Was that a young Bruce Wayne in the Joker trailer? Warner Bros. finally unveiled a real look at their upcoming origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime and it's truly unlike anything we've ever seen in the DC universe before. The footage was initially unveiled at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, but the studio was kind enough not to make everyone else wait all that long to see it. While the trailer is very much just a teaser, it may have come with one pretty big reveal.
Joaquin Phoenix plays the titular character, who is a man named Arthur Fleck, and much of the trailer is focused on his difficult and isolating life. A cruel world beats him down, both literally and figuratively, until he eventually turns into arguably the greatest villain in the DC universe. At one point, at around the 1:47 mark in the Joker trailer, Arthur is seen engaging with a young boy. They are separated by a gate. Arthur hooks his fingers into the boy's mouth in order to give him a wide smile, just as he does to himself earlier in the trailer.
This young boy is played by Dante Pereira-Olson, who is credited as none other than Bruce Wayne, the man who goes on to become Batman. So, it would seem, this is possibly the first interaction between the Joker and the man who becomes the Caped Crusader. One thing that is important to note is that this movie is taking very serious liberties, as this character's origin story has remained intentionally vague in the comics. That's why we can have a middle-aged man engaging with a very young Bruce Wayne, or else Joker would be getting social security checks by the time he was actually squaring off against Batman.
In any event, this is a potentially crucial moment. It's not clear how much director Todd Phillips is going to play up the connection between Arthur Fleck and the Waynes. What we know is that Brett Cullen is playing Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father, who is seen in a few choice shots in the trailer as well. Are we perhaps going to go the Tim Burton Batman route and have the Joker be the man who kills Bruce Wayne's parents? That's purely speculative, but we can't totally rule it out at this point.
The rest of the cast includes Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Marc Maron, Brett Cullen, Bryan Callen and Robert De Niro. It's also worth mentioning that this movie is not intended to exist in the same universe as movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Aquaman. It's meant to be doing its own thing. So this is in no way related to Jared Leto's version of the character, at least not as far as we know. Warner Bros. is set to arrive in theaters on October 4.