The Batman film franchise is going through a transitional period. Ben Affleck debuted as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He returned for DC Films’ superhero team-up in Justice League but has since stepped away from the role. The next film will introduce Robert Pattinson as a younger Bruce Wayne during the early days of Batman. If and how this film, directed by Matt Reeves, connects to Affleck’s Batman and the wider DC Films universe is unclear.
Then there’s Joker. The Todd Phillips-directed origin story stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, the man who becomes the Joker. The film debuted at the Venice International Film Festival and became an instant festival darling. To date, the film's marketing suggests it is a standalone feature unconnected to the wider DC Extended Universe.
But could there be a connection between Pattinson’s Batman and Phoenix’s Joker? An interview with Pattinson in Variety in which Pattinson discusses his upcoming role as Batman raises the question. He claims he’s unsure of whether he’ll play Batman in more than one film.
“I don’t know anything,” he says. “I’ve got an idea how to do about four scenes, and then I’m working on the rest gradually.”
Interviewer Ramin Setoodeh then goes on to write in the piece that Pattinson makes a “mundane comment” about Phoenix’s Joker. Setoodah doesn’t include the comment in the article, as Pattinson was quick to retract it.
“Oh s—,” he said, adding that he’s not used to working on movies where spoilers are an issue. “I definitely should not say that. I’m so used to pretty art-house movies, where you can watch the movie three times and still not know what it’s about.”
We don’t know what Pattison said, but bringing up Phoenix’s Joker then retracting the comment is going to lead to fan interest and speculation. The article notes that Pattinson hasn’t seen Joker, so whatever the comment was didn’t have to do with the content of the film. He could have hinted at some secret plans at DC Films. He may have spoken out of turn and confirmed that Phillips’s Joker isn’t part of the same universe Reeves’s The Batman. Or he may have said something as innocuous as “facing off with Phoenix’s Joker would be fun” and worried at how fans might interpret the statement.
What do you think Pattinson’s comment could have been? Let us know in the comments. Joker opens in theaters on October 6th. The Batman opens on June 25, 2021.