'Joker' Ending Explained: What Happened at the End and Is There a Post-credits Scene?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the entire plot of Joker

Joker, the latest reimagining of the Batman villain starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character, was released in cinemas today, meaning that the first fans are getting a glimpse of the shocking new film. The ending of Joker seems to set up a sequel with the character ready to cause havoc in Gotham again. It also contains a shock origin story for another character from the world of Batman.

Those who just want to know whether there is a Joker post-credits scene should scroll through to the end of this article, but those who want an in-depth guide to the events of the films ending should read on.

What Happened at the End of Joker?

The film ends with Arthur/Joker (played by Joaquin Phoenix) seeming to escape from the Arkham State Hospital. We see him exit the room he was being counseled/interrogated in with blood on the souls of his shoes, leading us to think he has killed his seventh victim in order to escape Arkham and to rejoin the uprising he inadvertently started. However, his violent rampage may have created the one person who can stop him.

Before he (presumably) kills the woman in the cell in Arkham, the film shows him kill six people⁠—the three Wayne Enterprises workers on the train, his mother Penny (Frances Conroy), his former co-worker Randall (Glenn Fleshler) and TV show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), who he shot to death live on air.

After killing Murray, Arthur is picked up by police and we see him being taken away, presumably in classic Batman style to Arkham. However, the rioting in the streets caused by the populist movement that has sprung up after Arthur's killing of the three men on the train leads the police van Arthur is in to collide with another vehicle.

joker ending explained
Joaquin Phoenix in "Joker" Warner Bros.

Some of the clown-masked protestors drag Arthur out of the cast and onto the bonnet, where he regains consciousness and vamps for the eager crowd. Meanwhile, another man in a clown mask confronts mayoral candidate Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) as he is leaving the opera and shoots and kills him and wife Martha (Carrie Louise Petrello), leaving the young Bruce (Dante Pereira-Olson) watching as his parents die, a twist on the classic Bruce Wayne Batman origin myth that blames the Joker in some part for the death of the Waynes. In a nod to the many other times this scene has been seen on film Joker director Todd Phillips even shows Martha's pearl necklace breaking and scattering pearls across the alley floor.

This version of the Batman origin story explicitly ties together Bruce Wayne, who is presumably still destined to become Batman in this timeline even if we do not see actual bats in this version of the scene, and his future most famous nemesis, The Joker.

Though this seems to be an explicit sequel set-up, Phillips has previously said that Pheonix's Joker will not be meeting new Batman Robert Pattinson. When asked by Variety whether they would face off, he said: "No, definitely not," adding that if Pattinson's Bruce does face off against the Joker he will be played by someone new. He said: "Comic books are our Shakespeare it seems, and you can do many many versions of Hamlet...There will be many more jokers, I'm sure, in the future."

However, were he to change his mind, the ending of Joker sees the character free and ready to cause more chaos on the streets of Gotham.

joker post credit scene
Robert De Niro in "Joker." The film does not feature a post-credit scene after Arthur murders De Niro's character Warner Bros.

Does Joker have a post-credits scene?

Those hoping for a Marvel-style sequel set-up after the credits have rolled, however, will be disappointed. Joker has no post-credits scene, making it the first of the DC Comics films not to have one since Wonder Woman in 2017.

This seems to suggest that the makers of Joker see it as a standalone film, rather than part of a wider universe that will be padded out MCU-style over a few films. This is similar to Logan, the 2017 film that featured X-Men characters but had a unique tone that made it more of a standalone work.

However, only time and box office receipts will tell whether this incarnation of the character will be back for Joker 2 or whether the makers have already had their last laugh.

Joker is in cinemas now.