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Small details you missed in the final Joker trailer

The final trailer for Todd Phillips' Joker is out — and while there's still plenty of mystery about the plot, this clip does give us some important new information. While we see Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) waiting behind the curtains to appear on Murray Frankin's (Robert De Niro) show in the earlier trailer, we see the two characters interact for the first time in this one, including watching Murray talk smack about Fleck on TV. We also see what looks like a first kiss between Fleck and Sophie (Zazie Beetz) and a confrontation that turns violent between Fleck and Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) — doomed father of the future Batman. 

Unlike most films based on comics, there aren't a lot of what you'd think of as Easter eggs in the trailer. According to director Todd Phillips, fans shouldn't be expecting much from the comics at all. Still there are details that aren't quite as obvious. There are some details that go by so quickly you could hardly be blamed for not noticing them, while others are subtle thematic touches that speak to exactly what kind of Joker we're dealing with here. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the small details you may have missed in the final trailer for Todd Phillips' Joker.

To Joker, making faces is more than a game

One of the first things we see in the new trailer is Arthur Fleck riding a bus through Gotham. First we see him slumped against the window, and next he's making faces at the young boy in the seat in front of him — something the boy's mother doesn't appreciate. 

It's a simple, fun game sure to get toddlers giggling, but in the context of what we know is coming, Fleck's play here is more than a game. Joker promises to be about a mentally ill man who undergoes a drastic transformation. Since — unlike in the comics or in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film — this Joker's creation doesn't seem to have anything to do with being dropped into a vat of toxic chemicals, Fleck will have to find a way to let the world know he's changed. And how will he do that? With his face — more specifically with the clown makeup he wears as the Joker. 

In other words, the trailer opens with Arthur Fleck doing to the boy what he'll soon do to entire world — change his face and become something different. The only difference is if anyone else tells him to stop, they won't be lucky as the bus-riding mother.

Fleck's sign has more meaning than you think

Seeing Arthur Fleck work as a sign-spinning clown — presumably before his transformation into the Joker — isn't anything new if you've been paying attention. We see him dancing with his sign and subsequently getting harassed, beaten, and probably robbed in the first trailer, but we get a better look this time around at that sign, which announces "EVERYTHING MUST GO!!"

Like Fleck making faces with the young boy, this is another thematic signal. At some point in Joker, Arthur Fleck is going to snap. When that happens, it seems likely "EVERYTHING MUST GO" may very well become one of his favorite slogans — maybe in an apocalyptic sense, or maybe even just on a personal level, i.e. everything of Arthur Fleck must go to make way for the Joker.

It's also difficult to not see this scene as partly inspired by the violent vigilante Rorschach of Watchmen. When he's not in costume, Rorschach is shown doing little more than walking around New York City and holding a sign that reads "THE END IS NIGH." Fleck's sign reads like an answer to Rorschach's, regardless of how much Todd Phillips claims Joker has nothing to do with the comics.

Arthur Fleck's mother is dying

While Arthur's mother Penny (Frances Conroy) is prominently featured in the first Joker trailer, we don't see her much this time around. Really, you could hardly be blamed if you didn't notice her. She's only in a couple of brief shots and her face is covered when she appears. But what you notice pretty quickly when you see her may be the main catalyst that sparks Fleck's transformation — Arthur's mother is dying.

When Arthur realizes Murray Franklin is on TV and talking about him, he's in his mother's hospital room. We briefly see Penny in her bed on the right, with a breathing apparatus attached to her face, possibly with a breathing tube inserted. If that's the case, then there's a good chance Penny Fleck isn't long for this world. If she dies, then it seems likely this will be one of the events that pushes Arthur over the edge. 

Something's so funny he forgets to laugh

We hear Joaquin Phoenix's chilling Joker cackle in the middle of the trailer, though the circumstances are strange. Fleck is walking down a hallway while buttoning up a shirt. Possibly this is where he works and he's just ended his shift. We can make out someone behind him sitting at a table. Fleck keeps laughing until he comes to a turn in the hallway and he abruptly stops laughing, frowns, and continues on. 

It's interesting because it's a very Joker laugh, but it's belted out in a very non-Joker way. It seems like maybe Fleck is laughing just to placate his coworkers, maybe his boss, and so just stops as soon as he's out of earshot. It suggests the Joker is something of a persona Fleck is slowly building; that it begins completely as a front, as something to protect himself from social situations he's not equipped to handle. But what is initially a ruse — no more real than the makeup or the clown costume he wears — will soon become his "true" self.

Fleck loves kids

The Joker likes kids. Or, at least, Arthur Fleck does. There's a brief shot toward the end of the trailer of Fleck clowning around for kids in a hospital, and of course early in the trailer he's making faces to entertain a boy on a Gotham City bus. We also see him trying to entertain the young Bruce Wayne (Dante Pereira-Olson) in the first Joker trailer, though it's possible he has an ulterior motive for that since Thomas Wayne seems to be his adversary in some way.

While you would normally think "Sure he likes kids, he's a clown," this isn't a common aspect of Joker stories. Usually if the Joker has anything to do with children he's killing them, trying to kill them, or threatening to kill them. A Joker who seems to genuinely enjoy entertaining them with non-lethal methods is intriguing — though most of the interactions we've seen Joker have with children seem to be before his transformation into the Joker. It will be interesting to see if his love for children survives. 

Thomas Wayne's confrontation brings up a lot of questions

In the first Joker trailer, we only see Thomas Wayne on the television. This time, we see Arthur Fleck and Wayne standing face to face, and the confrontation gets heated enough that Wayne punches Fleck. We don't see exactly why Wayne is angry. When Wayne asks "Is this a joke to you?" we don't know what he's talking about. However, it's possible the timing of of the Wayne/Fleck confrontation in the trailer may contain a clue. 

Right before we see Wayne throw his punch, we get two shots that were also in the first trailer — Fleck smashing his head against a metal mesh barrier while grabbing for a file and then running down a hallway, looking as if he's being chased, still holding the file. 

What file folder does Fleck steal? It looks like he's in Arkham State Hospital. If he's in Arkham then it seems he steals a patient file. Stealing his own file wouldn't be very useful. But what if the file he steals comes from the "W" section? W for Wayne? What if when Wayne attacks Fleck, it's because Fleck's just revealed he has some sensitive information about a Wayne? Like… one of them being severely mentally ill?

Which member of the Wayne family could possibly suffer from severe mental illness? Maybe… one who will grow up to dress like a bat and dropkick people a lot?

We finally get a glimpse at Marc Maron

We've heard a lot about comedian Marc Maron getting cast in Joker. The news raised a few eyebrows particularly because Maron has been outspoken regarding his low opinion of superhero movies. The new trailer gives us our first look at Maron as Ted Marco. He appears toward the end with Murray and Fleck, as the latter asks to be introduced as "Joker." 

For a while it wasn't completely clear exactly what Maron's role in Joker would be, but in mid-June 2019 while promoting Sword of Trust, he opened up about Marco, saying, "I basically play De Niro's producer in a quick scene." He added that his role isn't very big, but that the scene itself is pivotal. Maron went on to say that his character "is a guy trying to manage the whole situation" between the Joker and Murray. 

This could mean that the Joker hasn't forgiven Murray for humiliating him, as we see earlier in the trailer, and that Ted Marco's there as a peacemaker. Regardless, considering how Murray disses the Joker, we wouldn't suggest falling in love with him. 

Phoenix's Joker is a clown with a clown mask, just like another Joker

Toward the end of the trailer we see a melee on a subway between the police and a bunch of Joker's followers. In the middle of it, Joker — even though he's already in full clown makeup — puts on one of his followers' clown masks, probably to disguise himself. 

While director Todd Phillips' seems to be adamant about the lack of comic book inspiration in Joker – not counting, you know, all the comic book characters — this seems like a tribute to another memorable comic book movie. It's very difficult to not think of the opening of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger's legendary Joker. The first time Ledger's Joker is onscreen his back is to us while his hand holds the clown mask he's about to put on as part of the bank robbery. At the end of the opening scene, when he delivers his "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you… stranger" line, we learn even though he's been wearing a clown mask, he's been in his clown makeup the entire time.

We've seen little violence from the Clown Prince of Crime

One of the most interesting things about Joker's final trailer — and the first one — is what we don't see. Even though we know to expect a bloody, violent movie, we've seen almost no violence at all in the trailers. At least, no violence from Joker himself. We've seen him get punched and kicked by Thomas Wayne, by muggers, and by jerks on a subway. We've seen his followers clash with the cops. But we have yet to see Joker himself attack anyone.

The only possible exception is a shot toward the end of the final trailer when Fleck appears to be stomping on something in an alley, but it isn't clear if he's attacking a person or just stomping out of frustration — either seems likely. 

And yet one of the most memorable images from the trailer seems to clearly come right after Joker murders someone. We see him in a bathroom, cleaning himself off. At one point he dances slowly and we see what appears to be smeared blood on his chin. Likewise, when he speaks with Murray and Marco, there's a red mark on his make-up bib that looks like it could easily be blood. And yet in spite of everything being suggested, when it comes the violence of a character largely defined by violence, we've seen almost nothing.