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Martin Scorsese Is Apparently Producing a Batman Spinoff

Specifically: a Joker origin story directed by Todd Phillips

DC Comics

Today in superhero development Mad Libs, Deadline reports that Warner Bros. and DC Comics are planning an origin-story spinoff for the Joker. The details, in ascending order of complication: The Hangover’s Todd Phillips is reportedly attached to cowrite and direct; none other that Martin Scorsese is in talks to produce; and the film will be entirely independent of all existing Joker “iterations,” including the recent Jared Leto version.

The film is supposedly the first in a series that will be released under a new, yet-to-be-named Warner Bros. banner, which will take DC Comics characters and flesh out new story lines for them with different actors. So Leto and his platinum-plated grill will still reportedly appear in Suicide Squad 2 and the Harley Quinn spinoff — while a new (and “possibly younger”) actor would be recruited for the Phillips film.

As for the Scorsese component, the intention is apparently to make the movies less like Warner Bros.’ DC hero films and more like a “gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City … like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or The King of Comedy.” So there may soon be two (or more) Jokers set loose upon the world, and one of them will be doing his best ’70s De Niro impersonation. The superhero train keeps chugging along, with increasingly weird combinations to fuel it.