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|“||Touch my son again and I will f*cking kill you!||„|
|~ Thomas warning Arthur Fleck not to hurt his son.|
Thomas Wayne is the main antagonist of the 2019 psychological thriller film Joker, the first installment of the newly launched DC Black film series. He is the wealthy CEO of Wayne Enterprises and was in the running for mayor of Gotham City.
He was portrayed by Brett Cullen.
Thomas Wayne was an independently wealthy businessman who was able to use his wealth and influence to create Wayne Enterprises.
One year, Thomas Wayne hired Penny Fleck as a housekeeper at the Wayne family mansion. Fleck, in part due to her mental illness, developed feelings for Wayne and fell under the delusion that he felt the same, but could not pursue a relationship due to his marriage and social status. During this time, she adopted her son Arthur and believed him to somehow be the son of her and Thomas. After her relentless pursuit of Wayne, she was eventually fired. She moved into poverty, where she and her abusive boyfriend horrifically abused young Arthur, causing him to develop a severe mental illness and condition that made him laugh when nervous.
For the next few decades, Penny constantly wrote Thomas, asking him to provide financial support both in exchange for her service to them and because she continued to believe that Arthur was Thomas' son. Thomas ignored the insane ramblings and later decided to run for mayor to help change it for the better. Arthur, however, struggled through life, and one day, while being assaulted by three drunken employees, pulls a gun and shoots the three of them dead.
The murders shock the city, and Thomas Wayne went on the news to condemn the killer, and claim that "those of us who made something of our lives will always look a those who haven't as nothing but clowns". This statement, however, angers the desperate and poor of the city, with many starting a movement of dressing like clowns and protesting in the streets.
Arthur, meanwhile, finds one of his mother's letters and is led to believe that Thomas Wayne is his father. He makes his way to Wayne Manor and talks to Thomas' son Bruce, even grabbing the boy and forcing him to smile, but is stopped by the butler. Alfred informs Arthur that his mother is delusional, which causes Arthur to attack him before fleeing.
He sneaks into a private screening of Modern Times in order to personally speak with Thomas Wayne, who denies being his father and explains that Penny Fleck was insane. Arthur, in denial and fear, begins to laugh uncontrollably, and when Thomas figures out that Arthur was the one who touched Bruce and assaulted Alfred, he punches Arthur in the face and threatens action if Arthur ever tries any hostilities again. Later, Arthur goes to Arkham State Hospital and steals his mother's records, and finds out that he was in fact adopted, and that Thomas Wayne is not his father and that Penny is not his true mother.
Arthur finalizes his descent into madness, killing his mother and former coworker, then going on live television and admitting to being the one behind the murder of the Wayne Employees, stating that just because Thomas Wayne vouched for them, their lives should not mean more than his. He then shoots the host Murray Franklin dead before being arrested.
However, the Clowns that watched the broadcast are inspired by Arthur's defiance, and begin rioting, looting, and protesting all throughout the city, even managing to free Arthur. During the chaos, Thomas, his wife Martha, and Bruce are leaving a movie theater. In an attempt to escape the madness, the three duck into an alley, but are followed by a clown who, in rage, guns down Thomas and Martha in front of Bruce, leaving him grieving before his parents' bodies.
Wayne is a gruff and stern businessman. Despite his no-nonsense demeanor and elitist viewpoints, he geunuinely cares for Gotham City and wants to see it improve, but is sometimes misguided as to the issues that need to be resolved. He is very protective and loving of his family, as shown when he warns Arthur to stay away after he harassed Bruce.
- This is the third incarnation of Thomas Wayne to be depicted as an antagonist; it was preceded by the version of the Batman: Reign of Terror Elseworlds story and the version of Batman: The Telltale Series, though those adaptations were depicted as villainous.
- Alec Baldwin, who also played Adam Maitland in Beetlejuice, Butch in Cats and Dogs, Nicholas St. North in Rise of the Guardians, and Boss Baby in The Boss Baby, was originally cast as Thomas Wayne but had to drop out two days later due to scheduling conflicts.
- Interestingly, had Balwin portrayed Thomas Wayne in the film it would have been ironic, as initial sources said that the film's script molded Wayne as some kind of 1980s Donald Trump, given Baldwin's past role as President Trump in Saturday Night Live.
- Brett Cullen had previously played Congressman Byron Gilley in The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, making Joker the second film of the Batman franchise in which he appears.