Someone made a full-length trans Joker parody film, but DC shut it down

A few years ago, TV editor Vera Drew decided to take a friendly bet too far, and announced her wildly ambitious plans to create a full-length satire of Todd Phillips' Joker film, combining pre-existing footage with her own amateur acting. The People's Joker, as it came to be called, was a trans coming-of-age story that aspired to blend surrealist comedy with a bleakly earnest look at the ways that people (especially queer people) process trauma. As Polygon describes it:

Dedicated "to mom and Joel Schumacher," The People's Joker is also a sincere exploration of Vera's journey toward self-realization, beginning with her childhood as a "miserable little girl" trapped in a boy's body in Smallville.

The main character's deadname is bleeped out whenever someone says it out loud, a humorous sign that this is a trans-made production. The film's exploration of her relationship with her mother puts a Band-Aid of humor over real pain. At one point, Vera/Joker and her mom have a screaming match at a cafe, yelling, "You're mentally ill!" "No, you're mentally ill!" at each other. It got a big laugh at TIFF, as it should have.

Vera/Joker narrates much of the film in a Harley Quinn outfit, popping in for tongue-in-cheek "You might be wondering how I got here" asides that epitomize her witty, withering sense of humor. These combine with sincere odes to Batman stories like Hush, The Dark Knight Returns, and yes, Todd Phillips' Joker: Vera/Joker is addicted to a laughing gas prescribed to her in childhood by a doctor trying to suppress her trans identity, and she does dance down a 2D rendering of the famous "Joker stairs"once her transformation is complete.

Of course, Vera didn't have the rights to any of these iconic DC characters. But that didn't stop her (there's probably an argument to be made here about fair use under transformative art as well). The legend of The People's Joker grew and grew, until Vera was given the opportunity to premiere the film at the Toronto International Film Festival

… which is when DC finally sent a cease-and-desist, just hours before the movie was slated to premiere. Several other film festivals have now pulled The People's Joker as well, leaving the future uncertain for this postmodern pastiche of trans supervillainy.

I just hope I live to see it someday.

The People's Joker, a hilarious trans riff on DC characters, shut down over 'rights issues' [Katie Rife / Polygon]