Why The Joker’s Origin Story Doesn’t Need to Be Told

In an insightful video essay about the upcoming film Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, host Jared Bauer of Wisecrack opines on the need for The Joker, a highly intelligent D.C. Comics supervillain, to have an origin story and whether or not that story should be told. Bauer further explains that the character was specifically written to be an enigmatic, complex, narcissistic purveyor of psychological illusions. This being the case, if The Joker told of his origins, what cause would the audience have to believe it to be true? Also, wouldn’t knowing where he comes from take away from the character’s deliberate mystique?

As excited as we are of seeing the Clown Prince of Gotham get his own movie, one thing gives us pause: the Joker’s LACK of an origin is one of the things that makes him one of the most compelling villains in comics history….we’ll look back at how comic writers have utilized the Joker’s mysterious origins to create a philosophically compelling antagonist and predict which version might inform the live action adaptation coming in 2019.