While you won’t find a “Joker” alternate ending available to view online, rumors about one persist thanks to a tidbit shared by filmmaker Kevin Smith on his “Fatman Beyond” podcast (via CinemaBlend). In a discussion of the film, Smith explains that he was told about a proposed original ending for the movie in which Arthur himself is revealed to be the Wayne family’s killer, and Bruce Wayne ends up in his crosshairs.
“Originally, the ending in the hospital was different,” Smith shared. “He’s in the hospital and he laughs, chuckles, and he says, ‘I was just thinkin’ of something funny.'” In the theatrical version of the film, a quick flash to the aftermath of the Wayne killing shows that he was thinking about the deaths of Bruce’s parents, but there’s no implication that he was the man in the clown mask. According to Smith, though, “What was supposed to happen was you flashed back to the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne and it was him killing Thomas and Martha Wayne.”
What’s more, the version of the end Smith describes sounds like it would have one final, black-hearted punchline. “And the boy was screaming and crying,” Smith described, “and [Arthur] turned to walk away and he turned back, shrugged, shot the kid. Credits.” Honestly, I admire the ballsiness of an ending that would hinge on a dark joke about how little the movie cares about the story of Batman, but given how poorly a similar joke about The Illuminati went over in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” it might be a good thing if the movie pulled back from this ending. Instead, we got ambiguity. As Sinatra would say, “That’s life!”