Matt Reeves' The Batman may wind up being separate from the DCEU, and actually tie together with Warner Bros.' The Joker origin movie instead. The future of DC movies at WB has been wavering for months, but it looks like they're finally settling on a vision. The cornerstone still appears to be the (unofficially titled) DCEU that consists of an interconnected universe of DC films ranging from Wonder Woman to Aquaman to Suicide Squad 2. However, they've also begun moving forward with the idea of launching a new label that will create Elseworlds style movies, such as Joaquin Phoenix's solo Joker origin movie - not to be confused with the recently announced Jared Leto solo Joker movie set within the DCEU.
Ever since Reeves took over for Ben Affleck as writer and director on The Batman, there's been plenty of discussion over what the movie will actually be. Reeves reportedly turned in a script that focuses on a younger version of Batman, which could be a way to get around Affleck's wavering commitment and allow for more freedom for Reeves as a storyteller. Well, if the newest rumor proves to be true, there's a chance he could connect it to a different Joker.
On the latest episode of The Superhero News Show (via Batman News), co-host and Forbes writer Mark Hughes shared a rumor he's heard regarding The Batman's status in the universe. Hughes stresses that this is just a rumor for now, but that he's been told by two different people associated with Warner Bros. that there have been discussions about making The Batman exist in the same world as the Joaquin Phoenix led Joker.
I think Joaquin Phoenix is playing the Joker in a standalone film, that will possibly wind up not being standalone as the situation evolved with the solo Batman movies and the future of the DCEU shapes up. I haven't heard anything firm, but I've heard certainly whispers from several people that I've talked to about that project. And what it sounds like is that if that project takes shape, if Martin Scorsese is going to be on board producing a film with Joaquin Phoenix playing the Joker... so now it looks like there's going to be that project and I have heard from a few people that there is talk of if [The Joker] movie is really going to go forward and if its really that good, if we're rebooting Batman anyway, he's going to need a Joker. We can't use preexisting Jokers. So we either have Jared Leto showing up as the Joker in some sort of sequel movie, and a Joaquin Phoenix solo Joker movie, and then we have to have another Joker. Wouldn't it make more sense to take a Martin Scorsese produced Joker with Joaquin Phoenix and wait and see if it works out, then just cross that and have that be the Joker for the new Batman?
This is (potentially) a massive change for The Batman based on everything else that's come before. That said, Reeves started some confusion about the film's true placement last year when he said it was a standalone project that "isn't part of the Extended Universe." Reeves quickly came out to clarify the intention of his comments, stating then that The Batman is part of the DCEU. Since that point, there's been no indications that Reeves' films wouldn't connect to the larger universe, with the possible move away from Affleck looking like a play for the longevity of the franchise - and certainly not because it is a separate and standalone movie.
Should this turn out to be true, it also drastically changes the idea of this Elseworlds banner, rumored to be called DC Dark or DC Black. Phoenix's Joker would no longer exist in a standalone 80s origin format, but instead have the potential for multiple appearances and films. It'd also show an interest from WB to create another "universe" of DC films that are separate from their main shared universe with no restrictions on multiple versions of the same character on the big screen.
If WB is waiting to see how The Joker plays out, then these types of decisions won't come soon. The film may start filming this September, but they won't know for sure what they have until late next year. That's a long time for Reeves to wait around and could hold up other Gotham/Batman related projects in the DCEU just in case The Batman ultimately stays involved in that continuity.
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