Don’t have time to watch the video? Original article below:

I actually want to start with a reference made on the recent interview with Senior Director of Creative Development Michael Aiello and James Keaton, the performer who has embodied Jack since his creation.

In this interview, Aiello and Keaton said:

“To get real geeky and complex, I look at 30 as sort of a comic book annual,” Aiello explains about this year’s event. “It’s a collection of everything you love about Halloween Horror Nights and celebrating all these original characters and stories.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the comic book analogy, an annual is a special extra issue published in a series. A lot of times annuals are out of continuity of the series or sometimes they’re standalone stories, which is a similar case with Jack this year. It’s more of a celebration of this beloved character, so you’ll see all three of his forms pop up throughout the event.

Anyone who follows either of them on social media knows that both are huge comic fans, much like myself. The above commentary, along with a description of how Jack is represented in three forms this year, it reminded me of a recent comic book story.

Years ago, in the DC Comic Book story Darkseid War, by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok, Batman gained the godlike powers of the Mobius Chair, allowing him to know everything. One of the first questions he asked of the chair was the true identity of the Joker. It was revealed that there were, in fact, THREE JOKERS, and last year a series came out exploring the concept of those three Jokers – the Comedian, the Criminal, and the Clown.

What does this have to do with Jack and Halloween Horror Nights? Well, in the same interview I just mentioned, the evolution of Jack is referred to as three specific “iterations” – the clown, the ringmaster, and the Rockstar. 

Now, I’m not saying that there are, in fact, three Jacks. It’s pretty clear from the article these are the same Jack, just different evolutions of the character.

The birth of Jack Schmidt, and his brother Eddie, was shown in the Body Collectors: Recollections house at HHN25. Born in Shadybrook Asylum, Jack grew up to a carnival performer who was part of a circus troupe led by a man named Dr. Oddfellow. Unbeknownst to anyone, Jack was murdering people when he wasn’t entertaining, and he confided in Oddfellow about it. Oddfellow betrayed Jack, murdered him, and kept his body inside a Jack in the Box for years until he was later accidentally released, becoming the murderous, evil clown we know and love today. 

Now we have the three stages of Jack, at least the ones we know so far. In 2000, we were introduced to Clown Jack –  after being released from his box, he exacted vengeance on Oddfellow and then became the ringmaster of his own traveling circus, Carnival of Carnage.

2007 introduced Ringmaster Jack. Jack’s Carnival of Carnage that year featured horror icons like Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface, and changed his look.

At HHN25 in 2015, we saw the third and most recent evolution of Jack, the Rockstar Jack, leader of Jack’s Maniacs. This Jack was darker, creepier, more wartorn than the previous evolutions.

Over time, we’ve also seen an evolution of Jack’s partner-in-crime, Chance, who took over the show in 2016 with a year dedicated to her being the main icon.

It’s been noted that this year will be an “out of continuity” type story – not progressing to the next evolution of Jack, but instead celebrating the three iterations that we’ve seen. However, will we see a preview of what’s to come next? And what will the next iteration of Jack look like? Will we see more concepts inspired by the Joker, maybe a Grant Morrison-inspired Jack, or a Greg Capullo-inspired Jack?

And will Chance be returning this year as well in one of her different iterations – will her next one be inspired by Harley Quinn, as previous ones have been, or maybe by Joker’s current partner, Punchline?

What do you think? Are you excited to see Jack again, or maybe for the first time? Do you think we’ll get a preview of the next evolution of Jack?

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