joker batman

Joaquin Phoenix‘s Joker is being lauded as as all-time great portrayal of the infamous Batman rogue. But what’s the Joker without Batman? And what kind of opportunity would we miss out on to not see Phoenix and Robert Pattinson, two of today’s most searingly bold working actors, face off? But that meeting is just not in the cards, according to Joker director Todd Phillips.

Joker has been making the rounds at the most prestigious film festivals these past few months, winning the Venice International Film Festival’s coveted Golden Lion award, and being met with another round of acclaim (and discourse) at the Toronto International Film Festival this week (read our review right here). The buzz is keeping Phillips busy at red carpets and press events, where he was asked by Variety if we could expect to see Phoenix’s Joker and Pattinson’s Batman meet anytime soon.

“No. Definitely not,” he said.

That’s as conclusive as you get, though it’s not unexpected. Phillips’ Joker, which he co-wrote with Scott Silver, takes place outside of the greater DC Universe and was never meant to be folded into whatever remains of the DCEU. Phillips reiterated this point during a Q&A at a TIFF screening on Monday night, telling the crowd, “I don’t see it connecting to anything in the future… This is just a movie.”

Joker is a marker of Warner Bros. and DC Films’ successful pivot toward standalone films rather than a larger shared universe. Even Matt Reeves’ The Batman, in which Pattinson has recently been cast as the Caped Crusader, is reportedly aiming to be as singularly standalone as possible. However, as films like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam! have shown, standalone films that connect to a bigger universe could still work. But Phillips seems pretty adamant that Phoenix’s Joker is a one-and-done deal, and I personally can’t see Phoenix returning to the role even if it offers him a chance to work with Pattinson.

Joker is set to hit theaters on October 4, 2019.

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