An Unauthorized Parody Of Joker And Harley Quinn With A Trans Twist Got Yanked From The Toronto International Film Festival Lineup

The MCU has a lot of plates spinning these days, but they’re only telling one, increasingly huge story. DC has another approach: They have multiple iterations on the same characters. For instance, there are currently three Harley Quinns going: the one played in movies by Margot Robbie; the one in the darker Joker wing that will soon be played by Lady Gaga; and the animated HBO Max series, voiced by Kaley Cuoco. But now there’s one more, even if she shouldn’t exist.

As per The Daily Beast, the Toronto International Film Festival just yanked The People’s Joker, an unauthorized, crowdfunded indie parody that uses the names and likenesses of multiple DC characters, most prominently Joker and his gal pal. The twist? It’s actually a trans coming-of-age story. The plot of filmmaker Vera Drew’s debut, as per the Beast:

The People’s Joker follows a clown whose chosen name is Joker the Harlequin. Raised in Smallville by a repressive mother and numbed by a drug called Smylex—which does less to alter one’s mood than one’s facial expression—Joker eventually strikes out on her own to figure out who she really is. Eventually, she finds comedy—which, in this interpretation of Gotham City, has been outlawed unless you’re a cast member on a powerful show called “UCB Live.”

The trailer, which bills it as “an Illegal comic book movie,” also features appearances from Bane and the “Hello There” neon sign featured in Selena Kyle/Catwoman’s apartment in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Meanwhile, an animated parody of Lorne Michaels is voiced by no less than current SNL cast member Sara Sherman, recorded before she got her gig. Awkward!

Alas, the film wound up being removed from the TIFF slate due to “rights issues,” which may or may not stem from Warner Bros. The disappearance has prompted some online to rally for it to nab the festival’s People’s Choice Award.

There may be a silver lining here: The film could be protected by the first amendment, which protects parodies. And The People’s Joker includes a title card at the beginning making the case for Fair Use. While it may not wind up back on the TIFF roster, it may have a future after all.

You can watch the trailer for The People’s Joker in the video above.

(Via The Daily Beast)