James Gunn will introduce the DCU’s new Batman in The Brave and the Bold, but which actor should play a new iteration of the Joker in the reboot?
- Bill Skarsgård is a popular choice for the Joker, given his ability to bring clown-like villains to life, but he may be too young for an older Batman.
- Steve Zahn’s overlooked acting ability and versatility make him a great candidate to portray the Joker’s comedic edge.
- Skeet Ulrich, though less high-profile, has proven his ability to play dark and dangerous characters and could blend perfectly into the role of the Joker.
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James Gunn will be rebooting the character of Batman into the DCU in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and there are many excellent casting choices to play a new version of the Joker beside the franchise’s new Dark Knight. Few hero-villain pairings are as iconic as that of Batman and the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime has been a staple of many of Batman’s greatest stories for decades and is often considered the Caped Crusader’s most dangerous adversary. The character has undergone a number of changes over the years, with many variations of the Joker finding popularity on both the page and screen.
Little is known about any of the upcoming DC movies set to release in Chapter 1: “Gods and Monsters,” leaving plenty of room for speculation over which comic or movie versions of heroes and villains will most inspire their next big-screen debut. Though there have already been several live-action incarnations of the Joker, there’s still plenty of room to both stay true to the core of the character while avoiding repeating iconic performances of the past. With that in mind, these ten actors can all bring their own unique spin to the DC Universe’s Joker.
10 Bill Skarsgård
One of the most often talked-about names in connection with potential Joker castings is Bill Skarsgård, best known for the role of Pennywise the Clown in It and It Chapter Two. Having already played one clown villain, Skarsgård’s ability to bring the Joker to life is already evident, making him an obvious choice for a perfect movie Joker. However, if Batman: The Brave and the Bold focuses on an older Batman, as the inclusion of Damian Wayne may suggest, Skarsgård could be a bit too young for this version of The Dark Knight.
Related: Every Actor Who’s Played The Joker In Live-Action
9 Steve Zahn
Though Steve Zahn might not be the most obvious choice to play the Joker in Batman: The Brave and the Bold or its sequels, he could prove perfect for the part. Zahn’s acting ability is all too often overlooked – most recently showcased by his fantastic performance in The White Lotus season 1 – but he has found success in multiple genres. He’d be capable of communicating the Joker’s comedic edge without question, and he’s also shown that he’s more than capable of bringing a more serious intensity when the script calls for it.
Related: 10 DC Universe Batman Fancasts That We Totally Want To See
8 Skeet Ulrich
Considering everything already known about Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Skeet Ulrich could potentially be a good fit for the DCU’s new Joker. Though he’s somewhat less high-profile than other actors in popular consideration, Ulrich’s past successes hint at excellent potential for the Batman villain. His duplicitous villain role in Scream clearly demonstrated Ulrich’s ability to play dark and dangerous characters, and his less-distinct Hollywood profile would allow him to blend perfectly into the role. Though he may be an unorthodox choice, Skeet Ulrich could be an excellent Joker in the DCU.
7 Johnny Knoxville
Although Johnny Knoxville may not be best known for more serious roles, it’s undeniable that he could deliver a solid performance as the Joker. The Jackass star not only has the perfect height, build, and features for the role, but he’s also known for his physical comedy and energetic persona. Knoxville’s Joker would likely not be as dark or scary as other incarnations of the character, but considering James Gunn’s comedically slanted filmmaking style, Johnny Knoxville might be a perfect choice for the Joker under the right conditions.
6 Christoph Waltz
Should the DCU’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold want to take a more nuanced approach to adapting its story, Christoph Waltz would be the perfect actor to play the Joker. Waltz is revered as one of the finest actors of modern times, having delivered a number of exceptional performances in Quentin Tarantino movies such as Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds. Waltz has clearly demonstrated a flair for portraying terrifyingly charismatic movie villains, and he would be an excellent choice to play an older version of the iconic Batman villain.
5 Adam Driver
Though Adam Driver is one of the younger actors on this list, he too could play a convincing and compelling Joker in James Gunn’s DCU. Driver’s height and facial features afford him certain physical similarities to classic comic book incarnations of the Joker, and his ability to deliver energetic and unsettling performances would make him a solid choice for the role. Though Driver would perhaps not be the obvious choice for the villain, he could become an excellent Joker under the care of James Gunn for Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Related: 7 Perfect Batman Villains For The Brave & The Bold
4 Nicolas Cage
As one of Hollywood’s most recognizable and energetic stars, few actors would be as unforgettable in the role of the Joker as Nicolas Cage. The actor is known for his ability to deliver grandiose performances as unstable characters, and he always brings an electrifying presence to the screen that would translate brilliantly to the iconic villain. Cage’s previous acting credits highlight the many qualities he possesses that qualify him for the role, and his renowned love of comic books would also gel well with his induction into the DCU.
3 Willem Dafoe
Perhaps the most-often fan-cast Joker, no list of potential Joker actors would be complete without Willem Dafoe. The actor has often expressed his interest in the role and was even rumored to be playing a version of the villain in Joker: Folie à Deux‘s cast, and it’s easy to see why he’d be the perfect version of the villain. His broad grin, facial features, and versatile physicality all more than qualify him for the role, and his age could well also be a perfect fit for Batman: The Brave and the Bold‘s story should James Gunn wish to capitalize on the most popular choice for the role.
2 Macaulay Culkin
Despite having found fame as a child actor and having spent a number of years retired, Macaulay Culkin’s return to acting could see him become the perfect person to play the DCU’s Joker. Culkin’s physical frame and build are perfect for playing the villain, and he’s possibly the actor who looks most like the character’s traditional comic book appearance. Though his acting credits may not specifically qualify him for the role, his physical resemblance to the character and his well-documented sense of humor certainly paint him as a perfect potential Joker.
1 Crispin Glover
When it comes to Hollywood talent perfect for the role of the Joker, Crispin Glover is almost certainly the best choice for the role. His ability to portray eccentric and unnerving characters is second to none, and he also possesses a distinct knack for unorthodox comedy. With a little clown makeup and a sharp purple suit, Glover would make the ideal Joker, and his age would also be perfect for the projected timeline of Batman: The Brave and the Bold‘s story – making Crispin Glover the perfect choice for the new version of the Joker in the DCU.
Key Release Dates
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Release Date: 2023-12-20
- Joker: Folie a Deux Release Date: 2024-10-04
- Superman: Legacy Release Date: 2025-07-11
- The Batman – Part II Release Date: 2025-10-03