I am mostly asking out of curiosity to know better our community's standards.

Joker (2019) is a movie by Todd Philipps with Joaquin Phoenix narrating the origin story of Batman's nemesis.

Are questions about this movie on-topic on scifi.stackexchange? Or should they be migrated to movies.stackexchange?

On the one hand, there are a lot of questions about the Joker on the site, steaming from various sources (comics, movies, video games,...) and isolating one movie seems odd. The character, a killer clown, has nothing fantastic or scifi-ish in essence, but his stories often involve scifi elements. It is definitely on-topic here.

On the other hand, the movie is very grounded in real life and, bar its name and a few references to Batman lore, the movie is completely disconnected from its counterpart in comics. Remove the names of Gotham and Wayne, it could have been the story of a man becoming psychotic in a Taxi Driveresque New York.

So far, there is only one question about the movie and it is about the trailer, so it was asked before we could know whether it has scifi features or not. Even after the movie was released, it is still fine since it asks about a characteristic of the character in the comics incarnation.

1 Answer 1



It is on-topic by association with the superhero genre, like Gotham and other DC superhero-related shows. To quote from this answer about Gotham:

TL;DR - Gotham should be on-topic because being in the "superhero" genre isn't judged purely by content, but by association


However, this vague line, as drawn, often puts the clearly heroic as on-topic, with Batman and the Arrow TV show (in its earlier seasons) seen as clearly on-topic despite having very few elements of super-science or unexplained phenomena. This is, I believe, because Batman and the Arrow are clearly in the "superhero comics" genre, not necessarily because of their actual content, but because of history and association - they share a history and stories with the clearly SFnal Superman, for instance.

This is why I believe Gotham should be on topic, just like other genre-free Batman stories or spin-offs. Because it's still Batman, in a variant of the Batman universe, which is accepted as on-topic here.

It's true that if you changed the names you'll just have a non-genre cop show, but the names are important. They're what draw a lot of viewers. They add a layer of meaning or people familiar with those names and their (alternate) history. It's a show watched by our site's members, because of its on-topic association.

  • 4
    I think it's comparable to a movie about a fairly ordinary human life in a city that happens to be built on Mars. It may be about familiar real-life interaction, and it may involve no details about futuristic technology, but the innate connection of the story to a Mars city makes it sci fi. You'll always know that the sky is red, and that there is no oxygen outside the city. The Joker cannot exist outside the rules of the Batman universe - so it falls into the same category by default. You always know that the universe he lives in allows for batarangs and Ra's al Ghul.
    – Misha R
    Oct 18, 2019 at 2:48
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    I agree with this. If CBS came out with a Star Trek: 1850 with a Tiberius R. Kirk, Sr. homesteading it in Iowa with a band of pioneers and a drunken Scottish blacksmith, it would be on-topic for being a "Star Trek story", not for having SF content. Jun 24, 2020 at 17:37

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