Joker hinted at the existence of another Batman villain - the Ratcatcher. In an age of shared cinematic universes, Joker is an unusual beast, a standalone story that doesn't really provide an opportunity to create so much as a sequel. Part of Joker's magic is the fact that it's difficult to say just what's real - and what's in Arthur Fleck's confused mind.
Joker does have some Batman references, though. They're mostly drawn from the fact that the film is set in Gotham City, which is portrayed in a style reminiscent of the classic '90s Batman: The Animated Series. Gotham is portrayed as a surreal place, with crime out of control, and a poverty-stricken underclass seething with resentment. A long-running strike means the garbage hasn't been collected for weeks.
It's this reference to garbage that sets up one of Joker's smartest nods. One news broadcast declares that the rats are actually evolving in Gotham, and that the city is now plagued by a new threat - so-called "Super Rats." It's all treated as a bit of a joke, with a suggestion that the city needs to breed some "Super Cats" to deal with them, but Gotham clearly needs to invest in a new ratcatcher program. That neatly sets up a classic Batman supervillain - the Ratcatcher.
Otis Flannegan was one of Gotham's most successful ratcatchers before he committed himself to a life of crime. He was born with a strange affinity to communicate with, train, and ultimately control rats; unfortunately, he eventually decided to use these low-level superpowers to live a life of crime, drifting in and out of prison, and making a home in Gotham's sewers.
Comic book readers have long noted that Ratcatcher's rats seem strangely formidable adversaries, possessed of an unusual degree of strength, resilience, and even intelligence. Presumably, in Joker's world, Otis Flannegan will actually become master of Gotham's "Super Rats." Interestingly, it's not hard to imagine Ratcatcher's comic book origin playing out in a pretty faithful way in Joker; he considered himself one of Gotham's victims, and pursued a brutal revenge on the judge and members of the jury who had first consigned him to prison.
A gender-swapped Ratcatcher will appear in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, where the part will be played by Daniela Melchior. It's important to remember, though, that Joker is not part of the DCEU; it's a completely separate movie, existing in a universe all of its own. That means this isn't a subtle piece of connective tissue to an upcoming superhuman blockbuster; instead, it's simply a clever Easter egg, sure to delight viewers who are familiar with the comics.
NEXT: Joker's Ending Explained
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