DC movies: Why not just recast the Joker every time?


With reports that the DC films are looking to have a second actor play the Joker, why not just recast him for every single movie?

“If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” It’s an iconic Joker line from an iconic title by the name of Batman: The Killing Joke. And, with the news that apparently Joaquin Phoenix might also play the Joker for a DC movie in the near future, one has to wonder if Warner Bros. and DC shouldn’t just go all-in and have a multiple-choice Joker (as in, let’s not see Jared Leto every time the Joker appears in a movie).

Would it be confusing to casual fans? Yes, probably, However, the way that DC’s movie record has gone lately, at this point playing to the base and letting the Joker be played just a little differently every time we see him would actually make a weird amount of sense. He is famously inconsistent — to the point of that quote naming the trope on TVTropes. While Leto’s Joker goes pretty heavily into the, ahem, edgy side of things, it’s not as though DC hasn’t proven that other Jokers can be successful.

Remember: Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his Joker, and while that Joker was again, more edgy (magic tricks, anyone?), Ledger infused him with a menacing quality.

And, of course, he told different stories about the way he came to have his scars:

Meanwhile, Jack Nicholson’s Joker looked the most clown-like of them all:

And yet they’re both successful iterations of, as Variety reminds us, the Clown Prince of Crime. So why not let actors get a crack at the Joker over and over again? Not only would it differentiate them from Marvel — in the sense that Marvel has locked up actors for up to 10 years at this point — it would also let them test-drive different modes of characterization for the Joker on the big screen.

Variety‘s article even notes that the reason Phoenix even has a shot at the job is because DC wants to try films that aren’t part of its main canon. If that’s the case, then it should stand to reason that it’s time for multiple-choice Jokers.

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Come on, DC. To paraphrase a former Joker … dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. Let other actors put their marks on the most famous villain in your stable. Wouldn’t it be the best joke of all?