It’s now been a month since Joker came out, and the movie has made a lot of waves in that time, from its incredible commercial performance to the iconic steps that Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck dances down becoming a popular tourist destination. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips has now shared some unseen behind-the-scenes looks at the making of Joker, and one of the photos shows a a reference to longtime Batman Family character Catwoman.
Although Joker largely steered clear of the Batman mythology, there was a few examples of the Caped Crusader’s source material being adapted, like the story being set in Gotham City and the Wayne family, specifically Thomas Wayne, being involved in what happens to Arthur Fleck. As seen in the above photo, one of the more subtler nods towards the environment people know The Joker best from was a page in Arthur’s notebook showing a scantily-clad woman whose top half has been replaced with a cartoon cat, as well as another woman on top of a different illustrated cat.
This is obviously far more obscure than if Todd Phillips and the Joker team had done something like mention how Arthur Fleck knew a woman named Selina Kyle, but this is nonetheless an interesting Easter egg. And who knows, now that Arthur has paved the way for insanity to thrive in Gotham City, maybe in the Joker world, eventually a cat burglar that models herself after an actual feline will emerge. But in this instance, these Cat-women are just among the weirder entries in Arthur’s notebook.
What makes this Catwoman reference more special is the fact that she and The Joker have existed for exactly the same amount of time. Both debuted in 1940’s Batman #1, and while Joker has remained Batman’s great adversary after all these decades, Catwoman has evolved from being a straightforward villain to an anti-hero and frequent ally to Batman, not to mention his most well-known love interest.
The is just one of the many behind-the-scenes Joker photos that Todd Phillips shared on Instagram. Others include Joaquin Phoenix going through the clown makeup process, Phillips sitting with Robert De Niro on the set of Murray Franklin’s talk show and a close-up shot of the card Arthur Fleck carries around informing people of his pathological laughing condition. Don’t be surprised if Phillips shares more photos as we get closer to Joker wrapping up its time on the big screen.
For now, Joker is intended to be a standalone tale, although there have been talks about potentially continuing Arthur Fleck’s narrative in a sequel. As for Catwoman, one shouldn’t hold out hope of her being present in a hypothetical Joker follow-up, but she is returning to the big screen relatively soon.
It was announced last month that Zoë Kravitz will play Catwoman in 2021’s The Batman, which also stars Robert Pattinson as the eponymous protagonist, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon and Paul Dano as The Riddler. This will be Kravitz’s second time getting to bring Catwoman to life, having previously voiced the character in 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie.