The Batman Director Explains Why He Loves The Dark Knight's Concept of Joker

The Batman will be bringing a bold new vision of The Dark Knight to movie screens in the next year (or so), courtesy of director Matt Reeves (Let Me In, War for the Planet of the Apes). Naturally, the Batman reboot is taking shape with many ghosts of the past Batman films hanging over it - and nothing casts a bigger shadow that Chris Nolan's Batman movie (masterpiece?) The Dark Knight. As the greatest Batman movie in the minds of many fans, Dark Knight also gave us the undisputed champion of Batman movie showdowns, between Christian Bale's Batman and Heath Ledger's Joker.

Well, in a new interview, Matt Reeves showers praise on Nolan's Dark Knight (and acknowledges challenge of something distinguishable from it). But when it comes to Heath Ledger's Joker, Reeves is unabashed in sharing Nolan's take on the villain - and Heath Ledger's performance - resonated with him so much. As Reeves explained to Nerdist:

"The Dark Knight is so incredible and I think that Heath Ledger’s performance and their conception of the Joker in that movie is indelible. And the battle that he engaged with, you know, with Batman/Bruce is incredible. But the thing you take away from it more than anything is that conception, specifically, I think of the Joker. That movie is so much about how it’s a horrifying thing to stare into the abyss, that idea of that level of nihilism. The whole idea that there was nothing you could do because even in the destruction of him, you were fulfilling his aims. It was just a terrifying notion that speaks to an aspect of human nature and that was really profound.”

It's sometimes overlooked just how much influence Batman movies can have on the core fundamentals of the characters. After Tim Burton's Batman films, the character was forever changed in both look and tone on the comic book page. The same can be said for Heath Ledger's Joker: Ledger wasn't the first to open the door to the idea of Joker as a living embodiment of chaos and nihilism (in fact the actor studied some great comic source material for that take), but he certainly solidified on a mainstream scale. The character has never been more popular or profound since Ledger stepped into the role - which led to Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix being able to turn that "profound" look into the darker side of human nature and turn it into a major Oscar win for DC and Warner Bros.

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Now that we know just what it is about The Joker that tickles Matt Reeves' fancy, one has to wonder what kind of role he might secretly have for the villain in The Batman - not to mention, a new actor to bring him to life onscreen.

The Batman is currently slated to be released on June 25, 2021 (unless the Coronavirus Pandemic delays it).

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.