Will ‘Joker’ Lead to a Batman Spinoff? Director Todd Phillips Hopes So

Director Todd Phillips envisioned Joker as a standalone film. But its $1.1 billion worldwide box office haul quickly changed all that. Even Phillips has discussed the possibility — the likelihood, really — of a sequel. Granted, Warner Bros. hasn’t greenlit the project yet. But it feels like only a matter of time until the studio announces Joker 2.

In the meantime, the Joker team is busy racking up accolades during awards season in the hopes of a successful Oscar night. For his part, Phillips is teasing what the future could hold. Fans of Joker might find his latest comment particularly intriguing.

Todd Phillips at the premiere of 'Joker'
Todd Phillips at the premiere of ‘Joker’ | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Todd Phillips is giving fans mixed signals regarding Batman

Early on, the director revealed his general disinterest in comic book movies. In fact, he went out of his way to create something that feels unlike anything the genre has seen. He and co-writer Scott Silver even asserted in the film’s script its disconnection from previous DC Comics adaptations.

More recently, Phillips took his film’s distinction even further. Rather than the character’s connection to Batman, the director credited his film’s success to the emotional resonance of its themes. Its clear Martin Scorsese inspiration aside, Joker is truly a distinctive comic book movie. But downplaying the role Batman’s popularity had in getting audiences interested feels a bit disingenuous now.

Now the director wants Warner Bros. to make a Batman spinoff

As Warner Bros. decides how best to leverage Joker‘s success, Phillips has an idea for something he’d like to see. Talking with Variety recently, Phillips shared he’d love to see how Batman would come into play in the world his movie creates.

“It’s a beautiful Gotham,” the director said. “What I would like to see someone tackle is what Batman looks like from that Gotham.”

Before the internet could speculate, Phillips quickly clarifies he isn’t planning such a film himself. Rather, he’d like to see another filmmaker’s take on a Batman spinoff of Joker.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do that,” Phillips said to Variety. “What was interesting to me about the inclusion of Batman in our movie was, ‘What kind of Batman does that Gotham make?’ That’s all I meant by that”

To be fair, any spinoffs directly based on Joker would likely involve Phillips in some form. After all, he did pitch an entire series of R-rated DC origin stories to Warner Bros. before Joker even happened. The studio is looking to make more R-rated DC projets. So it’s probably desperate to have Phillips produce such a project — which then seemed too ambitious — now.

A Batman spinoff is a much different approach than the supervillain films we’d previously heard about. However, it does feel like a more direct extension of Joker and is therefore a much safer business decision. As it turns out, Warner Bros. could be sitting on a golden opportunity already.

Will Warner Bros. fold Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ into the ‘Joker’ world?

Joaquin Phoenix has created a version of the Joker completely independent of the one Jared Leto played in Suicide Squad. As such, DC Films have really embraced the comics’ multiverse concept. With Phillips calling for a new Batman, it’s hard not to consider Robert Pattinson’s upcoming debut in The Batman.

If Warner Bros. decides to do a Batman spinoff, they could simply fold Pattinson’s Batman into the same universe. That possibility has been debunked in the past, but that was before Phillips’ film changed the game.

Sure, Warner Bros. could find a new actor to join Ben Affleck and Pattinson as the Dark Knight. But creating a mash-up movie pitting Pattinson against Phoenix sometime down the line feels like a hit waiting to happen. We can’t imagine the studio doesn’t want to cash in on that, if The Batman is well-received. We’ll have to wait and see.