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‘Joker’ deleted scene gives us the spoiler we needed to understand the controversial ending

Updated Dec 26th, 2019 6:07PM EST
Joker Ending
Image: Broadimage/Shutterstock

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turned out to be a massive hit for a superhero movie that has no superheroes or incredible special effects in it. The billion-dollar film continues to lure in plenty of moviegoers each weekend, and it practically begs Warner Bros. to use this version of the Joker in future DCEU movies. One of the reasons the film is so good is the ending, which leaves things open to interpretation. That’s how director Todd Phillips wanted the story to be, and we’ve already explained why it’s all so amazing. But now we hear there’s a deleted scene that would not only clear up one of the plot’s biggest mysteries, but it would also be the enormous spoiler we needed to understand exactly what the ending is supposed to be. Mind you, some spoilers will follow below, so you’d better watch the Joker before you read anything else.

As we told you early on, there are plenty of ways to explain how Joker ends and Phillips addressed the speculations in an interview last month, without committing to any fan theory:

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.’ I don’t want to say what it is. But a lot of people I’ve shown it to have said, ‘Oh, I get it — he’s just made up a story. The whole movie is the joke. It’s this thing this guy in Arkham Asylum concocted. He might not even be the Joker.’

Fans have attempted to come up with various theories that are exciting to read. Some think Arthur Fleck did make it all up, while others say he’s the real villain of Gotham, but he may have imagined that particular version of the past to confuse the people who are attempting to diagnose and treat him.

This brings us to Philips’ latest revelation, which provides more clarifications that he may have wanted to let slip.

At some point in the film, we learn that Arthur imagined an entire romantic relationship with Sophie, which is a pretty huge clue about his mental condition. It’s also a clue that suggests not everything we’ve seen on the screen might have really happened. One popular theory suggests Arthur’s mental condition made him imagine everything, and that’s how he ended up in the hospital.

The scene where Arthur realizes that all his romantic interactions with Sophie aren’t real is also terrifying. Did Arthur kill her and her kid in a fit of rage? That’s not spelled out in the film, leaving it up for debate.

Image source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Cinematographer Lawrence Sher did address the Sophie issue last month, saying that Phillips kept her fate purposely ambiguous. “Todd makes it clear she wasn’t killed,” Sher said, according to IndieWire. “Arthur is killing people who’ve wronged him in a certain way, and Sophie never wronged him.”

The more revealing part came directly from Phillips, who told IndiWire that Sophie is alive:

He doesn’t kill her, definitively. As the filmmaker and the writer, I am saying he doesn’t kill her. We like the idea that it’s almost like a litmus test for the audience to say, ‘how crazy is he?’ Most people that I’ve spoken to think he didn’t kill her because they understand the idea that he only kills people that did him wrong. She had nothing to do with it. Most people understood that, even as a villain, he was living by a certain code. Of course, he didn’t kill this woman down the hall.”

The director then revealed that the script included a cutaway moment during Arthur’s interview with Murray Franklin, where we’d see Sophie watching everything on TV. The scene would have confirmed that Arthur didn’t kill Sophie, but that’s not all.

Phillips cut the scene because he wanted it all to be told from Arthur’s point of view. Therein lies the big spoiler: this tiny scene alone would have made it clear to the audience that some of the things we just saw are real. Arthur may be disturbed and he may be imagining events that never happened. But Sophie watching Arthur in a Joker costume on the Murray show would prove that was really happening. And whatever happened during or after the show is what landed Arthur in Arkham.

This deleted scene shoots down all the fan theories that say the events in Joker happened in Arthur’s head, and that he’s not even the real Joker.

Then again, we still have no way of knowing whether Arthur actually killed anybody, whether he shot Murray at the end of the film, or whether he’s the real Joker. He may have still played out those scenarios in his head to a certain degree, or he may have inspired the real Joker sometime later. But two things we now know for sure that he was on the Murray show, and he definitely did something that prompted authorities to have him committed to a mental institution.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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