New ‘Joker’ Video Imagines A Very Different Ending to Arthur’s Story

Joker might have its haters, but the film’s distinctly bleak tone has propelled it to more than $1 billion in global ticket sales. Director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix leaned into a somewhat experimental way of capturing the character’s madness. But what if Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck didn’t have to go down such a dark path?

Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix at the premiere of 'Joker'
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix at the premiere of ‘Joker’ | Amy Sussman/WireImage

The start of a much darker DC slate

For Warner Bros., Joker has turned out to be an undeniable winner. The film’s box office success — and potential Oscar nominations — have thrown the industry for a loop. Phillips and his team might have even inadvertently created a whole new type of comic book movie.

By stripping the Batman mythos of all its familiar trappings, Joker leaves viewers with a tale beamed directly from an unhinged mind. Arthur’s perspective is brimming with twisted urges, delusions, and extreme violence. So moviegoers have nowhere to turn for relief.

That has turned out to be a breath of perversely fresh air for some audiences. And Warner Bros. has taken notice. In fact, the studio might be considering applying the Joker template to other DC Comics characters. However, as a new parody video points out, Arthur’s fate could have shifted if the film depicted even the slightest shred of human decency.

Arthur’s arc could have turned out so very different

In its latest installment, popular YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended tackled Phillips’ movie and had a field day with its self-serious tone, much as Saturday Night Live did. The animated video starts off with a parody of Arthur’s now-iconic stairway dance. But the video’s creators quickly point out the complete lack of kindness the character endures.

So in the ultimate Elseworlds scenario, HISHE explores a reality in which Arthur isn’t neglected by everyone who crosses his path. In fact, Thomas and Martha Wayne adopt Arthur and raise him alongside Bruce. With a supportive family behind him, Arthur thrives, and the Joker is never born. Well, almost.

After the Waynes are murdered, Arthur becomes a clown-themed crimefighter known as Wisecracker. With Bruce as his sidekick Batboy, the duo protects Gotham’s city streets. It’s an unlikely turn of events but one infinitely fascinating to ponder, especially for longtime Batman fans.

A ‘Joker’ sequel could explore the roads not taken

Of course, Arthur is doomed to become the Clown Prince of Crime. The happy childhood HISHE imagines for him doesn’t come to pass, leaving him and Bruce as mortal enemies. Yet, Phillips could still draw inspiration from this angle if a sequel does come together.

Because Joker ultimately reveals some of the events are in Arthur’s mind, who’s to say what’s true and what isn’t? Phillips and Phoenix could decide to do some light retconning and confirm Arthur and Bruce are half-brothers. In this way, Joker 2 could further develop its exploration of the haves and the have-nots.

To be sure, any continuation of Joker will hinge on the life Arthur might have had if things had worked out differently. The film isn’t exactly subtle in its themes or social commentary. So though some Joker fans might think the story is all but resolved, isn’t it just like the Joker to pull a fast one on audiences?