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The director of Joker really wants you to know this isn’t a comic book movie

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The upcoming film is something ‘people are gonna be mad about’

a shirtless man puts hair product in his hair and it drips down his forehead
Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker.
Warner Bros. Pictures

The big question floating around Joker, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous Batman villain, has been just how closely the film would follow any comics storylines about the Clown Prince of Crime.

Now, courtesy of Empire Magazine, we have the answer: Joker won’t be following the comics at all.

In an interview with Empire, director Todd Phillips said, “We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about.” He went on to describe the film as “our own version” of the character, explaining that it wasn’t really a Joker film so much as a film about a man becoming the Joker.

It’s certainly a departure, though it follows in the footsteps of recent films that seem to use famous franchise names as a sort of security blanket, banking on that known quantity to generate box office gold. Usually, that’s not a good sign, but in the case of Joker, it may actually be a welcome change. We’re all already familiar with the Joker’s existing origin stories, so a fresh take may be just what the character needs, even if Phillips thinks it’s going to set fans on edge.

Joker will hit theaters on Oct. 4.