Todd Phillips' upcoming Joker is a bit unique when it comes to approach to the iconic Batman villain in that the film is, as the title would suggest, about the Joker. It's his origin story and it sounds like when it comes to the influence of Batman in Joker's story, there's very little. According to Phillips, he was able to make the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film with both DC and Warner Bros. blessing to do what they wanted to with the story -- including not have Batman be a major part of the story. That influence, or the lack of it, allowed for the film to strike its own balance and ultimately be its own, standalone film.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Phillips was asked about finding balance with the comic book lore of Batman and the Joker as well as the real world they were building for the film and the director noted that while there was probably more influence in earlier cuts, the film ultimately found a different balance that was liberating.
"There was probably a little more in earlier cuts, maybe," Phillips said. "There definitely was a little more everything in the earlier cuts, but it was really about how fun it is that we get to keep one foot in the comic book world and one foot in not and like you said find that balance. It's hard to quantify how we found that balance, but it was, the movie is very liberating because DC, just speaking about comic books, DC as a company and Warner Bros as a studio really just let us do whatever we wanted with it. It wasn't like 'oh and you have to mention the Batmobile and you have to...' none of that. It was literally like 'yeah, were going to take this leap on this movie. Just go for it and do it.'"
The blessing to just "go for it" also means that the film's approach to Joker's origin will be one that is different from the character's general fall-into-a-vat-of-ACE-chemicals origin story from comics. Philips previously told the Associated Press that that sort of origin is a "comic book thing". Joker may be a comic book movie, but as Philips told ComicBook.com, it's also a film that stands alone -- even within the DC world, including Batman.
"This movie just stands on its own," he said. "I don't see that Arthur Fleck fighting anybody."
Joker opens in theaters on October 4th.