Update: Turns out, Alec Baldwin is no longer going to play Thomas Wayne in the upcoming Joker movie. “I’m no longer doing that movie,” Baldwin said on Wednesday. “I’m sure there are 25 guys who can play that part.”
Which is a shame! Read on to discover why we were so pumped about the casting when it seemed like it was still happening.
The man destined to be the father of the most beloved and badass superhero of them all has a new face. Alec Baldwin has just been cast as Thomas Wayne — Bruce Wayne/Batman’s father — in a new movie about the Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. The movie is still untitled, but some corners of the internet are already freaking out. Is Baldwin a good choice to play the elder Wayne? Regardless of your personal feelings about Alec Baldwin, the answer is a strong yes.
On Monday, news broke that Baldwin would take on the role in the next Batman-universe movie focused on the Joker. Traditionally, Bruce Wayne’s father hasn’t had a large role, mostly because the character dies when Bruce is a child. But, because this is an origin story of the Joker, not Batman, it looks like Thomas Wayne will play a bigger part in the story. Unsurprisingly, the internet is already snarky about it.
Even if comic book fans and critics are decrying the casting of Alec Baldwin as Bruce Wayne’s dad right now, there’s every reason to believe they’ll be singing a different tune when the movie actually comes out. When it comes to the casting of people in Batman movies, there’s a long tradition of fans getting upset way ahead of time. For example, after it was revealed that Michael Keaton would play Bruce Wayne in the 1989 movie Batman, fans complained to Warner Bros and DC Comics that “Mr. Mom” would be a terrible Batman. When the movie came out, everyone loved it and the controversy was quickly forgotten.
Similarly, just because Batman V Superman and Justice League are generally considered to be bad movies, that doesn’t mean everyone thinks Ben Affleck is bad as Batman in those movies. If anything, most agree Bat-Fleck actually works decently well, even if everything around him is a little inconsistent.
The point is, rushing to judgment about Alec Baldwin playing Batman’s father isn’t just premature, it might prove to be a wildly incorrect take. Despite anyone’s personal feelings about Alec Baldwin, casting him as a millionaire who sires Bruce Wayne is sort of perfect. Think of him in 30 Rock. Think of him playing Donald Trump on SNL. Now, he’s Bruce Wayne’s dad. It totally works. Baldwin’s arrogant bravado is ideally suited for what we think of when we think of the fictional Wayne family.
In the DC comic books, numerous alternate universes have shown Thomas Wayne to be a formidable — and frightening — man. Had he not died at the hands of a gunman in Bruce’s youth, some of those “What If” stories show him morphing into an aggressive and polarizing figure. In other words, Thomas Wayne isn’t a good guy, he’s a powerful businessman who happened to create Batman. That’s plenty of meat for Baldwin to work with.
The timeline of this specific Joker-centric movie isn’t clear, and right now, it’s thought to take place in its own continuity outside of the other DC movies. But if it takes a page out of the 1989 Batman-story, maybe Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the Joker will come face-to-face with Alec Baldwin in a dark alley.
No release date for the new Joker movie has been set at this time.