Warning: SPOILERS for Joker are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, turn that frown upside down and head to the front page.
Director Todd Phillips shook up the world of comic book movies when his dark and gritty Joker film smashed records and dominated the conversation in its opening weekend. Knowing that Joker is supposed to be a one-off in the world of DC’s comic film enterprises, there’s already been talk from parties like actor Joaquin Phoenix about being down for a potential sequel. Such follow-ups could eventually be put to good use, especially with the possibility that Arthur Fleck’s journey into madness could eventually lead to the Gotham City that Robert Pattinson’s Batman is sworn to protect.
With the discourse still running wild around Joker, it’s a good idea to at least think about the possibility of how this seemingly standalone film could branch out into a promising future for DC Comics and Warner Bros, and we’re going to discuss that very subject right now. So if you haven’t seen Joker, you won’t want to read any further, as we’ll be delving into some spoilerish territory.
Joker Sets Up Gotham’s Decay Perfectly
By time Joker ends its examination of madness and mayhem with the streets of Gotham being overrun by clown faced protesters, it looks like the fair city that the Wayne family watches over has finally gone to the dogs. Looting, riots, and the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne are all hallmarks of a night that could define the town forever, and they totally should.
With Robert Pattinson’s Batman swooping in for his first round of crime fighting in The Batman, the ecosystem of Gotham City is going to be pretty decayed and decadent by time he flies into the night. Joker feels like it’s perfectly set up the downfall of Bruce Wayne’s beloved city, and and rather than treat this as a one-off, it’d be wise to capitalize on that energy and storytelling.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman Would Already Have An Origin Story
Another reason Joker is totally worthy of being the stepping off point for The Batman is that, thanks to the third act’s portrayal of that fateful night in Crime Alley, we now have Robert Pattinson’s potential origin story already told. This is an invaluable piece of the puzzle when it comes to establishing any Bruce Wayne backstory, but at the same time, it’s been done to death.
As anyone will tell you, the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents has been shown about as many times as The Penguin has had a hot meal, so we don’t really need to see that again. You could flash back to Joker’s depiction of the moment, sure, but with the picture already painted, you never need to revisit that canvas in this particular version of the story.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Could Be The Setup For The Batman’s Variant
We know that Arthur Fleck probably isn’t supposed to be the Joker, otherwise Joker might have taken place in a more contemporary context. However, with his spell of madness now woven over Gotham City, The Batman could always show us the Joker that specifically torments Bruce Wayne/Batman in a future film.
Obviously, there’s a good chance that card won’t be played straight out of the deck in director Matt Reeves’ first foray into the world of The Batman. That being said, the groundwork could be laid for a rich history of Joker’s central madman inspiring a trail of chaos that leads directly to whatever unfortunate soul holds the mantle in the new world of Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Potential Joker Sequels Would Be Great Backstories For Other Main Characters In The Batman
Along with that trail of madness incited by Joker’s final act of mayhem, there’s a potential for richer backstories to be told in terms of other fixtures in The Batman’s canon. As Joker has introduced the loyal butler Alfred into the picture, actor Douglas Hodge’s portrayal of the character would only grow with future Joker installments, connecting his storyline directly to his potential tenure as Robert Pattinson’s confidante in The Batman.
Even better, with Jeffrey Wright playing Commissioner Gordon, there’s a potential to bring the well-respected actor further into the DC universe by having him play a younger, more inexperienced Gordon in a Joker sequel that isn’t as far removed from the contemporary period of The Batman. Giving Wright more time to work on the Gotham beat only enhances his character, and might even set up some spinoffs that could draw from the police procedural comic book Gotham Central.
DC Would Have A Self Contained Cinematic Universe To Build On In The Future
The experiment that was the DC Extended Universe didn’t work out the way Warner Bros or DC Comics had planned, and it’s something that the studio has acknowledged by changing up its strategy in filmmaking. But with that crucial stumbling block out of the way, the studio may have discovered an organic way to build a cinematic universe, without having to depend on the Marvel Studios model to succeed.
Joker could be used as the gateway to an entire universe of movies spawning from The Batman, which in time could lend itself to a Justice League reboot, should all parties involved want to go down that road. At the very least, Robert Pattinson’s Batman could build the world of director Matt Reeves’ Gotham City into its own self-contained universe, showcasing the many facets and characters that The Batman’s canon will engage in during its revival of the Caped Crusader’s legendary antics.
There’s no guarantee that Joker will be connected to anything other than its own potential universe, and should that be the case, then that works perfectly fine in its own right. However, it’s foolish to ignore just how solid of a foundation that director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix have laid down for the future of what Matt Reeves will do with The Batman.
As Warner Bros has been known to course correct with the market’s reaction to its films, through its elevation of properties like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and now Birds of Prey to top priority, there’s a chance that this school of thought may prevail. In which case, the stars may line up and we could see a much more grounded, even deadlier Joker walking the streets of Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson’s Gotham City.
Joker is in theaters now, and The Batman is slated for release on June 25, 2021. Which leaves plenty of time to turn this idea into a reality, should the public feel it’s the right way to go. Let us know what you think in the poll below, and don’t forget to leave some comments explaining your thoughts and feelings on Joker potentially being a prequel to Robert Pattinson’s The Batman.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.