As Joker continues to creep toward the $1 billion mark at the box office, more and more details about the film — which is now the most profitable comic book movie of all-time — continue to pour out.
Warning: spoilers for Joker will follow.
Given that Joker is quite simply about a man losing his grip on reality, the film is packed to the brim with psychological twists, from Arthur Fleck’s imagined relationship with his neighbor Sophie (who Todd Phillips confirmed *did not* get killed) to the question surrounding who his true father is.
The film itself also ends on a massive twist as well, as the final scene shows Arthur Fleck in a mental facility telling a psychologist that she “wouldn’t get it” as he laughs to himself about a joke. This had led some viewers to believe that the joke Arthur is referring to are the events of the film that we just witnessed were all actually imagined in his mind.
While Joker intentionally leaves this question unanswered to the audience can decide for themselves, a recently leaked draft of the film’s screenplay sheds more light on what director Todd Phillips intended with that ambiguous ending. The scrip is a draft from April 2018, which is about five months before the film began production.
“He’s sitting across from an overworked HOSPITAL DOCTOR (50’s), African American woman. Somehow it’s the exact same room Joker imagined his mother was in some 30 years ago. The room and the doctor also look vaguely similar to the social worker and her office in the opening scene,” the script reads.
So the description of the Arkham room and the doctor being “vaguely similar” to the social worker scene earlier in the movie is a telling one. It points towards the movie being told by Arthur, as he’s describing a room he’s currently in when talking about an earlier moment in the story.
What’s more, Phillips has acknowledged that this reading of the movie is a viable one, saying previously: “There’s a lot of ways you could look at this movie. You could look at it and go, ‘This is just one of his multiple-choice stories. None of it happened.'” [via Digital Spy]
Personally, I was opting to believe that the events of the movie were real, as I have a general film rule that ending a story with “it was all a dream” is a massive cop-out. But with this latest tidbit of information from the screenplay, I’m starting to think that the events of Joker may have been imagined in Arthur’s head after all.
If you’re interested, the entire script for Joker can be found here.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email email@example.com