It can pretty much be confirmed that Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ is definitely not an adaptation of Alan Moore’s ‘The Killing Joke’. A comic reader confronted Phillips on Instagram, writing:
“maybe you need help picking up a comic book I don’t know if you know this but the Joker doesn’t wear makeup his skin is like that from the acid he fell into he wasn’t a clown before then he was a comedian a failed comedian…”
Phillips responded, saying “yeah. You may wanna skip this one” followed with a crying-from-laughing emoji.
You can find it below, which was shared on Reddit.
In other words, ‘Joker’ isn’t an adaptation of The Joker’s origin from the comics. The part about him falling in acid has been part of his origin almost from the beginning, conveyed in 1951’s ‘Detective Comics’ #168. The stand-up comedian element was added in 1988’s ‘The Killing Joke’ by Moore and artist Brian Bolland, but that story is not considered 100% canon, as the story was told from The Joker’s demented perspective, and it ended with Batman killing The Joker. That depiction was vague, but Moore has confirmed over the years that indeed Batman killed The Joker in his story.
We already knew that ‘Joker’ was going to deviate from the comics, but does Phillips’ snarky reply hint that this film actually has nothing to do with the source material?
Personally, I don’t think filmmakers need to be slavishly devoted to adapting the source material. When it comes to comic book movies, they’re mostly just inspired by the comics anyway. (The Marvel Cinematic Universe is really not that similar to the comics.)
And it’s been officially declared that ‘Joker’ will not connect to any other established DC movies. It’s not as though Phillips is playing havoc with Batman, himself. This is just a side movie about one of his villains. If Phillips wants to take a bunch of liberties, what could go wrong?
‘Joker’ co-stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Shea Whigham, Bryan Callen, Brian Tyree Henry, Frances Conroy, Marc Maron, Glenn Fleshler, and Brett Cullen. It opens on October 4.