On his podcast Fatman on Batman, Kevin Smith talked about an alleged alternate ending for Joker, in which the clown prince shoots the entire Wayne family, including young Bruce. This news comes from someone Smith calls a reliable inside source.
According the source, the final hospital scene would have originally played out differently. The psychiatrist was going to ask Arthur why he’s laughing, and he would say, “I was just thinking of something funny.” Then, the film would cut to the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, except this time it would have been Arthur to pull the trigger. Arthur walks away, leaving Bruce crying with his parents’ bodies. Then Arthur stops, looks back, shrugs, and then shoots Bruce. After that, the credits would roll.
This would indeed have been a drastic departure from the movie’s official ending, and could have really shaken up the comic book movie genre even more than the film already has. The ending would have even further hammered home director Todd Phillips’s bleak, hopeless depiction of Gotham, with the potential murder of the city’s future protector at the hands of its most infamous criminal.
Assuming Bruce were to survive Arthur’s shooting, this alternate ending could have built up an intense, personal dynamic between Joker and Batman that hasn’t been seen in any comic films to this extent. The best part about this ending is how it’s so open to interpretation, like many other parts of the film. The ending is ambiguous and groundbreaking, as it makes a choice with the Batman origin that has never been done before.
While the idea was scrapped in the final cut of the film, it does bring forward discussion of what creative liberties future comic book movie directors might be willing to take. It would certainly be interesting to see someone take such a bold change in direction from the source material, but we have yet to see a film try and make such a drastic change.