's recalling of the murders is vivid, to the point - grounded and tragic in execution. Arthur's is set in the apex of the chaos, is much more dramatic and abrupt - slower, even, to give a sense of delirium. It is possible that Arthur miscalled the memory of the murder simply because he wasn't there to witness it firsthand, and thus he thinks that Thomas Wayne died in the midst of his "big night", as opposed to much later.

Arthur didn't kill Sophie
All of Arthur's victims either hurt, wronged, or screwed him over in some way (with the possible exception of the psychiatrist, though Arthur was already an incarcerated psycho at that point). Sophie, on the other hand, is 100% innocent, only engaging in some friendly banter with him in the elevator and, of course, non-violently confronting him in her apartment. At this point of the film, Arthur only killed the three Wall Street guys, people who he felt deserved it, so it would be rather odd for him to suddenly slaughter his imaginary girlfriend whom he only met one other time.
  • Confirmed. Cinematographer Lawrence Asher revealed in an interview with /Film that Todd Phillips told him that Arthur did NOT kill Sophie.

Bruce remembers Arthur as Batman.
Regardless of whether the role of the Joker becomes a Legacy Character, Batman may remember the first Joker as a sweet, if mentally ill, man who tried to make him laugh. Not only was Joker mentally incompetent in the legal sense, Bruce remembers that deep down there was a good man in there before society caused him to become a Monster Clown.

The real reason that Murray invited Arthur on the show.
Now, this is assuming that the events that take place in the film with Arthur showing up on his show are real. It seems odd that Murry would invite Arthur onto his show for bombing at his first comedy gig unless there was something else (the idea of Murry inviting Arthur onto the show to continue to mock him doesn't make sense either, as the audience reaction doesn't really indicate anything about Arthur being a popular enough failure to be brought on). The real reason why Murry invited Arthur to be on the show was to actually talk with him about why he wanted to be a comedian and maybe even offer a chance to learn how to be comedic from either Murry's writing staff (who may have supplied some of his material for the show, which is common for comedic talk show hosts in the 1980s) or maybe from Murry himself (this would explain why Murry seems rather friendly towards Arthur and accommodate his request to be called Joker, because he sees Arthur's potential). However, when Arthur comes out on the show, Murry plays to some of Arthur's quirks, figuring that as a potential comedian that Arthur would get what he was doing and play along (this would explain Murry's joke about Arthur having to look up the knock, knock joke, as well as Murry saying "this is a family show" when Arthur tells a rather dark joke, Murry figuring that Arthur was setting up the potential jokes for laughs). Essentially, Murry was trying to help Arthur, but when Arthur admits the truth about what he's done, Murry realizes too late what kind of person Arthur was. This can serve as both a Tear Jerker and a Hope Spot, because Murry may have been trying to open the door for Arthur to become the comedian he wanted to be and to give Arthur a father figure, only for that dream to be ripped away without Arthur even knowing.

The music in the film is entirely diegetic.
Credit has to go to Now Playing Podcast for suggesting this, but the idea is that all of the music in the movie either comes from radios, TV shows, theatrical/street performance etc or the remainder represents the rush of Arthur's feverish state of mind, including music that he's remembering and e.g. dancing down the stairs to. None of it is a non-diegetic, out of universe film soundtrack.

Penny did have a relationship with Thomas Wayne, but he's not Arthur's father.
The two of them had a thing, but Thomas would face severe backlash for dallying with a lower class woman (not to mention she's not completely sane), so he broke it off. Penny was upset and threatened to expose them if he didn't pay her off. He agreed and even helped her adopt Arthur since he knew she wanted a child. However, Penny signed a non-disclosure agreement as well as something that finalized the severing of their relationship, then blew all her hush money on her assorted vices/medical bills.

Some of Joker's followers and fans later become his henchmen.
One of them is a blonde woman named Harleen Quinzel.

Arthur's relationship with Sophie wasn't imaginary
This is just her way of breaking up with Arthur. She pretends she doesn't know him and changes her apartment number in order to get rid of him. She is aware of his mental illness and delusions. She wants Arthur to THINK it was all a delusion so he'll go away and move on. She was attracted to his quirkiness and abnormal behavior at first, but later lost interest.

  • Jossed. The film makes it pretty obvious that Arthur's interactions with Sophie were hallucinations.

Arthur's father was named "Thomas Wayne", but it wasn't the same Thomas Wayne as in the story.
"Thomas Wayne" isn't exactly an unusual name. It could be that Penny did have a relationship with someone named Thomas Wayne, but later confused him for Bruce's father due to mental illness.

The clown protestors will become an alternate version of the Jokerz
As the years go by, they'll gradually shift into crime and start modeling themselves more closely after their inspiration. By the time Batman shows up, they'll have become a powerful street gang that has long abandoned any pretense about being social reform and has developed a cult-like devotion to Arthur.

The Joker will be the Greater-Scope Villain of this universe.
In contrast to past depictions, Arthur will actually remain in Arkham and rarely or never fight Batman face to face. However, his influence will still be felt in Gotham, even years later, through the horde of imitators he inspired—essentially inventing the concept of costumed supervillainy—some of whom got their start as part of his followers. As the Joker, Arthur will sometimes get involved in the going-ons of Gotham's criminal underworld—but never directly and he relies on a network of intermediaries to get what he wants done, instructing them with messages smuggled out to them from the asylum.

If there is a sequel, someone will turn "You get what you fucking deserve" back on the Joker
Batman, another hero, or a rival villain will do an Ironic Echo like, "Joker, you get what you fucking deserve" before killing or beating up the Joker.
  • Alternatively, it'll reverse the line, with Arthur trying to goad Batman into killing him, only for Batman to reply that it's not what Arthur deserves and says that he wants to help him.
  • Yet another option: When the Joker has a Heel Realization, he will say "I get what I fucking deserve."

The woman on the train whom Arthur had inadvertently rescued is Harleen Quinzel
The woman harassed by the Wall Street Three was inspired to become a clown rioter after Arthur's unintentional rescue, and will be even further roused by Arthur's murder of Murray Franklin, coming to idolise him, or perhaps even feel a little bit sorry for him. After Arthur's murder of his Arkham psychiatrist, she will come in as a replacement and attempt to either help him recover (in turn transforming her into Harley Quinn), or enable him further down his nihilistic path (also transforming her into Harley Quinn).

It wasn't all in his head. Only most of it.
Arthur is schizophrenic. He started having bizarre thoughts after the mental program was cut and he was without meds. He attacked his mother, but called an ambulance and it was ruled an accident. Then he smothered her in the hospital. This was only found in the autopsy, but it wasn't definitive and two detectives were sent to talk with him. He was arrested after he tried to run away and was hit by a car, was found insane at the hospital, and was sent to Arkham.

Costume villains will exist because of Arthur Fleck.
When Arthur shot Murray on live TV dressed as a clown, it inspired other troubled individuals to put on a bright colorful costume and release their frustration onto the world. Arthur was the first to do this. In other words, Fleck unintentionally gave birth to super villains in his universe.

The sequel will take a shot at the Joker Steps meme.
Arthur will find out that his followers have turned the steps into a pilgrimage spot and be annoyed at them for brainlessly imitating him. He'll make his displeasure known by killing one of them and throwing them down the steps.

Alfred Pennyworth is Fleck's father.
That is why he immediately knows what Arthur is trying to say when they meet and how can he be so damn sure that there was nothing between Wayne and Arthur's mother. And why despite his impertinent laughter, Alfred was trying to be kind to him by telling him to avoid making a fool of himself. Arthur's mother just went on pinning for Thomas Wayne not only because of his money but because if she married Alfred she would be Mrs. Penny Pennyworth.

In this version of the story Bruce Wayne doesn't grow up to become Batman.
In the scene were Arthur and Bruce meet, Bruce already seems to be a miserable, lonely boy... contrasting with practically all other versions of the story where Bruce is normal until the murder of his parents darkens his mood forever. This may mean that living in Thomas Wayne's household is already a miserable nightmare to him, what with Thomas implied to be a bastard in this film. So when a rioter kills Thomas and Martha, he relieves Bruce from the living hell his asshole parents were inflicting upon him. Sure, he's traumatized, but since the Waynes already pulled that little number before on Bruce, the murder is not such a game changer that it inspires him to become a nutjob vigilante and it rather arrives as sort of a relief. He thus grows up a much happier, well adjusted man. Besides, this universe is much more realistic than any other DC universe, so becoming a superhero dressed as a flying mammal is out of the question (see for example how this Joker is not particularly charismatic or smart).

This version of Bruce Wayne will grow up to be Batman, but with a twist in terms of methods.
First of all, he will occasionally use a temporary that enhances his strength, speed, durability, and leap and he'll only whenever facing a superhuman opponent. This Super Serum will be created with fictional plants that Wayne Enterprises scientists discover in some foreign country. This Super Serum will serve as a Good Counterpart to Bane's Venom Super-Steroid assuming Bane ever shows up in a sequel. Secondly, he will use lethal force ONLY on evil people as a last resort when literally all other options have failed.

Alternatively, Bruce Wayne will grow up to be Batman, with mostly the same methods as the comics, except he will tolerate lethal force against irredeemable supervillains so long as he's NOT the one using said lethal force against irredeemable supervillains.
By allowing Commissioner Gordon to use lethal force against supervillains. In other words, Gordon is the soldier, while Batman is the peacekeeper.

This film will cross over with the DCEU, and is another dimension of that multiverse
In an adaptation of Batman: Three Jokers, Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix and one other Joker (either Nicholson or someone new) will costar.


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