Joker traces the origin story of Arthur Fleck, a troubled man (mentally, financially, and in several other ways) who goes into a downward spiral and emerges as a maniacal killer. My question: is Arthur Fleck the Joker we see in other Batman movies (e.g. Heath Ledger's Joker)? Nothing in the movie seems to confirm this, and - as far as I know - no Batman movie/comic book/etc gives the real name of the Joker. We see at the end of the movie that Arthur (who was introduced as Joker on Murray Franklin's show) starts some sort of movement against the elite of Gotham, and people inspired by him and his actions dress up as Jokers and riot around the city. Is it not entirely plausible that the real Joker is just someone inspired by Arthur, and not Arthur himself?

An example that shows that this theory is not inconsistent with other representations of the Joker: In Dark Knight, when we're first introduced to Ledger's Joker in a bank robbery scene, the other people robbing the bank with him don't seem to know much about him or his name. One of them even describes him as "some guy who calls himself Joker". If this Joker is indeed Arthur Fleck - who became infamous after his appearance on Murray Franklin's show - how is it that these people don't know anything about him?

  • @gtoques you might want to see the answers in movies.stackexchange.com/questions/104652/… Oct 19, 2019 at 16:25
  • Don't remember in which comic but there are 3 joker where Batman ask the Mobius Chair. So indeed, each joker is different. Oct 21, 2019 at 2:53
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    I'm not sure this question is relevant, since it's based on an assumption that all Batman (movies, etc.) are based on the same canon - is Heath Ledger's joker the same as Jack Nicholson's? Or Cesar Romero's? Or Jared Leto's? And which one of those is the "real" Joker? The real question should be, is the "Joker" movie in the same universe as Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy?
    – komodosp
    Oct 21, 2019 at 8:22

2 Answers 2


(...) no Batman movie/comic book/etc gives the real name of the Joker(...)

Actually the 1989 Batman film tells a origin story of the Joker, whose name would be Jack Napier. From what I've heard this is not grounded on the comics.

Alternatively, there is the Three Jokers Concept and the ideia of Joker precursors used in Fox's TV series Gotham. In both cases, there is the idea that the Joker is not one person, and for different reasons.


Is it possible that Arthur Fleck is not the real Joker?

Yes it is. Particularly:

(e.g. Heath Ledger's Joker)?

Theories for Heath's Ledger's Joker normally revolve around him having a military background. That Joker is also evidently someone with high intellect, who wants to convey a philosophical message, unlike Fleck, who claims he is "not political", and is mostly portrayed as someone who urges to be heard.

Then again, why would Ledger's joker be "the real" Joker and Phoenix not? They are both iterations on a very mutable character. Better than that, I'd say the "Joker" is a honorific character rather than a single character, as explained at 1min08s of this video. Also within this video's line of thought, the producers are exploiting multiplicity, which from the quote in the video "popular media is moving away from a focus on continuity and instead gravitating towards multiplicity".


It's not only possible. It's expected.
Or to be even more "cannon" he's one of the Jokers. There are multiple explanations on "where did the Joker come from and who he is" and each one is/could be real explanation. Which the readers/viewers cannot agree because some of the versions are told by Joker himself. And it don't have anything to do with multiverse but the fact that people lie.

There is a story in one of the Black & White Batmans comics where is shown that one of the Arkhams workers comment on an origin story Joker told Harleen Quinzel as totally fake because it was told by Joker.

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