One of the key questions about Joker is how much is real and how much is fantasy spun out by Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck. In this context, it so far hasn’t been confirmed whether Fleck’s the actual Joker or not, although Phoenix seems to believe this is the case. Director Todd Phillips, meanwhile has so far given some clues as to what’s real or fake in the film, which he expands upon in a featurette from the home release of the picture.
Speaking as part of the behind-the-scenes video titled Joker: Vision & Fury, Phillips is philosophical as to whether Fleck eventually becomes the main Joker in the Batman universe, saying:
“There’s many ways to look at the movie. He might not be Joker. This is just a version of a Joker origin. It’s just the version this guy is telling in this room at a mental institution. I don’t know that he’s the most reliable narrator in the world, you know what I’m saying?”
Phillips is reportedly keen to develop a DC Black series of supervillain origin stories, which might not fit into the DCEU’s main continuity, echoing the DC Black Label line of comic books. And following the success of Joker, new projects featuring the likes of Two-Face and Mr. Freeze are reportedly in development at Warner Bros. To date though, Phillips and Warner Bros. still seem to be committed to a Joker sequel, which would presumably put a clearer perspective on how Fleck develops as the Clown Prince of Crime, or possibly one of several Jokers in Gotham City.
In our opinion, it makes sense for Phillips to consistently throw doubt on the meaning of Joker, in that it just encourages more debate over the picture. Although he’s previously implied he does have a clear idea of the reality in the movie, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll come down on one side or the other any time soon.
Fans wanting to delve into the twisty narrative of Joker can do so on January 7th, when we’ll get a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray home video launch of the picture. What do you think, though? Is Fleck the real Mr. J? And is that even important to what the movie is trying to say? Sound off below with your thoughts.