The screen is one weekly column devoted to everything that happens in the WIRED cultural world, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.
Throughout history, there is no shortage Batman Adaptation: movies, TV shows, animated series. The captured Crusaders and villains make them uncomfortable, filling the screens every year. It’s overkill. But this week, a new kind of Batman movie premiered, and while it may be one of the best Batman movies in years, you’ll likely never get the chance to see it.
On September 13, The People’s Joker made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Billed as “an illegal comic book movie,” the film turns the story of one of Bat’s most infamous villains into a coming-of-age transverse story. However, after the midnight screening, the film was drag from the past TIFF lineup”rights issue. “One of the most interesting, quirky Batman-related stories to come out in years now is a vanishing act.
What, exactly, happened is still a bit unclear. Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns the rights to DC Comics, has yet to respond to WIRED’s request for comment, but Diversity report Wednesday that “it appears that the studio has issued a cease and desist order to block the next three screenings of the film at TIFF.” On Thursday, Vera Drew, the film’s screenwriter/director/star, posted a statement on Twitter saying she received an “angry letter” (not a discontinuation and cancellation) and added that after receiving the letter, she told TIFF about it and that they “agreed to the planned release while scaling back our later screenings to minimize the possibility of failure.” She also noted that the film is looking for distribution partners and will soon screen at other film festivals.
“I don’t respond well to bullying or pressure from anonymous organisations. It just makes me feel and what I’m saying with this movie,” she said Diversity. “We are looking for buyers and distribution partners who will protect us and make this film accessible to transgender people and their families everywhere.”
There, Drew has a point, and not just because she wants her movie to end up somewhere but trash. Although it’s not originally a fanfiction, a movie like The People’s Joker does what so many fanfics do: bring people — and/or their life experiences or aspirations — into stories where they don’t exist. Drew has said that the film is a reflection of her own transition and mental health struggles, and while the film – a homemade work of acting on the green screen, the scenes are animated. 8-bit graphics and do-it-yourself setting – will never be confused with anything in the DCEU, it’s an expression of what it feels like when you’re weird and trying to see yourself in that franchise .