If you left Joker feeling like you needed the Maury show to carry out a paternity test, then this is the video for you.
Throughout I’m going to be answering one of the big mysteries surrounding the film which is ‘Was Arthur really Thomas Wayne’s son?’ This question carries a lot of weight with it and if true, then it means that Batman and The Joker are half brothers. It feels like a plot point ripped straight out of the Austin Powers series, however, there’s also the potential that Arthur’s mother could be making it all up and throughout I’ll be weighing up the fors and against to let you know what the truth behind the entire thing is.
There will, of course, be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to watch joker yet and don’t want the results of the DNA test spoiled for you then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, now let’s get into our breakdown over whether Thomas Wayne is the true father of Joker or not.
Joker Plot Recap
Ok so Joker follows Arthur Fleck, a struggling clown that wants to become a standup comedian but he seems to be beaten down by Gotham city at every possible opportunity.
Fleck lives with his mother, a woman that in her youth worked for the Waynes before seemingly being let go because of her obsession with Thomas, the household’s owner and future mayoral candidate.
Penny Fleck DID Work At Wayne Manor
Now, this is definitely 100% true in the film as not only do we have it confirmed by Alfred at the gates of Wayne Manor but Thomas himself. It’s one of the major aspects in the story that is corroborated so we can take Penny at her word on this one. So yeah, point one to Penny, she did indeed work at Wayne Manor.
However, why she was let go is the first point of contention as the Wayne staff and Thomas himself say that she was crazy.
Now where things start to really unravel is over whether Thomas and Penny actually did have a relationship together. If they did then this means that Thomas framed an adoption for the child so that he would be completely disconnected from it and then made Penny look like she was crazy so that she would be locked up and sent to Arkham. If this is the case then no one would ever believe her and Thomas would get away scot-free with it all.
We get a brief hint that Thomas and Penny did indeed have a relationship together when Arthur discovers a photograph of his mother when she was younger that is signed with the initials T.W. This is deliberately left ambiguous but from this I take it that Thomas and Penny were indeed sleeping together.
If we take Arthur’s mother at around the age of 60-70 and Arthur at 40 then it does appear that she did work around the property at the age in the photo and therefore the T.W. that she would have known at this time would have been Thomas. The fact that Alfred can also instantly recall a worker who hasn’t worked at the Manor from 40 years ago signifies to me at least that she must have been important.
So point two to Penny.
But that doesn’t mean that she got pregnant and is the fact that they instantly recalled her is because Thomas has had recent dealings with her?
Pennys Letter To Thomas
Well we know that Penny wished to send a letter to Thomas and that Arthur discovered it and learned of his apparent relation. However, this may not have been the first letter that Penny sent and in the Bathroom when Arthur confronts Thomas, one of the first things that the billionaire asks is ‘what do you want? Is it money?’ This highlights to me that Penny has already been writing to Thomas and asking him for money which is why he’s so quick to ask it.
The fact that Alfred in the film is portrayed to be in his mid to late forties also probably adds a lot of credence to the fact that is probably too young to have been working at the manor at that time, therefore he may only know about Penny due to her recent actions. So point one to Thomas.
Thomas also at this point states that she has Narcassistic Personality Disorder or NPD for short. People with NPD have a long-term pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy toward other people. Which we definitely know is the case with Penny as we learn that she was complicit in the abuse of Arthur as he was growing up. Add that to the fact she keeps talking about how Arthur is Thomas’ son and never once mentions the adoption also means that she could just be over exaggerating about their relationship.
So, point two to Thomas.
The Filmmaker’s Opinion
Now that’s all of the evidence in the film out the way pretty much and you are left with two possibilites. Either Thomas is the father and he covered it up or Penny is trying to extort him in order to get money. With it being a tie it’s time to look outside of the movie and see what evidence we have from the people who worked on the film and so on.
When discussing his portrayal with the Hollywood Reporter, Brett Cullen who played Thomas said the following on the matter:
“This film delves into Thomas Wayne more, and we tackle the idea that if you’re a successful businessman then there are certain things you do to have that success, and sometimes those things are not pretty … sometimes they’re cutthroat. I think there’s a real edge to him, he’s very much based in reality. I went to Todd and asked, ‘Are we playing this the way I think we’re playing this?’, and Todd responded with, ‘What would be a compelling reason for the Joker to hate Batman so much?’ The idea that the Joker is an illegitimate child that didn’t get anything from the Wayne family is a very compelling motivation for his character’s hatred.”
So, it definitely seems like Cullen himself thinks that he is the father of Arthur, so one more point to Penny and the final point, which I’ll leave up to you to interpret is the fact that Dante Pereira-Olson, who plays Bruce Wayne in Joker, also played a young version of Joaquin Phoenix’s in You Were Never Really Here.
On the surface at the very least it does seem like Todd Phillips cast the actor in order to draw on the fact that they have some resemblance and Arthur even remarks in the movie that he and Thomas look alike.
So, weighing everything up I think it’s pretty easy to assume that Thomas was indeed the father, he had a relationship with Penny when he was younger and framed not only adoption but her mental illness. The fact that Penny and Arthur both have the same mental condition adds a lot of weight to the fact that they are both indeed related and if this is the case then it adds more weight to the fact that he is Thomas’s child due to the relationship that we know that the two had.
Whilst we will never categorically get a yes or no answer to this I definitely think the clues are there to draw the conclusion that Thomas is Arthur’s father and that Joker is indeed the tied to Batman closer than we think, at least in this universe.
Now obviously I’d love to read your thoughts on this and I’m sure that everyone is going to have their own opinion on the matter. What’s great about Joker is there really is no right or wrong answer so make sure you leave your opinion on who the daddy is in the comments section below.