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Joker: How to watch all the DC's Clown Prince of Crime movie and TV appearances in chronological and release order

Joker: Folie a Deux will be dancing its way into theaters next year. Here's how to catch up with the Clown Prince of Crime.

Image credit: Warner Bros.

The Joker may be the Clown Prince of Crime, but he's also the Clown Prince of tricky movie continuity as far as we're concerned. As one of the most iconic and popular comic book villains of all time, he's unsurprisingly a pretty busy guy, with appearances across movies and TV shows that date back over 50 years. And, with the follow-up to his solo movie, 2019's Joker, just around the corner, now is a perfect time to start brushing up on your cinematic Joker history.

We've broken down all of the Joker's live-action appearances and then lined them up in their release order and their chronological order, in case you'd like to get a bird's eye view of Joker's evolution both in continuity and outside of it. Though we will warn you -- Joker's also a pretty famously unreliable narrator, especially when it comes to his own stories, so you'll want to take some of these appearances with a larger-than-average grain of salt!

The release order is pretty simple! Joker has been appearing in live-action since the '60s with the high-camp cult classic TV show, Batman '66s where he was portrayed by Caesar Romero who famously refused to shave his moustache for the role and just slathered white grease paint right over top of it!

Joker movie and TV appearances in release order

Image credit: Warner Bros.

Joker movie and TV appearances in chronological order

Heath Ledger
Image credit: Warner Bros

The Joaquin Phoenix Joker in chronological order

Phoenix's Joker stands apart from the other cinematic Jokers in this list as a super villain story with no real superheroes to speak of. In fact, it's actually pretty generous to call this incarnation of the character a "super villain" at all -- he's really just a messed up guy with some bad intentions and maybe a pretty heavily skewed moral compass, but he's not throwing clown-themed bombs at Batman or anything. In fact, Batman in this universe isn't Batman, he's just very passing reference, a nod to the fact that Bruce Wayne exists.

Still, the Phoenix Joker movies do have a continuity all their own starting to form. With the release of Folie a Deux next year, we'll be able to get a better sense of how these stories fit into a larger picture, or indeed if they fit into a larger picture. But don't worry, the new DC film boss, James Gunn, has already confirmed that they're being considered "Elseworlds" stories, or alternate universes, to the main DCU he's beginning to construct, so no matter what, they'll remain isolated.

  • Joker (2019)
  • Joker: Folie a Deux (2024)

TV Shows, Burton, Nolan, and Pattinson in "chronological" order

Here's where things get a bit funny. For more than a decade, the Joker has been appearing in live-action in a strictly one-off capacity. These stories do not overlap with one another, and they all exist within their own isolated universes and timelines, but they only feature Joker in one, isolated installment. What makes things even more interesting for this particular chunk of time is the fact that many of these movies and shows do have other installments, but not ones that feature or include Joker in any way.

What's going on with Gotham?

The better question might be 'what isn't going on with Gotham?' if we're being honest. While, technically, the show never actually named its Joker character 'The Joker,' actor Cameron Monaghan played a set of identical twins named Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska who were, in every way that mattered, the show's take on Joker. However, the show was riddled with fake outs and red herrings about the Valeskas identities and it wasn't until a DC FanDome virtual event in 2020 that any "confirmation" was made by the company.

What we mean is, counting Gotham in this list requires a tiny grain of salt and is really up for your personal interpretation.

What's next for Pattinson's Batman and the Joker post-credits scene?

The Batman (2022) might be the most up-in-the-air entry in this list. The Joker, played by Barry Koeghan, existed only in a brief post-credits scene that simply nodded to his existence rather than establish anything about the character in this incarnation. Yes, he's got the iconic facial scars and green-ish hair. Yes, he seems to be an inmate of Arkham with a connection or an awareness of Batman -- but beyond that? We're left with a lot of questions. A sequel to The Batman is currently slated for release in 2025, but details are still scarce and no teasers or trailers have been made available.

Batman '66 and Batman (1989) aren't in the same continuity, despite the camp

The Batman '66 TV show is a cult classic for countless reasons -- biff! Bam! Pow! But one of the most promenant ones is Cesar Romero's take on The Joker, who quickly became a breakout favorite for his wacky, high camp take on the character. Romero's Joker stands alone within the continuity of the show, but that doesn't mean his influences haven't been felt on everything that came after, and none more so than in Batman (1989). Tim Burton's vision of Gotham folded in elements of his own signature dark fantasy styles (and the darker, more mature direction the comics themselves had been going since the '70s) with the absurdity and the flare of the '66 show. You can see the obvious evolution between Romero's campy clown and Jack Nicholson's silly-but-scary version of the villain.

So, while these two stories are not within the same timeline, they're more spiritually related to one another than any other enteries on this list!

What about Nolan's movies?

Heath Ledger's Joker may be one of the most infulential and well recieved performances in superhero movie history, and, if not for the tragedy of his death before the release of the movie, it is safe to say we would have had had many more chances to encounter the character in different stories. But, as things go, we're left with only The Dark Knight. It may be the second entry in Nolan's trilogy, but it stands alone.

What about the Snyder films?

While Zack Snyder himself is only responsible for directing a very brief cameo appearance of the Joker, the era the director defined within the DC Universe actually did maintain a continuity for the character across multiple films. Played by Jared Leto, this version of the Joker got his start with Suicide Squad, then was featured in a flashback during Birds of Prey, and then a flashfoward in the "snydercut" of Justice League.

What do we know about Joker 2?

There isn't a ton of information available about Folie a Deux, but we do know that Lady GaGa will be playing Harley Quinn and, apparently, it will be a musical. It is currently being billed as a "musical thriller" and writer/director Todd Philips will be returning to write and direct as well.


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About the Author

Mason Downey

Contributing writer

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