For this question, let's take the theory aside that …

… the whole story of the movie might only exist in the Joker's mind and doesn't reflect actual events.

In the "Joker (2019)" Thomas Wayne is portrayed as a successful business man, who

  • … does treat people from a different degree badly
  • … think it's the people's own fault if they are poor
  • … seems to run for mayor only to increase his power

And at the end of the movie …

… he gets shot by a masked robber on purpose who says:
"You get what you deserve."(1)

I early DC/ Batman movies Thomas Wayne is portrayed as a successfull businessman as well but also as someone who seems:

  • … friendly to all kinds of poeple
  • … to use his wealth to help to make Gotham better for everybody

And most importantly:

… is shot from a "random" robber, who might not even have known who he was – and not on purpose.

Especially the last point was - at least in my opinion - very important for the transformation of Bruce into Batman.

So how does the the portrait of Thomas Wayne go along with the actual comics and/or Batman and the DCU?

I also found this article “Batman”: Why is Thomas Wayne A Meanie Now? which tries to address this question as well. But it's really not satisfying.

(1) I might be paraphrasing, if you do know the exact quote, please edit it into the question.

  • I'm not sure if it does, because I think the point was to counter-culture Batman's traditional themes and viewpoints. In similar fashion Nolan's TDK trilogy eliminates a lot of visual Gothic elements for a gritty realism to better relate to a contempary audience with the Apollonian-Bourgeoisie-aristocratic dichotomy to move away from "myth-making" (idealism) into a much more nihilistic viewpoint. Oct 14, 2019 at 15:43
  • I guess the point with this particular change would be about contesting the nature of sins of the father through an alternate reality re-interpretation. Is Batman going to be any worse or better because of this change? Or is this just about the Joker making Batman whatever he wants to justify his own pain and actions? It just depends on how far you take that unreliable narrator technique... Oct 14, 2019 at 15:44
  • 2
    The 5 bullet points (Joker Thomas vs DC Thomas) are not inherently contradictory. Not only is either version open to subjectivity (e.g. Bruce focuses on the good things, Arthur focuses on the bad things), but it's perfectly possible to be all these things at the same time. History is littered with people who were kind and yet also in conflict with our modern day morality.
    – Flater
    Oct 15, 2019 at 7:40
  • @DarthLocke Thanks for your input. That are very reasonable interpretations. I also thought that they like to ask: What kind of Batman would come out of this? On the other hand and if I remember correctly: Even though Nolan's trilogy has a very different approach, I think that it still shows the father in a positive spotlight. He had good intentions building that train for fast and cheap travel and he creates charities, but ultimately he fails. This fits with the nihilistic viewpoint of the movies as you described it.
    – lampshade
    Oct 16, 2019 at 19:35
  • You make some very good points too. Thanks for your input @Flater.
    – lampshade
    Oct 16, 2019 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


To answer your question of to what extent the movie Wayne is based off of any such comic Wayne, the director has stated that he has not used the comics for inspiration. In essence, the way Wayne Sr. is portrayed in the movie is not based on any comic reference. Although some sources indicate that Batman: The Killing Joke may have been an inspiration for the screenplay, in terms of this question, Thomas Wayne does not appear in that graphic novel.

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