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First trailer for Joker is full of smiles and nightmares

No head tattoos on this clown prince of crime

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

The first teaser for Todd Phillips’ upcoming standalone Joker movie brings Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the iconic villain to life.

Unlike previous iterations of the Joker, this movie carves out an origin story for the character — the Joker before he was the Joker, exploring the life of Arthur Fleck as he descends from small-time stand up comedian to the clown prince of crime. The movie is said to lean hard on Martin Scorsese influences, particularly the director’s 1982 dark comedy The King of Comedy.

The first look at Joaquin Phoenix on set was very normal-looking, though subsequent images and costume tests revealed the Joker’s more ... joker looks.

This trailer, though, shows us more of Arthur Fleck and hints at his eventual descent into madness. We also see some of the supporting cast, as well as the 1980s version of Gotham City. Fleck wants to bring laughter to the world, but the world seems to be against him. Time to hide behind a happy face!

If you’re wondering where this Joker movie fits in with Wonder Woman, Shazam, Aquaman, Jared Leto’s Joker, and the rest of the current DC line-up, wonder no more. It takes place in a separate universe and is part of DC’s push to separate itself from the MCU and explore multiple versions of the same character.

Joker is out on Oct. 4.

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