As the world of DC Comics adaptations enters a new era, the incredible blockbuster success of Todd Phillips' Joker opens up a remarkable amount of creative opportunity. The film is a gritty character study centering on the life of a blossoming villain, and while those kinds of stories are usually relegated to indie movie houses, the film wound up earning more than a billion dollars worldwide. Considering this success inspires one to think of similar avenues that can be taken with the material, and one of the movie's producers, Michael E. Uslan, has a pretty cool idea.
Uslan was recently featured as a guest during Wizard World's virtual "Batman to Joker" panel (via Comic Book Resources) and when discussing the legacy of Joker he touched on the fact that the methodology applied to the making of the film could really be used for any great comic book antagonist. Specifically, he would personally love to see a solo take on the Batman villain Mr. Freeze, and feels that the work done on Batman: The Animated Series could be used as the basis for the plot. Said the filmmaker,
What Todd did in his genius can be applied to, I think, any other villain. And if any villain was studied like that… and there are some great possibilties. One of my favorite episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which I love, absolutely love, dealt with Mr. Freeze and the loss of his wife. The empathy, the emotions that that created, I could see [making a movie].
After that statement, Michael E. Uslan was quick to couch his statements, admitting that what he was talking about was more about what he'd like to see as a fan than something being actively developed, but he still stressed that he thinks it would be a smart approach. He continued,
And now caution, I'm putting on my fanboy hat, not my producing hat, this has nothing to do with any plans or this or that. As a fanboy I could see taking that iteration of Mr. Freeze and doing something amazing with his backstory.
When Mr. Freeze was originally introduced, his name was Mr. Zero and he had a minor role in the comics, but Paul Dini and Bruce Timm are the creators primarily credited with turning him into the iconic villain he is known as today. In Batman: The Animated Series, the antagonist was reinvented as a scientist desperate to heal his ill and cryogenically frozen wife, and willing to do anything to ensure her heath and safety.
Fans will remember that this backstory has already been utilized on the big screen, as it was the backstory for Arnold Schwarzenegger's version of the character in Joel Schumacher's Batman And Robin. With a less kitschy, over-the-top approach, however, Michael E. Uslan is absolutely right in saying that the character could make a dynamic protagonist in his own solo film.
Whether or not this will ever actually happen is unknown – and it certainly won't be happening any time soon, as there are plenty of other DC Comics adaptations being developed that will keep the company busy for years. That being said, we're always on the lookout for more updates about the Joker-esque side of DC's development strategy going forward, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates as they pop up.