While Joker will not have any direct ties to the DC movie universe or the upcoming Matt Reeves film The Batman, that does not mean there will be no familiar faces, or DC Comics Easter eggs, in the movie, which hits theaters in October. Earlier today, the first trailer for Joker debuted online, and within about 2 seconds of the start, eagle-eyed fans can see a nod to Batman co-creator Bob Kane. It comes as the film's protagonist, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), is talking to a social worker played by Sharon Washington. Zooming in on the name tag Washington's character wears in the scene reveals her name to be Debra Kane.
Bob Kane was the credited creator of Batman for years and the one who originated the idea of a character using that name. He worked with collaborator Bill Finger, who redesigned the hero and fleshed out the world of Gotham City. It was only a few years ago, shortly before Gotham began airing on FOX, that Finger would begin to get onscreen recognition for his contributions to the creation of Batman. Because of a contractual arrangement between Kane and DC, he can be the only credited creator of the Dark Knight, so the credits tend to say that Batman was "created by Kane with Bill Finger."
Of course, fans of the comics will also know that having a character named Kane can be even more significant than just being an Easter egg: Bruce Wayne's mother had the maiden name Kane, and members of her family have gone on to become significant players in the comics. The most well-known of these, Bruce's cousin Kate Kane, is the costumed adventurer known as Batwoman. Late in 2018, that character made her live action debut on Arrow, and right now there is a TV pilot in production starring John Wick and The Meg franchise standout Ruby Rose in the lead role. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that Debra Kane could turn out to be somehow related to Kate's family.
It is far more likely, though, that the name Kane is simply an Easter egg acknowledging Bob Kane and The Joker's comic book history. Back in the days before shared universes were common on TV and in the movies, such references might not immediately generate the kind of speculation they do now (remember back when Rebecca Buller was supposed to be playing Jenny Olsen, rather than Jenny Jurwich?), but it seems to all appearances that the heroes and villains of the DC Universe will be only obliquely referenced in Joker.
Joker will land in theaters on October 10th. Other upcoming DC films include Shazam! on April 5th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.
Have you subscribed to ComicBook Nation, the official Podcast of ComicBook.com yet? Check it out by clicking here or listen below.
In this latest episode, we talk about Star Wars: Episode IX , Avengers: Endgame opening early and more! Make sure to subscribe now and never miss an episode!