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New Joker Clips Tease Trailer Coming Wednesday

It didn't take the World's Greatest Detective to solve this mystery.

A series of six short clips posted to the Instagram account of Todd Phillips, director of the forthcoming Joaquin Phoenix starrer Joker, teased that we'll soon get a new trailer for the highly anticipated film — specifically, the spot will drop this Wednesday, August 28.

They may be extremely brief, but the clips are also provocative and atmospheric, which lines up quite nicely with the vibe of the amazing first trailer we got for the film back in April. Each of them features a brief flash of white writing scrawled on a black background; if you take the time to screenshot each one and piece them together (or even if you're just, you know, paying halfway close attention), they're revealed to contain the message, "Trailer 8.28."

The first clip features the great Robert DeNiro, taking the stage as talk show host Murray Franklin. In case you're not aware, Joker was influenced by the films of Martin Scorsese (who was even attached as a producer at one point), and DeNiro's appearance as a talk show host is a distinct nod to one of the master filmmaker's most unheralded works: 1983's The King of Comedy. That flick (which is freaking incredible, by the by) starred DeNiro as Rupert Pupkin, a failed comedian who becomes obsessed with, and eventually kidnaps, a talk show host played by the legendary Jerry Lewis. It is certainly no coincidence that Phoenix's Arthur Fleck is also a failed comedian, and King of Comedy is thought to be a particularly heavy influence on Phillips' film.

The second video is a slow-motion montage of Fleck cavorting on a set of concrete steps, a slightly different angle on a scene featured in the trailer (one which is already becoming iconic). Phoenix's commitment to his role is obvious in every frame of the trailer, but particularly in this scene, in which he projects the air of a man utterly liberated by having nothing left to lose in a way that has never quite been seen before on film. Dear reader, there's a reason that Phoenix is garnering Oscar buzz based on the trailer for Joker alone.

The third clip is a tight shot of the kitchen of Fleck's dark, cramped apartment, as the future Joker climbs into his refrigerator and shuts the door — then, for good measure, opens it and closes it again just to make sure it's securely shut. This scene was not featured in the trailer, but it sure has piqued our curiosity; perhaps it's an interminable heat wave that ultimately pushes Fleck over the edge.

The fourth video is the shot from the trailer of Fleck, fully decked out in his Joker makeup, standing in an elevator waiting for the door to close — another image which has already been burned into fans' brains. 

The fifth clip is a shot, also featured in the trailer, of a made-up Fleck bolting underneath a traffic overpass in the dead of night in a panic, toting a large bag of what appears to be cash. We're thinking that we might be seeing the Joker's first-ever foray into criminal activity here, although it's anybody's guess where all of that loot came from.

Finally, Phillips' last post is a never-before-seen shot of Fleck from behind, striding purposefully toward what might be an apartment building on a very rainy night in Gotham. Fleck doesn't appear to be made up in this shot, but his body language suggests that he has a very serious — perhaps murderous — task to attend to.

It seems likely that the two new shots Phillips chose for his little tease will figure into the trailer we have coming on Wednesday, and if we're being honest, we hope that the entire clip follows the lead of these brief snippets by not giving away too much. Joker looks like a comic book film unlike any other; while Heath Ledger's blindingly brilliant performance as the Joker from 2008's The Dark Knight will always be remembered as one of the greatest depictions of the character ever put to film, that movie and Joker look about as different from each other as The Avengers is from Taxi Driver. We are of the opinion that the last thing Phillips' film needs is one of those trailers that gives away the whole plot, because it really seems like a flick that audiences should go into as cold as possible.

That being said, we're going to be all over it when the new trailer drops on Wednesday, and of course, we'll be breaking down for you every small detail we can find. We trust that the movie's marketing team won't be spilling too many beans, because it looks to us like it has a lot of surprises in store, and also — at the risk of hyperbole — like it might just slip in under the wire as one of the best features of this decade.

Joker hits screens on October 4, 2019.