The dynamic between Joker and Batman has fascinated the fans of both comics and cinematic interpretations for decades. Joker is the embodiment of chaos, whose motivations are to this day unclear, and Batman, no matter have intelligent and calculated, can’t deal with this erratic villain. Many theories have been proposed over the years, going as far as to suggest that Joker is actually in love with Batman, but so far, the most interesting one has been proposed by the movie ‘Joker’ released in 2019. Even though the movie is not in any way part of official continuity, the movie heavily suggests that Joker and Batman are brothers. We set out today to explore whether this could be true.
Joker and Batman are not brothers, even though the movie suggests that they are. It is later revealed that Arthur is, in fact, adopted, and his true origins are unknown. Still, since the movie is quite good at blurring fiction and reality, the theory is still viable enough with enough evidence to support it that such an outcome wouldn’t be surprising at all. In the comics, Batman and Joker are definitely not siblings. This theory is only viable in the ‘Joker’ movie, which is set in its own separate continuity.
Now that we’ve covered that Joker and Batman are not brothers, it’s time to explain the origins of this theory and analyze all the clues that might support it. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Unsurprisingly, the first clue for the theory lies in Arthur’s mother
Arthur Fleck, played masterfully by Joaquin Phoenix, has quickly risen to be one of the best cinematic interpretations of Joker in decades. Arthur is a troubled man tortured by mental illnesses with no clear direction in life. Still, one character caught up in the delusions almost as much as Arthur is his mother, Penny Fleck.
We learn over the course of the movie that Penny is obsessed with Wayne Family, she worked there in her youth, and she has only words of praise for Thomas Wayne, who is currently climbing the political ladder. At first, the origin of this fixation is unclear until Arthur discovers letters written by Penny that state that Thomas is indeed Arthur’s father.
Now, it’s quite possible that this is true. Penny might have been a nice-looking young woman working for the Wayne’s, trying to make it in this big world. It’s quite possible that she fell for young Thomas Wayne, and eventually, their feelings became physical, and an “accident happened” that resulted in the birth of Arthur Fleck. It’s also quite possible that Thomas Wayne used his position of power to manipulate her, which also led to Arthur being born.
However you look at it, it holds water, at least on the superficial level.
Wayne family had enough resources & influence to cover up the whole affair
Arthur then proceeds to investigate his origins and visits Wayne Manor, where his rudely dismissed by Alfred Pennyworth. His first try fails, but he manages to get ahold of Thomas Wayne in order to get proper answers. Thomas is not in the least surprised by Arthur’s accusations. It seems that he is already used to Penny being obsessed with him. Thomas explains that Penny is mentally ill and that he is adopted. He accuses Penny of having a whole list of mental disorders, one of them compulsive lying, which explains this “long-running” joke that she seems to be convinced is true.
Arthur visits Arkham State Hospital in search of his mother’s medical records and history of illness. The records seem to confirm everything Thomas told Arthur, as its clear that Penny has a history of such outbursts. The records also reveal that Arthur is not Penny’s biological son and that he was molested by her boyfriend while he was a boy in the vilest and most horrific ways possible, which explains his current mental condition.
Arthur confronts his mother about it, and she denies everything telling him that Wayne’s must have falsified the records. And once again, this would make sense. Wayne family is influential and rich, and to keep this kind of influence and keep the tradition going, you need to have clean records. It’s possible that Wayne family used their influence to put Penny in an Asylum and bribed the officials into forging the records. A sizeable donation to the hospital would certainly be enough for Thomas’ history with Penny to disappear altogether.
Even Brett Cullen, the actor who played Thomas Wayne in the movie has his thoughts supporting this theory.
“I asked Todd how Thomas Wayne would’ve known Arthur’s mother. The backstory was that Arthur’s mother had worked for Thomas in his home, and she was a beautiful woman who Thomas was attracted to and it led to a physical relationship. Later in life, she’s in and out of mental institutions. And in my mind, Thomas Wayne put her there. What I like about the film is that it’s about real people with real faults who make mistakes. Some are done out of protection, like moving Arthur and his mother out of the picture.”The Hollywood Reporter
Joker’s origins might explain his animosity toward Bruce Wayne
Even though this origin story of Joker is limited to the movie’s continuity only, it makes sense in plenty of other scenarios. It might explain why Joker targeted Batman all this time. Many fans agree that there is an emotional component in the dynamic between Joker and Batman. There always has been, and making Joker and Batman brothers would be enough to justify these emotional dynamics. Imagine if Joker set out to drive Batman insane, just like Thomas Wayne played a huge part in making both his mother and him insane. It’s unlikely, but let us entertain the thought for a moment.
What do you think about the idea of Joker and Batman being brothers? Let us know in the comments below!