Joker’s director, Todd Phillips, today offered the first look of Joaquin Phoenix as the titular villain, with an Instagram caption that confirms an earlier rumor about the character’s real name.
There’s no chalk-white facepaint, green hair or ruby lips here. That’s because Joker will be an origin story charting Batman’s nemesis as he rises from a washout stand-up comic to a criminal threat.
Earlier reports named the Joker as Arthur Fleck, and speculated on his origins and how that would align with the overall story. Joker is expected to premiere sometime in 2019. The origin story will be set in 1980s Gotham City, with the Wayne family represented by its patriarch, Thomas. Earlier rumors said Alec Baldwin would take that role, but the actor later said he’d dropped out of that project.
Joker is also due to appear in three more DC cinematic universe movies: Suicide Squad 2 (sometime in 2020), Gotham City Sirens (premiere TBD) and a Harley Quinn stand-alone movie. Jared Leto is set to star as the Joker in all three of them, reprising his role from 2016’s Suicide Squad.