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SYFY WIRE Willem Dafoe

Watch Willem Dafoe respond to Joker fan-casting on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'

Dafoe's tenure as Green Goblin proved he's got what it takes to play a great comic book super-villain.

By Josh Weiss
Willem Dafoe; Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker in JOKER (2019)

For years, comic book fans have put forth the idea that Willem Dafoe would make a great Joker in some sort of live-action Batman project. Dafoe — who already proved his super-villain chops as Green Goblin in the Spider-Man mythos — responded to the online clarion call to cast him as Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime during Tuesday night's episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

"I floated an idea awhile ago, but it didn't quite happen," said the actor, laying out a proposal for how it could work. "Listen, I didn't really float it to [Warner Bros.], I just mentioned it in an interview and then it kind of went out on the internet. But I thought it would be cool for me to play an imposter slipstreaming his thing ... It would be cool."

Watch the full interview below:

The interview to which Dafoe referred took place with GQ last summer when he floated the concept of a copycat Joker in the cinematic world occupied by Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck.

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“There is something interesting about, like, if there was a Joker imposter. So it would be possible to have not dueling Jokers but someone that [claims] to be the Joker that isn't the Joker," he remarked at the time. "And that kind of opens up the possibility of an interesting story, particularly if you had Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, and then you had someone who was either imitating or riffing off what he did. I fantasized about that. But other than that I am not talking to anybody [about it], you're the first one."

A Joker sequel is currently in the midst of production, with Phoenix reprising the Oscar-winning role. Subtitled Folie à Deux, the follow-up co-stars Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn. Todd Phillips returns to direct, working off a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver. According to the new DC Studios guidelines set down by James Gunn and Peter Safran, this franchise falls under the "Elseworlds" banner.

Joker: Folie à Deux arrives on the big screen Oct. 4, 2024.

All episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are now streaming on Peacock, including the latest episode featuring Dafoe. New episodes of The Tonight Show air at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.