There was always going to be a downside to superhero movies becoming the biggest thing in the world and it seems we've hit one. DC and Warner Bros have announced via Deadline that they are in the early stages of developing a Joker origin movie. The studio has hired The Hangover's Todd Phillips to co-write a script with 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver. Phillips will direct the movie, and Martin Scorsese will produce it with Phillips.
This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.
The DC characters of the comics have always separated themselves based on various "families" and this new banner could be DC and Warner Bros looking to do the same thing with the movies as well. Deadline is also reporting that this movie wouldn't star Jared Leto or be based on any previous version of the character.
I'm told that the intention is to make an origin story that isn't part of any other iteration. The Joker has memorably been part of two Batman movies in the form of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, and was most recently played by Jared Leto in the first Suicide Squad film. He will reprise in the Suicide Squad sequel and the Harley Quinn spinoff, but this new film will launch the character with a different actor, possibly younger.
They are saying they want some sort of "gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-'80s Gotham City that isn't meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese's films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy. The rumors are that Phillips and Silver are always writing but there are more DC films without release dates than they are DC movies with release dates at the moment so who knows when this could happen.
One of the things that makes the Joker interesting is that he is a true wildcard — unpredictable, ultimately unknowable. You don't have to explain every single aspect of every character to make them interesting. When we learn too much about villains, they get less terrifying and interesting.