Joker Solo Movie: 10 Origin Stories It Could Adapt

Want to know how he got those scars?

The Joker Heath Ledger
Warner Bros.

No, it isn't some kind of twisted gag. Batman's arch-nemesis The Joker is actually getting a solo movie and it will be set outside of the mainline DC Extended Universe.

It's all part of the plan at Warner Bros, which is branching its comic adaptations out into multiverse movies free from the restrictions of a shared cinematic world.

Reports suggest the film will be an '80s-set origin story that fleshes out Mister J's madness and descent into clown-faced villainy. The Hangover's Todd Phillips is said to be attached as writer while Martin Scorsese could be producing, and that will hopefully spell a hard-boiled crime story with elements of dark comedy.

From what little there is to go off, the proposed Joker movie sounds promising, although the biggest risk they're running here is stripping the character of his mystery. The villain is at his best when depicted as a dehumanised force of chaos, and giving him a backstory might just compromise that.

Nevertheless, the project presents the opportunity to adapt some of the classic Joker origin tales from the DC Comics vault, and perhaps even one of the more astute fans theories the legendary bad guy has inspired over the years.

10. The Killing Joke

The Joker Heath Ledger
DC Comics

Alan Moore's seminal one-shot The Killing Joke is a strong contender for greatest Batman story never to grace cinema, which is all the more reason to use it as the basis for the Joker's solo outing.

The writer delivered a plausible origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime inspired by the 1928 silent horror film The Man Who Laughs, and it caught on enough to find its way into the mainstream DC universe.

The gritty graphic novel depicts the Joker as an unnamed engineer with a pregnant wife who quits his job to try his hand at stand-up comedy, only to fail miserably because he's about as funny as Adam Sandler's recent Neflix films.

Desperate for cash to support his soon-to-be expanded family, Mister J offers to guide a pair of crooks through a chemical plant where he once worked so they can rob a playing card factory next door, unaware that they were planning to stitch him up.

Somewhere between the death of his wife in a household accident and the two criminals being gunned down by security guards on the job, the plan goes awry, and things hit rock bottom for the future Joker when Batman shows up.

Terrified, he leaps into the chemical plant's waste pound lock to escape, but that comes with the unfortunate side effect of permanent disfigurement, which coupled with the loss of his family, drives him completely round the bend.

What The Killing Joke does best is highlight that The Joker is a dark mirror for Batman. In many ways, they are one and the same - the result of one harrowing day.

This has to be The Joker movie's endgame, to juxtapose him to the Dark Knight, so is there a better story than this to draw influence from?

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