The Joker, to many DC's greatest ever villain and one of the most enduring cultural icons of the 20th century, is heading to the big screens once again this October. Only, in a different way to how audiences are most used to seeing him.
Todd Philips' upcoming film will detail the birth of the Clown Prince of Crime, this time played by Joaquin Phoenix, and will seemingly forgo typical interpretations to tell a story inspired by the classic Scorsese flicks The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. It won't overlook the source material completely however, with the film's tale of an aspiring comedian turning to crime mirroring the one told in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's seminal yet divisive text, The Killing Joke.
The thing with the Joker though - and this has proven to be a major source of contention for fans regarding the upcoming film - is that his past is meant to be a mystery. He even said it best himself in Moore and Bolland's comic:
"If I'm to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice! Ha ha ha!"
As such, while there has been no shortage of stories that've attempted to relay one possible explanation for the Joker's existence, none are definitive. The Joker's terror is inspired by a lack of motive, rhyme or reason, while the character himself has often been seen as a force against narrativisation.
Be that as it may, if he is to have an origin, then fans are spoiled for choice. Dozens of writers have optioned various origins for the character on and off the page, but how do they all stack up? Here are the most compelling origins of all...