Despite initially being planned as a one-and-done standalone movie, after Todd Phillips’ Joker earned over a billion dollars at the box office to become the highest-grossing R-rated film in history, as well as receiving widespread critical acclaim and plenty of awards season adulation, you could almost see the dollar signs flashing in the eyes of the executives at Warner Bros.
After their most recent attempt at reinventing the Joker failed miserably, with Jared Leto’s time under the makeup now seemingly over for good, the studio struck gold with Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck in the movie. Which is more than a little ironic because Leto was reportedly very unhappy with their decision to move ahead on a solo Joker project without his involvement.
While various cast and crew members have been playing coy when it comes to a sequel and nothing has been officially confirmed as of yet, there’s little chance that WB are going to let such a lucrative cash-cow go to waste. In fact, everything we’ve heard points to them being intent on establishing a separate line of comic book adaptations that exist independently from the DCEU, with Phoenix’s Joker as the focal point.
Obviously though, there’s only so many Joker stories you can tell without Batman and Phillips has already admitted he’d love to see the Dark Knight in his version of Gotham City. Who will end up playing the Jokerverse’s Caped Crusader remains to be seen, of course, but WGTC has heard from our sources – the same ones who told us that Green Lantern and Justice League Dark shows were coming to HBO Max, and that Kevin Conroy was playing Kingdom Come Batman in “Crisis” – that James Marsden is reportedly one of the names on the shortlist for the role, alongside Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling.
Of course, the 46 year-old doesn’t exactly jump out as an obvious candidate for one of cinema’s most coveted parts, having been more accustomed to playing second fiddle in everything from the X-Men franchise and Superman Returns to Enchanted and Sonic the Hedgehog, and hasn’t really shown a ton of range outside of his established screen persona as the clean-cut, well-meaning supporting character. But maybe an R-rated comic book movie like Joker is just what he needs to give his dark side a chance to shine?
In any case, it’ll probably be a while yet before Warner Bros. makes a decision on who’ll play the role, but in the meantime, tell us, who would you like to see portray Batman in the Jokerverse?