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You'll love or hate this theory about Todd Phillips’ The Joker

Screenshot: The Joker

While the trailer for Todd Phillips’ The Joker did an effective job of establishing the film’s creepy tone and highlighting Joaquin Phoenix’ bizarre physicality, it also left a lot of questions unanswered. What pushes Arthur Fleck into a life of crime? What’s the deal between him and his mom? And, perhaps most intriguingly, what does he have to do with the young Bruce Wayne glimpsed in the trailer? A new theory from Screen Rant answers each in one fell swoop—the Joker, you see, is Batman’s brother.

On its face, this theory sounds pretty stupid, but there is actually a fair amount of evidence to back it up. Using clues from the film’s casting call descriptions, Screen Rant surmised that Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father) is at the exact right age to have illegitimately fathered Arthur while a young, up-and-coming executive. What’s more, the character description for Fleck’s mother notes that she was “very attractive in her youth, obsessed with her former employer and unable to believe this is what her life has come to.” It’s not so farfetched to believe that that former employer is Wayne Enterprises.

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In the trailer, we see Fleck paying a visit to Arkham Asylum, presumably to see his mother. It’s possible, of course, that the film is just going to establish that mental instability runs in the Fleck family, but the theory posits that Thomas Wayne had Arthur’s mother forcibly committed so the details of their lurid affair wouldn’t become public and sabotage his mayoral run. It’s an interesting theory that lays out some pretty clear reasoning for Arthur Fleck’s transformation into a villainous agent of chaos, but, with a character as mysterious and menacing as the Joker, isn’t the lack of reason kind of the fun part?

Read the full piece here.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.