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The Batman Fans Already Know Who They Want As The Next Joker

Bat-fans are quickly forming a consensus opinion about who they would like to see playing the next Clown Prince of Crime.

The roster of villains for the upcoming The Batman may already be set, but it seems only a matter of time before the next cinematic incarnation of the Joker arrives to vex Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight. The fan favorite choice for the role: Willem Dafoe, who co-starred with Pattinson in last year's Robert Eggers-directed psychological horror flick The Lighthouse.

Now, it's obvious that fans have no say in casting Hollywood productions, and you never know — The Batman just might just flop spectacularly, thereby failing to even earn a sequel. (We seriously doubt it will, but anything's possible.) Having said that, we're going to go ahead and file this fan-casting under "W" for "Why the hell didn't we think of that" — because yeah, now that the notion of Dafoe as the Joker is out there, it certainly seems like the definition of a no-brainer.

The veteran actor is possessed of a wiry physicality which is perfect for the role; his facial structure and toothy grin are also custom-made for Jokerdom, as evidenced by the fan art above. His role in The Lighthouse demonstrated in one fell swoop that a) he has incredible chemistry with Pattinson, and b) his skill at portraying wild-eyed craziness has in no way diminished over the years, and to top it all off, he already has experience  filling the shoes of an iconic supervillain. We'll further explore that qualification in a bit, but first, let's hear from the fans.

What are fans saying about Willem Dafoe as the Joker?

Fans on Twitter have been psyching themselves up to see Willem portray "da foe" of Pattinson's Batman (we're truly sorry, we just couldn't resist) ever since The Lighthouse dropped last October. The flick is essentially a two-man stage production with Dafoe and Pattinson continually one-upping each other in the crazy department, and the two actors' intense chemistry had lighthouse-sized light bulbs appearing over the heads of Bat-fans far and wide (we know, we're really on a roll here).

"Willem Dafoe as Joker, in a post-credit scene of The Batman," wrote user @SEALkraven. "Just imagine." A heap of fellow Twitterers followed that instruction, filling out the thread with succinct replies such as "dies w/ excitement."

One user even posited that that sneaky Matt Reeves, The Batman's writer-director, might have gone so far as to already set this up — and is just waiting to spring it on fans in the fashion described above. "Imagine if Willem Dafoe has been secretly cast as The Joker in The Batman," they wrote, "and it's not revealed until the end in his cell in Arkham to set up the sequel."

Other users asserted that the Joker was nothing less than the role that Dafoe was born to play, and some expressed their shock that such a spot-on casting choice had never come to fruition before. Oddly enough, it turns out that the idea of casting Dafoe as the Clown Prince of Crime has been had before — by the guy who wrote the screenplay that would evolve into Tim Burton's Batman.

Willem Dafoe is no stranger to supervillainy

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, Dafoe recalled that Sam Hamm — who wrote the initial drafts of Batman — had talked him up for the role of the Joker, which of course eventually went to Jack Nicholson. "Hamm said something about how physi­cally I would be perfect for the part," Dafoe remembered, "but they never offered it to me."

Perhaps inevitably, though, Dafoe got his chance to portray a cackling, unhinged supervillain when he was cast as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, one of the films that gave birth to the modern superhero genre. Of course, he absolutely crushed the role — although Raimi and screenwriter David Koepp made the same mistake Hamm and script doctor Warren Skaaren had made with Batman, killing off the iconic villain in his very first appearance. (Dafoe would briefly reprise the role in a memorable cameo in Spider-Man 2, which saw Osborn angrily imploring his son Harry to avenge him in a hallucination.)

Since then, Dafoe has dipped his toes in the superhero pool — so to speak — in 2018's Aquaman, in which he popped up as the titular character's friend and adviser Vulko. This would in no way preclude him from taking on the role of the Joker, though, as The Batman and its potential sequels will be set in a different universe than the main DCEU timeline.

We would sure love for this bit of fan casting to come to fruition — and somehow, we have the feeling that if Dafoe were approached, he would be totally down. Hey, Warner Bros.: you have the power to make Bat-fans the world over freak out just by giving the guy a call. How about it?