Todd Phillips Explains Why Joker Isn’t Connected To The DCEU

Arthur smiling in Joker

In both the Venice Film Festival and the recent Toronto International Film Festival, there has been one movie on the lips of everyone: Todd Phillips' Joker. The Joaquin Phoenix-led psychological drama will give the Clown Prince of Crime an origin story, and the movie has been getting all sorts of positive attention at its early screenings. But some fans are disappointed that Joker won't connect with the greater DC Extended Universe, a choice deliberately made by Phillips during the film's development process.

After the inception of the MCU, countless studios have attempted to create their own cinematic universe, and adopt serialized storytelling into their business model. Warner Bros. brought the DCEU to life starting with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, although there were some missteps along the way. Todd Phillips recently explained his choice to separate Joker from the rest of the franchise, saying:

It's not really connected to that [DC Movie] Universe. And it was really intentionally not. I mean the original idea when I went to [Warner Bros.] with the idea was not just about one movie, but about a label - sort of a side label to DC, where you can do these kind of character study, low-rent, low-budget movies, where you get a filmmaker to come in and do some deep dive into a character. So it was never meant to connect, so I don't see it connecting to anything in the future. I think this is just this movie, you know?

Well, there you have it. Despite any success that might come Joker's way, we should expect to see Joaquin Phoenix's title character interacting with Robert Pattinson's Batman or any other characters from the DC Extended Universe. The story is simply meant to stand on its own.

Todd Phillips' opened up about Joker's separation from DC's shared universe while premiering the movie at TIFF 2019, attended by CinemaBlend's Sean O'Connell. Joaquin Phoenix has been getting a ton of praise for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck/Joker in the upcoming movie, and its a performance that has DC fans eager to see him cross over into the greater shared universe. But that was never the intention for Todd Phillips, and he seems to have put the kibosh on that possibility, as well as Phoenix returning to the role.

Related: No, Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Aren’t Crossing Over

While this new might be disappointing for those who have seen Joker, it makes a great deal of sense all things considered. On one hand, Joker is a period piece, set in Gotham City 1981. As such, the character would have to be aged quite a bit if he was going to interact with heroes in the present l ike Aquaman and Wonder Woman.

What's more, there is already a Joker in the DCEU. Jared Leto made his debut in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, earlier in the DCEU's life. While plenty of footage was left on the cutting room floor and the performance didn't exactly please hardcore Bat-fans, it would seemingly break the timeline to have two Jokers running around Gotham City and causing mayhem.

Joker will arrive in theaters on October 4, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.