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We Don’t Want Any Donald Trump in Our Batman, Thank You Very Much

Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live

That Batman spinoff stand-alone Joker movie no one asked for keeps getting weirder and weirder. Some of the casting choices—including Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, with Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, and Robert DeNiro also announced—have been intriguing enough to almost make us forget how over-trodden a Joker movie sounds in the first place. (At least it beats the hell out of the idea of another Jared Leto Joker performance—which, by the way, is still in the works, according to IMDB.)

Then, yesterday, Deadline announced that Alec Baldwin would be joining the cast. Warner Bros. hasn’t confirmed his role yet, but a bunch of sources are saying he’ll play Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father.

Ugh. I’m not exactly excited about the idea of watching Alec Baldwin do anything at the moment. He revealed a part of himself last year when he attacked Rose McGowan and Asia Argento on Twitter (the latter of whom, while she has been accused of abuse herself, is still a victim of another abuser as well) and compared Dylan Farrow to the false rape accuser in To Kill a Mockingbird. There are plenty of people who can separate the art from the artist here, and I get that in this case. For others, he’s just not very fun to watch anymore.

But wait! It gets worse!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this won’t be the Thomas Wayne we’re used to. “But this being a movie project that will veer off-center from the traditional Batman canon,” they write, “sources say the script paints Thomas Wayne as a cheesy and tanned businessman who is more in the mold of a 1980s Donald Trump.”

Who the hell thought it would be an acceptable idea to make Bruce Wayne’s dad into Donald Trump? I get that this movie is going off-canon and that things can evolve, but this choice seems gross. Thomas Wayne—who we pretty much only know through flashbacks and Bruce’s memories of him—is a philanthropist and genuinely good man. Even in versions where he’s portrayed as a distant father, he’s still a good and decent man.

His influence on Bruce is strong, especially having died when Bruce was so young. He’s meant to exist forever as Bruce’s idea of what a man should be. Please don’t make this his ultimate role model. Plus, if Thomas is now Donald Trump-ish, does that make Bruce Wayne Don Jr?? I DON’T LIKE THIS TIMELINE.

The movie has been described as a “gritty character study,” but Todd Phillips, who’s writing and directing the movie, is known for comedies like The Hangover (and its sequels), Old School, and Road Trip. A gritty Joker movie seemed like a stretch. It makes a lot more sense now.

Of course, it’s still very early—the film isn’t even scheduled to begin shooting for a few weeks. I genuinely am interested to see what direction they go with this movie, and whether it can set itself apart from the existing Jokerverse. Will it be another Batman origin story with Thomas getting Uncle Ben’d in an alley yet again? Or will it be a Gotham-esque prequel, focusing more on the elder Waynes’ place in the city?

Will Baldwin have a cameo, or play a larger role? We don’t know anything for sure, but with news like this coming out of production, strap in for a long year-plus of speculation.

(image: Will Heath/NBC)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.