10 DC Properties That Should Get The Gritty 'Joker' Treatment

The upcoming release of the Joker has shown that DC is prepared to take risks and still follow their desire to create grittier films. Whereas before these dark takes would be part of the DCEU, now they can be part of a much larger universe; this allows for a much more creative exploration of the properties available.

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DC has a lot of characters that could be really interesting to see in this kind of format. The Joker treatment would make sure that the character was depicted in an almost hyper-realistic world. It's an interesting change of pace to the likes of Shazam and could work. So here are 10 characters that should receive Elseworlds films with the Joker treatment.

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The Red Hood is one of the most interesting Batman foes and allies in the DC Universe. He's a character that still hasn't been adapted to the big screen, which is criminal in its own right. An alternative world with a Red Hood, perhaps even linked to the Joker world, could be really interesting.

A look at Jason Todd's descent into madness and his subsequent anti-hero activities is a story that would thrive in such a gritty environment. While some may still be calling for the Batman Who Laughs, Red Hood could be adapted much better in this way.


In a very similar fashion to Red Hood, Arsenal is a character that could really work in such a setting as this. The CW series has shown that a grittier reality for Arsenal to operate in showcases some of the character's deeper complexities.

With a very simple set of skills, a toned-down universe would be a good way to properly entertain the notion of a young vigilante with a bow and arrow trying to survive on the rough streets of Bludhaven. It's a story that very well could find it's way into cinemas if written with the write tone.


Artemis might not be the obvious choice for many, but she's actually a much better-developed character than most would realize. She's got a much darker side than Diana, which could make for a lot of fun. Artemis has had some incredible stories over the years, including replacing Wonder Woman herself.

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Artemis has a strong set of values and it would be interesting to see this anti-hero in a grittier world, away from the magic and the monsters. Artemis operating as a darker version of the Amazonian warrior could produce a completely unique story to the standard DC or superhero film.


Martian Manhunter is undergoing a makeover in DC, with his latest comic run showing an entirely different side to the superhero. The character has been explored on TV but has yet to make the jump to film. Perhaps, this alternate take could be the way to create something truly different.

Martian Manhunter has a lot of complexities, having to hide his alien background while living on a planet full of humans. This could almost be like a throwback monster tale, with J'onn struggling to fit into this strange new world, featuring flashbacks to his time on Mars.


Batman's Rogues Gallery is seemingly perfect for this new strategy that DC is pursuing. When looking at the long list of villains, two jump out as being especially adept for the Joker treatment. Harley Quinn is already heavily featured in DC movies, but this could be Poison Ivy's opportunity.

Rather than an origin tale, the film could tell the story of an eco-warrior who is brought to the brink of despair until her eco-terrorism starts to provide solutions to these problems. It's a tale that's very relevant for today but wouldn't fit in a more over-the-top comic book universe.


Of course, the Atlantean king has experienced huge success as part of the DCEU, but that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to explore the character. Why not take a very different approach to Arthur and put him in a very bleak situation?

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DC could destroy Atlantis, replace Aquaman's hand with a hook, and give Arthur the guilt of losing his people. The end result could be a very different character piece that still has some of the fantastic elements of the comics but also the grit and realism of the Joker. A king without a kingdom could make for a powerful film.


Constantine is an obvious pick for this list. Taking him to a world that has already been overrun with demons would be a fun way to showcase his powers. Usually, his stories are about keeping the demons at bay, but what if he's already lost the war and is now simply about survival.

This way, the film could immediately jump into the action and push the sorcerer to his limits. Somehow this will make the world more magical because the backdrop of the demons and devils aren't our normal Earth but something resembling hell. It's grittier yet gets to the core of what the character is all about.


Another villain that could benefit from an origin story that isn't directly linked to Hal Jordon. Sinestro has a lot of depth and an extensive history that would provide enough content for a proper film adaptation. The villain's exploration of all the powers of the rings and his greed would be a great way to expand a universe.

It's also a tale that could stand on its own while presenting a gritter look at the fall from grace of a hero. Presenting Sinestro as a galaxy saving icon who turns to the power of fear could be the basis of a modern classic. It's a quintessential part of the character and he shouldn't be overshadowed in someone else's film.


Another magic user and one that is absolutely deserving of a feature-length solo film. Zatanna should get the grittier treatment but not in the same way as the others on this list.

Putting a magical being into a non-magical world would make everything seem all the more special. Zatanna would thrive on providing some magic to a universe that has never seen anything like it. You could throw in some of her classic villains but maybe a lot of the film could focus on humanity's reaction and backlash to the reveal that magic exists.


Jonah Hex has to have a standalone feature in a different universe. Doing it any other way wouldn't work for the character. Putting a cowboy into modern America would come off as weird and almost a little tacky. This has to be a completely separate Western project.

That doesn't mean it has to follow any conventions though. What if the alternate gritty world that this film was set in, never surpassed the Western era. If the whole country had descended into this kind of lawlessness, Jonah Hex would have to step up as one of the more powerful sheriffs. This should be a fun take on the character.

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