Kevin Smith says an alternate ending for Joker would have made the disturbing movie that much darker by shockingly killing off a young Bruce Wayne. Citing a source close to the production of Joker but stopping shy of revealing any names, Smith claims he has been regaled the details of an original ending concept for the movie which was ultimately changed.
Unfortunately for the residents of Gotham, the macabre idea teases a world where Batman never exists by revealing Arthur Fleck murders Bruce Wayne as a child. Remembering the controversy surrounding the movie’s violent nature, can you just imagine if that scene would have made it into Joker? From the filmmaker’s Fatman Beyond podcast, here’s the supposed alternate ending of Joker as described by Kevin Smith.
“So, he’s in the hospital, and he laughs, chuckles, and the lady goes, “What’s so funny?” and he says, ‘I was just thinking of something funny.’ What was supposed to happen was you flashed back to the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and it was [Arthur] killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the boy was screaming and crying, and he turned to walk away, then he turned back, shrugged, and shot the kid. Credits. What the f–k, man! Could you imagine?”
In the theatrical ending of Joker, Bruce’s mother and father are killed by a nameless thug who shoots the two to death following Arthur’s escape from police custody. Arthur can then be seen laughing maniacally from within the confines of Arkham Asylum while recalling a young Bruce Wayne standing before the corpses of his slain parents. This hints at Bruce one day becoming Batman as per the character’s typical origin stories, though viewers may also be left wondering whether these events happened at all, or if they were merely imagined in Arthur Fleck’s twisted mind.
As Smith also points out, this supposed alternate ending presents a much darker take on the typical Batman story by suggesting there will never be a Batman to put a stop to the crimes of this particular version of the Joker. “I would have been outraged as a Batman fan, and elated as a fan of the film,” the Clerks director stresses. Still, Smith also notes he can’t be completely sure if this particular ending was really under consideration from director Todd Phillips, so it’s best to recognize it as nothing more than a rumor at this time. “Maybe this is completely wrong, but I f–king hope it’s true,” Smith also says on the podcast.
If true, this alternate ending would be just one of many scenes to be left on the cutting room floor. Following the release of Joker, Phillips has since cleared up one of the movie’s biggest mysteries by revealing that a deleted scene proves Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) never killed Sophie (Zazie Beetz). However, Phillips has also expressed his disdain for deleted scenes, suggesting fans will never be able to see them on any Blu-ray or DVD release of the movie. This means that Smith and other Joker fans are left to speculate over what other directions the hit movie may have gone in creatively.
Sparing Bruce Wayne may come into play in the plot of the rumored sequel. Given the immense success of Joker at the box office, preliminary talks have reportedly begun on a possible follow-up, though Phillips insists that a deal has yet to be signed. Time will tell if Bruce and Arthur ever meet again in this new continuity. You can check out Smith’s comments about the supposed alternate ending below, courtesy of Kevin Smith on YouTube at the 16:55 minute mark.