Yesterday's announcement that Martin Scorsese was being tapped to produce a "dark and gritty" (yes, this phrase does need to die), Joker origin film, understandably sent fans a fluster. The news that The Hangover's Todd Philips would be handling the film's writing duties and that it also - purportedly - wouldn't be set in the DCEU, didn't help matters either, with the project having already divided opinion before an official announcement could even take place.
It's certainly the most 'out there' announcement to have emerged from Warner Bros. since they embarked on their MCU rivalling franchise, but, the more you dwell on the issue, the more it makes sense. The DCEU has - barring Wonder Woman - been anything put a critical darling. It's made money - that much is true - but the films are yet to resonate in much the same way as Marvel's have, and, box office receipts aside, that's a massive problem.
In that sense, news of a Joker period piece should be encouraging; steps are clearly being taken to right the wrongs of the DCEU's (admittedly short) past but, more importantly, it opens up a whole new area of potential for DC going forward. We've already spoken at length regarding the possibility that Justice League's red skies could fundamentally alter the company's approach to superhero drama, and with reports of an eighties, neo-noir Joker story entering production - sans Jared Leto - it's possible that WB are abandoning the notion of a cinematic universe altogether.
It remains to be seen what influence, if any, the film will have on WB's strategy going forward, but the implications of such a move are fascinating to consider. With red skies aplenty and a Flashpoint on the horizon, the film could be just the trick to galvanise what remains of the DCEU.