The trailer for Disney‘s live-action Cruella de Vil movie is here, leading people to wonder… is this Joker for girls? Now, as we all know, that position has already been filled by Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie’s version was fantastically popular in Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey. But there’s a definite Joker vibe to Disney’s Cruella: an unnecessary origin story about an edgy villain, taking place in a historical setting, and emphasizing the character’s outsider status. It’s also very divisive, long before anyone’s seen the actual movie.
Plus, there’s the makeup. The comparisons are easy to make.
Cruella is, at base level, a pretty weird concept for a kid-friendly Disney spinoff. Disney already did something similar with Maleficent, giving the Sleeping Beauty villain a fantasy backstory with allegorical feminist undertones. But it’s hard to see how this could possibly work with Cruella de Vil, a cartoonish sadist who wants to murder adorable puppies.
Either the film tries to give her a semi-relatable character arc like Joker (a highly dubious idea), or it goes full campy villain. Cruella’s theatrically evil nature is what made her such a popular character in the first place, but that’s a tricky part to play as a Disney protagonist. Like, she can’t actually skin any puppies here.
Ironically enough, these Joker comparisons do add a kind of prestigious edge to Cruella. The same can’t be said for people comparing the character to Jenny Humphrey, the teen goth character from Gossip Girl.