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  • Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na MATPAAAAAT!

  • Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na MATPAAAAAT!

  • MATPAAAAAT!

  • MATPAAAAAAAAAAAT!

  • [Intro Plays]

  • Hello, Internet!

  • Welcome to Film Theory, one of the few series that managed to make a successful crossover

  • from video games to the movies!

  • Suck on that, Prince of Persia!

  • [Air Horn]

  • But seriously, let’s get right into today’s theory because it’s one I’m pretty darn excited about.

  • The new Suicide Squad movie is coming out and none of the trailers have shown Doomsday

  • yet, so overall, I’m fairly optimistic.

  • But what the trailers HAVE shown is one of my all-time favorite comic book villains:

  • The JOKER.

  • Now, the thing I’ve always loved about the guy is the mystery that just follows him everywhere.

  • Who IS he?

  • It’s one of the longest-held questions about the Batman universe, but recently, DC

  • has started to tip their hand a bit...at least in the comics.

  • In Justice League #42, Batman gains access to the Mobius chair, an intergalactic chair

  • that has all the knowledge in the universe.

  • After Batman sits in the chair, he tests it by asking a question only he knows the answer to:

  • Who killed his parents? And the chair gets it right.

  • So with the chair successfully proving that it knows all...or at least saw the opening minutes

  • of practically every Batman ever made, Batman asks the most important question of all.

  • No, not "Who thought the Martha thing was a good idea in Batman V Superman?"

  • Or, “What WAS the deal with the Bat Nipple Suit?” but the question that’s been

  • on everyone’s mind since the earliest days of the comics: "Who is The Joker?"

  • We actually don't get to hear the Mobius Chair's answer, only Batman's stunned reaction.

  • Then, 8 issues and a year later in Justice League #50 we finally learn what the Mobius Chair told Batman.

  • Now, if you thought Game of Thrones has frustrating cliffhangers, then youre gonna love this one:

  • In the issue, Batman reveals that the Mobius Chair told him there were not one, not two,

  • but THREE different Jokers.

  • WHAT?!?!?

  • Way to milk it, DC.

  • And of course, the internet lit up with theories.

  • No Batman character was safe.

  • Alfred? Clearly The Joker.

  • Robin? Also The Joker.

  • Batman himself? Somehow still The Joker.

  • But your guess as to why is just as good as mine. So yeah, that's all well and good,

  • but to me, the coolest part of this reveal wasn’t so much the implications for the

  • comics, but rather the implications for the movies.

  • Because if there are three Jokers in the comics,

  • could there also be three different Jokers in the DC film universe?

  • Now that's not as ridiculous as it sounds.

  • Just look to the man behind it all: Geoff Johns.

  • He’s a legendary comic writer and wrote Justice League #42 and #50.

  • The issues dealing with this Mobius Chair.

  • He's the man responsible for DC Rebirth and recently it was announced that he

  • would be co-running DC Films.

  • He’s literally the man whose job it is to translate the universe of the comics onto the screen.

  • So if someone, ANYONE, is going to adhere to this MONUMENTAL reveal from the comics,

  • it’s going to be him.

  • And looking at the Batmans that are already in the movies, surprisingly, the theory holds.

  • Up to this point, there have only been three live-action interpretations of The Joker.

  • In the 1966 Batman: The Movie, The Joker was played by Cesar Romero; then in the 1989 Tim

  • Burton Batman, The Joker was reinvented by Jack Nicholson; and, of course, in the 2008

  • Chris Nolan sequel The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger reinterpreted him yet again.

  • Sure, there have been animated versions of the character as well, but in terms of just

  • live-action, it's a perfect fit.

  • But those are the Jokers of the past!

  • We now have the inclusion of Suicide Squad, and it’s new Joker played by Jared Leto.

  • That makes four different live action Jokers - so what gives?

  • Well what if it turned out that Jared Leto wasn’t a new Joker, but was instead picking

  • up the baton from one of the Jokers weve already seen in the past.

  • It’d be huge deal for the cinematic DC Universe,but it begs the question, which one would he be?

  • And is there even any proof that this assertion is even worth testing?

  • Well to find out for sure, well need to know a little more about the other three Jokers

  • and see how the Batman comic and movies collide.

  • The history of comics can be divided into four distinct periods: The Golden Age of 1938-1950,

  • The Silver Age of 1956-1970,

  • The Bronze Age of 1970-1985,

  • and The Modern Age of 1985-Today.

  • And comics changed a whole bunch across those different ages - and along with them,

  • portrayals of The Joker.

  • The Golden Age was when the first super-hero comics like Superman, Batman,

  • and Wonder Woman were first being published.

  • They became really popular right after the Great Depression and during World War II,

  • at a time when the U.S. really needed larger-than-life heroes,

  • and as a result, feature patriotic heroes doing battle against,

  • uhh, let's just say "foreign" looking foes.

  • It was during this age that The Joker made his first appearance in the 1940 Batman #1.

  • This first Joker was a deranged serial killer with a sadistic sense of humor.

  • In the first issue, Joker announces on the radio his plans to steal a diamond and murder

  • a guy, then he just DOES IT. Just...goes and does it.

  • In Batman's first twelve issues, he kills dozens of people and does some pretty sick

  • stuff, like burn smiles onto all his victims faces and make masks out of peoplesskin.

  • PeoplesSKIN.

  • Is this the comics or Silence of the Lambs? Jeez.

  • The Golden Age of Comics wasn't just superhero stories though.

  • There were actually all kinds of comics: horror, crime, westerns, romance.

  • And they weren’t just for kids either, a lot of them had themes were pretty darn adult.

  • In the middle of the 1950s anti-communist paranoia though, Fredric Wertham released

  • "The Seduction of the Innocent" where he blamed comic books for all "juvenile delinquency".

  • Hmm, sound familiar at all? So obviously, as people began to get more sensitive,

  • there became an increased call to tone down the violence in these books.

  • However, instead of waiting for the government to censor them,

  • comic book publishers censored themselves.

  • In 1954, The Comics Code Authority was formed to review and approve comics...by their own rules.

  • Rules like: In comics, "Crimes shall never be presented to create sympathy for the criminal",

  • "Romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.",

  • and "All scenes of horror, bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes...shall not be permitted."

  • as well as 37 other rules.

  • With these changes began the Silver Age of Comics.

  • The Silver Age, often referred to as the "Age of Innocence", was all about fantasy and optimism.

  • Since crime and horror were heavily regulated, superheroes started battling monsters and

  • aliens instead of people.

  • The grittiness of The Golden Age was gone and replaced with campy humor.

  • And the Joker was no exception.

  • In the 1950s and 60’s, the Joker went from being a mass murderer to being just a prankster.

  • He was like a tamer version of Roman Atwood!

  • All the Joker wanted during the Silver Age was cash.

  • In fact, in a 1952 issue, "Joker's Millions", The Joker inherits a massive fortune and just

  • retires from crime altogether! Peace out, guys, I'm done!

  • Until of course it turns out his whole fortune is counterfeit.

  • Ugh, I hate when that happens!

  • The Joker here never kills or even harms anyone.

  • It’s like Looney Tunes with Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny,

  • where he basically just gets out-pranked by Batman.

  • This is also where he got all his gadgets: hand buzzer, spitting flower, trick guns and

  • even his own car: The Jokermobile.

  • It took 20 years, but eventually people got sick of the saccharine Comics Code Authority

  • and basically stopped following it, ushering in The Bronze Age.

  • Now, The Bronze Age of comics brought back comics as a place to address social issues and return

  • them to their darker roots.

  • This is where Iron Man dealt with alcoholism, Spiderman's girlfriend Gwen Stacey died and

  • The Joker became a murderer again.

  • YAY!

  • The difference between this and the Golden Age, though, is that now there was a big emphasis

  • on the psychology of these characters.

  • For instance, in 1973's The Joker's Five-Way Revenge, The Joker escapes from an insane

  • asylum and systematically kills the five men who ratted him out.

  • The new version of the Joker emphasized his insanity and mental instability.

  • Instead of an evil master criminal or a goofy prankster, The Joker is a mentally ill psychopath

  • who chooses not to control his actions.

  • The Modern Age of Comics doubled down on this dark and gritty imagery.

  • The best example is The Dark Knight Returns, which was a comic before it was a movie.

  • Surprise!

  • And just like to movie, the comic emphasized the fact that the Joker can’t function or

  • or practically even exist without Batman as his counterpart; the yin to his yang.

  • All of this should be sounding familiar.

  • So we have three ages of comics and three Jokers: the criminal mastermind; the goofy

  • prankster; and the psychopath.

  • When Geoff Johns announced there were three different Jokers in Justice League #50, he

  • was basically explaining away how the character has evolved over the past eighty years.

  • it could be interpreted that the three Jokers of The Gold, Silver and Bronze/Modern Age

  • have now just become their own separate characters.

  • But if it’s true in the comics, does it also work in the movies?

  • Surprisingly, yes!

  • Because when you look at it, the three film versions of The Joker seamlessly correspond

  • to the three comic versions.

  • The 1966 Cesar Romero Joker is the Silver Age Joker: a goofy prankster with crazy schemes,

  • constantly outwitted by Batman.

  • Romero's Joker isn't a murderer or a sadistic madman, he’s just a thief; obsessed with

  • robbing banks and art museums.

  • And much like The Silver Age Joker, Romero's version uses a variety of gadgets:

  • a spraying flower, a utility belt, hand buzzers, gas grenades and yes, even his own car: The Jokermobile.

  • Tim Burton's 1989 Jack Nicholson Joker is a completely different take,

  • which makes sense because he’s the Golden Age version.

  • The Nicholson Joker's origin story follows the exact same story that’s given to the Golden

  • Age Joker, where he’s a career criminal who slips into a vat of chemicals after being

  • cornered by Batman.

  • He’s disfigured and when he sees his reflection at the surgeon's office, he goes completely