The trailer for Joker finally arrived on Wednesday, and it gave us our first hugely anticipated glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime.
In the first glimpse of the upcoming movie, we see Phoenix as struggling street performer Arthur Fleck, who is driven to madness and crime by the cruelty of others. As he becomes the Joker, he concludes: “I used to think that my life was a tragedy. Now I realise that it’s a comedy.”
While Arthur’s name is seemingly innocuous, fans have noticed that there’s something unexpectedly significant in his initials. When shortened, we get A.Fleck. This, of course, sounds mightily similar to the man who last played the Caped Crusader before vacating the role.
“Releasing a JOKER trailer on Ledger’s Birthday is pissing on Heath’s grave. Also this Joker’s name is Arthur Fleck (A.Fleck as in Ben Affleck) had to be a dig on the former Batman,” wrote one user.
“The Joker’s name being A. Fleck has to be a joke on Ben Affleck, right? And yes, that’s the only thought I have about that movie,” said another.
Releasing a JOKER trailer on Ledger's Birthday is pissing on Heath's grave.
Also this Joker's name is Arthur Fleck (A.Fleck as in Ben Affleck) had to be a dig on the former Batman.
This movie disrespects what came before it. https://t.co/2PwsBgESvL
— Two Strangers One Podcast (@strangerpodcast) April 5, 2019
The Joker's name being A. Fleck has to be a joke on Ben Affleck, right? And yes, that's the only thought I have about that movie.
— Nick Hanover (@Nick_Hanover) April 3, 2019
Batman is played by Ben Affleck
Arthur Fleck is the name of this #Joker
A. Fleck….. pic.twitter.com/bG1L6mw4EN
— elliott (@elliottwit2tees) April 4, 2019
What’s up with Joker’s name being Arthur Fleck? I thought it was Jack Napier… A. Fleck sounds like a weird jab at Ben Affleck
— Yung Oat Milk (@TwittsMcGee) April 4, 2019
But not everyone was quite so convinced, with some users pointing out that the similarity was previously pointed out when the film was announced last year – long before Affleck’s departure.
As well as Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, and Marc Maron star in the film.
Maron, who portrays Ted Marco in the upcoming movie, told NME last month that despite being formerly critical of comic book movies, he’s confident about this particular reboot.
“I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world,” Maron said. “I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little pushback in the press for being a hypocrite.
“Whatever I think, if you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’ your principals fall to the wayside.
He continued: “If it’s relative to what I think of Marvel movies then it’s like, ‘Yeah, of course I’m gonna do that’. Oddly, it’s not that kind of movie. The approach that Todd Phillips has taken is more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker.”