Originally, the storytellers behind Joker said their film was a one-off disconnected from any other DC character continuity. This was a new window on a new world in the DC multiverse. Now, Todd Phillips is not only interested in a sequel, but also wants to see the Batman the world of Joker would produce. Since Joker made more than $1 billion at the box office, talk of a sequel is not surprising. In fact, given that Phillips made this movie on a shoestring budget (at least, as far as comic book movies go), it’s no wonder that Warner Bros. wants to see if it can get another return on an investment like that. So, what does this mean for the Joker and the Batman? Specifically, what does it mean for Matt Reeves’ The Batman movie and a future Dark Knight? It’s all good news for Warner Bros., either way.
While watching The Joker, for all of its social controversy and critical accolades, the desire I left the theater was to see Joaquin’s take on the character again. Even more than that, I wanted to see his version of the Joker square off against some version of Batman. Because, for as much as we can call that character the Joker, he’s just a killer in makeup. The Joker only really becomes himself when he faces off against his nemesis. In fact, it’s easier for Harley Quinn to divorce herself from Joker than it would ever be to divorce him from the Caped Crusader. But, could audiences handle two competing versions of Batman at the same time? 2021 will see the rise of a new Dark Knight, one played by Robert Pattinson. And everything about Batman’s future rides on that.
What Todd Phillips Said About the Batman from Joker and Why He’d Be Special
More so than Batman or even Joker, Todd Phillips is enamored with the biggest character in the mythos of all: Gotham City. In the past, he’s talked about how his Joker is a product of that particular Gotham. Since the early 1980s, a key part of the Batman narrative is not just that he wants to fight crime but that Gotham itself is corrupted by evil. The mayor’s office, the police force, and countless institutions are so corrupt that they need a hero like Batman. And it’s that question that most intrigues the director.
As he told Variety:
“It’s a beautiful Gotham. What I would like to see somebody tackle is what Batman looks like from that Gotham. I’m not saying I’m going to do that…. What was interesting to me about the inclusion of Batman in our movie was, ‘What kind of Batman does that Gotham make?’ That’s all I meant by that.”
He went on to say that any sequel he does will have to meet the same “artistic standard” as Joker. Still, if Todd Phillips is interested to see what kind of Batman his Joker would produce, he’s in a position to find out. The real question is whether or not he should show up in his sequel or if Warner Bros. might try to connect the universes they’ve got going already.
Where Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson Could Fit Into All of This
Image via DC
The next film in the Bat-series will come out in the summer of 2021. It’s been in pre-production, however, for a long time. We’ve got a Catwoman, a Riddler, a new Commissioner Gordon, and other possible villains in this next film. Yet, there is nary a mention of the Joker. Thus, for Matt Reeves’ sequel (if he gets one), that relationship could be explored. And instead of bringing the controversial Jared Leto back, Joaquin Phoenix might suit up for the role. In fact, they might even consider making the first R-rated Batman film. Of course, this is assuming that The Batman works as a movie and fans want more of Robert Pattinson and his take on Batman. The movie has only just begun filming in London.
Of course, this is the beauty of the universe Todd Phillips created, at least for Warner Bros. If Pattinson and Reeves fail, that probably means Batman has to go on the shelf for a while. However, before they abandon the character for a decade or so, they might take a shot at putting him in an R-Rated film, perhaps even directed by Phillips. They could cast a new Batman, and perhaps he becomes a Deadpool-like figure in the DC film canon. No, not hilarious and meta, but rather the popular character that gets to go into the R-rated arena and stays mostly separate from the other, more family-friendly heroes. Either way, Warner Bros. wins.
Which direction do you think they will go? Do you want to see Todd Phillips take on Batman in an upcoming Joker sequel? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.