Here we have it-our first true look at Joker, Todd Phillips’ upcoming take on Batman’s
archnemesis and the debut of Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Up to this point, a
smattering of publicity shots, rogue set footage and a brief clip of Phoenix in full makeup
have been all we’ve seen of this newest incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime, but with
the release of this trailer coupled with a premise that seems to skew down a far more
original path as opposed to what we’ve known previously about the Joker both seem to serve as indicators that this could be something truly unique.

Check out the trailer below:

What we’re seeing here is a collection of shots that showcase a tortured individual,
working as a sign-spinning clown and subject to seemingly endless abuse at the hands of
countless bullies. In addition, a close relationship to his mother, which seems to echo
Norman Bates in Psycho, and a descent into the inevitable madness we all expect summarize the arc of this brief clip. Phillips’ has clearly made every effort to perform an about-face from his Hangover trilogy, giving this an unsurprising dark feel as well as another welcome decision to distance Joker from the wider DCEU-there don’t even appear to be any blatant references to Gotham City, outside of the now-renamed Arkham, and don’t expect to see the Caped Crusader at all. Instead, brief shots of Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy and Robert De Niro doing his best King of Comedy fly by in an instant, with the rest of the trailer devoted to Phoenix’s bizarre smiles, foreboding laughs and a distressing sense of awkwardness that could signify an incredible movie. Less Leto and Nicholson, with shades of Ledger, it appears Phoenix may be on the verge of giving us a very special Joker.

Joker chuckles its way into theaters on October 4th.

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