The Joker is a staple in the Batman universe, and audiences expect and demand his presence in any Batman-related content. With multiple Joker portrayals already existing, James Gunn must decide how to introduce new versions of the character in his upcoming DCU projects. Potential actors to play the Joker include Bill Skarsg?rd, Willem Defoe, and Mason Mantzoukas, each bringing their own unique qualities to the role. Casting the right actor is crucial for the future of the DCU.

There is quite a bit of excitement over at Warner Bros/DC at the moment. The DCU is really ramping up, and James Gunn has big plans in mind for all of his heroes. There are even plans for continued use of the Elseworlds series, such as Robert Pattinson’s The Batman. But with all of these series, including animated, there is likely to be a problem.

That problem is that the Joker, the beloved clown prince, will likely appear in multiple properties. So what will Gunn do, and who will end up playing the various parts?

The Joker Is a Staple

DC Comics

One of the Batman’s most enduring villains is the Joker. He has been featured in all forms of media and is an immediate draw for audiences. The character has been played by a variety of actors, including Jack Nicholson (Batman), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), and even Cesar Romero (Batman TV series). In fact, he has been played by so many different actors that naming them would make this article into one long who’s who list.

Related: Is Joker Still the Most Controversial Movie of the Last Ten Years?

But the main thing to remember is that if you have Batman, at some point, you will need to introduce a Joker. It’s a law. Check the books. Audiences not only expect him, they demand him.

James Gunn is well aware of this fact and must either have plans in place or know that he will have to make them soon. He has quite a number of properties coming to fruition, and he’ll need a new Joker for each one.

How Many Versions Could There Be?

Art by William Gray

If we look at the DC universe as it stands right now, we have a few Jokers that we already know about. Joaquin Phoenix has his standalone Joker series, which is about to release its upcoming sequel Joker: Folie ? Deux. There is also The Batman, where Barry Keoghan has already been seen as that version of the Joker and which is getting its own sequel.

There are also cartoons and video games where Mark Hamill (Star Wars) has voiced the character for nearly twenty years. There is no word whether he will continue to be the voice going forward, depending on how James Gunn wishes to proceed.

This is one of the biggest questions that people have. Gunn has stated that, ideally, he would like the live-action actors to also voice their animated counterparts. Whether this actually happens will be up to Gunn and the types of contracts he can get actors to sign. However, if this is the case, Hamill is most likely out as the voice (at least in the cartoons).

When the new DCU Batman movie, The Brave and the Bold, arrives, it will introduce the entire bat family and explore their relationships. But the villain has yet to be announced. It would not be surprising to find out that there are actually multiple villains being introduced. However, if Gunn goes his normal route, he will not introduce the most conspicuous villains first. This will leave a bit of time before we see who the newest Joker will actually be.

Gunn has also said that he is attempting to use younger actors for these roles, and it could be interesting to see who he picks for such a main villain.

Who Will Play These Jokers?

Warner Bros. Pictures

One thing we have heard is that there will not be crossovers between the different Elseworld stories. Therefore, Barry Keoghan will not appear in the main DCU, and the DCU Batman will not appear in Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker series. So who will Gunn cast as the Joker in his DCU?

One idea that has been floated is It actor Bill Skarsg?rd. The 33-year-old has shown us just how creepy he can be, and it would be fun to see him as the unhinged Batman foe. He has been rumored to be playing Lex Luthor, but that has not yet been confirmed. Although he could bring an icy personality to Luthor, it could be more interesting to see his take on yet another painted-faced clown.

Related: Bill Skarsg?rd Becomes James Gunn’s DCU Joker In New Fan Art

Another idea that seems to have floated through the ether is to bring in a more seasoned actor to play against a younger Batman. With this in mind, people have been clamoring for another actor who has shown his ability to play unhinged characters: Willem Defoe. Defoe is pushing nearly seventy, but his physicality and cackling laugh made his turn as The Green Goblin in the Spider-Man series iconic. To see him in full clown makeup would be an absolute masterpiece, and he could bring a grizzled form of the character to life.

An idea that would be completely out of the box would be to cast someone that nobody would ever consider but who is known for playing psychotically funny characters. For this, we can look to Mason Mantzoukas (Twisted Metal), a character actor with plenty of character. He has the ability to look crazy with no makeup and is known to be a sought-after improviser. Look at his work on The League or even the animated show Big Mouth for proof.

In the end, regardless of who is cast, the role is extremely important for the DCU going forward. Even if the character shows up in drips and drabs for a bit, playing in the background, his reveal will be greatly anticipated. James Gunn has a lot to think about, and in the meantime, audiences get to sit back and enjoy every incarnation.

 DC has a lot to juggle these days. The Joker will feature in at least three films in the next few years. But how will this work?  Read More