Matt Reeves, director of The Batman, has all but ruled out the possibility of a crossover between his new take on Batman and Joaquin Phoenix's hugely successful take on the Joker.
Reeves, whose new epic, The Batman, is in theaters from today (March 4), said that as far as he was concerned, there was no possibility of Phoenix's character taking on Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne in any future sequel.
The Batman sees Pattinson make his debut in the cowl of Batman, with Zoë Kravitz playing Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman, Colin Farrell portraying The Penguin, and Paul Dano playing The Riddler.
As well as this, Andy Serkis has the role of Alfred Pennyworth, Jeffrey Wright is Commissioner Gordon, John Turturro plays crime boss Carmine Falcone, and Peter Sarsgaard is Gil Colson, Gotham's district attorney.
Reeves, who is best known for his work on Planet Of The Apes trilogy, is in the director's chair, working from a script he co-wrote with Bad Boys For Life writer Peter Craig.
In his new take on the story, we meet Pattinson's Bruce Wayne in his second year of fighting crime as Batman and uncovering systemic corruption in Gotham City, all the while on the hunt for the Riddler, a serial killer who's targeting Gotham's elite.
Now, you won't get any spoilers here, but with critical reaction pretty positive and Warner Bros. predicting an opening weekend in excess of $225 million, talk is already turning to a sequel and Pattinson's Dark Knight will need a villain to take on. It just seems it won't be the Joker, or, at least, not Joaquin Phoenix's Joker...
What did Matt Reeves say about the possibility of a crossover?
He gave it pretty short-shrift.
Asked by GamesRadar about the possibility of the Joker taking part in The Batman, he said: " I was finishing the Planet of the Apes movies when I first came on board, which is 2017. It's been five years in the making. When I was working on the script, and got deep into the script, Joker hadn't come out yet. I didn't know what Joker was or what it was going to be, and then I became aware of it once we were very deep into the film, and the fact that they were grounding things in a way that was reminiscent of things that we were doing, that wasn't planned."
He continued: "Joker was always meant to be a very specific standalone that Joaquin [Phoenix], and Todd [Phillips] were doing. There was never really any discussion of crossover. But it was interesting to see that we were trying to ground our stories and that audiences were excited about the fact that you could take Gotham and make it feel so much like our world. That was something from the beginning that I had wanted to do."
Analysis: Is this a surprise?
Not really. In recent years, Warner Bros. has moved away from the Marvel esque approach of having all their properties existing in the same universe.
Phoenix's Joker was a much smaller scale film, with the actor playing Arthur Fleck, a failed clown and stand-up comedian who slowly descends into insanity and the Joker persona, rather than explosive take on the character that had been showcased by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman.
Joker, which was written and directed by Todd Phillips, was developed and cast while Jared Leto was still in the role as part of the plans for Suicide Squad, something that reportedly angered Leto so much he tried to get the project pulled. When it wasn't, he effectively conceded his time in the role was over.
As well as that, the timelines don't work especially well. Phoenix's Joker is a middle-aged man in 1981 when Joker is set, and, while The Batman isn't too specific about its setting, it's certainly a lot closer to present-day than 1981.
Phillips is writing a follow-up to Joker, which managed to gross over a billion dollars when it came out in 2019, but when he was last asked about, Phoenix didn't suggest things had gotten very far, but did say he'd be interested in doing it.
So, in all likelihood, there will be another Joker movie, and, almost certainly, a sequel to The Batman. It's just they'll have nothing to do with each other.
You can read our full The Batman review here, as well as getting exclusive details of its new TV spin-off here.