It’s a tale as old as Bat-time: an Arkham Asylum psychologist named Harleen Quinzel is driven mad by the Joker and she becomes the insane clown’s accomplice and oft-abused paramour. More recent takes on the character, especially in the comics, have seen Harley Quinn thankfully break up with the Clown Prince of Crime and become more of an anti-hero, but the upcoming film Joker: Folie a Deux is taking a more familiar approach to this dark “love story.” Sort of.

The first trailer for Todd Phillips’ follow-up to his hit 2019 horror flick confirms not only that the highly-anticipated sequel is heavily inspired by musicals but also that Lady Gaga is playing a version of Harley with a different backstory than the one first introduced in Batman: The Animated Series and later adopted by the comics.

In the trailer, which sees Gaga’s Harley and Joaquin Phoenix‘s Arthur Fleck breaking into song and dance all over Arkham, it’s revealed that this version of Harley is no psychologist at all but another patient at the psychiatric hospital. She immediately catches the Clown’s attention while she’s singing with a choir, a form of therapy for the patients — “We use music to make us whole, to balance the fractures within ourselves,” says an unseen doctor in the trailer. From there, we watch as the two become closer inside the walls of the hospital, until at one point Harley suggests to Arthur, “Let’s get out of here.” Then all hell breaks loose.

What’s notable about the trailer is that it teases a completely different power dynamic between Joker and Harley. While the Joker manipulates Harley into a life of crime in the original take on the character’s origin, it seems that in the Phillips movie it’s Harley doing the corrupting, bringing Arthur into her world of music, where he’s back in Joker makeup and happy as can be. The trailer even ends with Harley saying she wants to see the real Arthur, the man who did something with his life. Red lipstick on glass covers Arthur’s face as he gives the audience one last smile.

One Redditor even theorizes that Joker: Folie a Deux will present an “inverse” of the usual Joker/Harley dynamic: “Anyone else get the feeling that The Joker/Harley relationship is going to be an inverse of their comic portrayal? I’m thinking Arthur is trying not to relapse back into his Joker persona but Harley is the one influencing him more to embrace it.”

Indeed, the Arthur we meet at the start of the trailer is quite docile, as he walks through the rain, no singing involved. It’s only after he meets Harley in the trailer that he starts feeling like his old self. The trailer seems to want you to come to this conclusion when a psychiatrist played by Steve Coogan asks a clearly agitated Arthur: “What’s changed?” To which Arthur replies, “I’m not alone anymore.”

It looks like these two were always meant to bring out the worst in each other, but this time, Harley is doing the talking. And the singing.

Joker: Folie a Deux opens in theaters on Oct. 4.

The post Joker 2 Just Hinted It’s Completely Changing Harley Quinn’s Origin Story appeared first on Den of Geek.

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