Are “The Batman” & “Joker” Set in the Same DC Universe?

Are "The Batman" & "Joker" Set in the Same DC Universe?

Batman and Joker are one the most notable duos in fictional media history. These two characters have faced countless times in the DC Universe and brought us the best comic book storylines ever. We did see Batman and Joker on the silver screen in various versions, however, the recent versions from Matt Reeves and Todd Phillips spiked a few rumors of these two characters being in the same cinematic universe. In this article, we will discuss these rumors and see are the movies “The Batman” and “Joker” set in the same DC Universe.

“The Batman” and “Joker” movies are not in the same DC Cinematic Universe. The settings of both movies are vastly different – Joker’s backstory is set at the beginning of 1981, while Reeves’s Batman is set in 2021. Director of “The Batman” Matt Reeves also dismissed these rumors in the interview with Total Film where he confirmed that they started developing “The Batman” movie in 2017 and that he never discussed crossover possibility with the “Joker” director Todd Phillips.

We will discuss this topic further by explaining are these two movies in any way connected and expand the discussion of future possibilities of this crossover and meeting of DC’s iconic characters. We will also warn you of spoilers of both movies in the article. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end.

Settings of “The Batman” and “Joker” Movies

Before we confirm and explain this topic further, first we need to look into the timeline and settings of these two movies. In cinematic universes, especially if the original source material is the comics, the settings, and timelines of these movies can be flexible which offers the directors and creative executives to “play” more around and implement different ideas.

However, when looking into the timeline of Phillips’s Joker and Reeves’s Batman, there are some glaring differences that only confirm that these projects do not have that much in common besides being from DC Universe.

Are "The Batman" & "Joker" Set in the Same DC Universe?
“Joker” movie is set in 1981.

For example, “Joker” movie is set at the beginning of the 1980s when Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill and disgraced clown whose insanity inspires a violent countercultural revolution against the wealthy in Gotham City. It was confirmed by the director and writer Todd Phillips that they did not (including his fellow writer Scott Silver) fully adapted the movie from the original source.

However, Phillips and Silver loosely adapted plot elements from DC’s 1988 comic book story Batman: The Killing Joke. Moreover, the “Joker” executives drew inspiration from the Martin Scorsese movies, specifically Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, and 1970s character studies, that occurred in that era.

Therefore, it seems that Phillips and other creative executives mostly worked and drew inspiration from other media, and created their own stories about Arthur Fleck and his fall from grace.

Are "The Batman" & "Joker" Set in the Same DC Universe?
Batman is set in modern times, more specifically, in the year of 2021.

On the other hand, “The Batman” movie was in development since 2013 when Ben Affleck was cast as the new Batman and signed on to direct, produce and co-write future Batman projects. However, when he dropped out, Reeves took over the project and rebooted the Batverse once again, removing it from DC Extended Universe. According to Reeves, his version of Batman is from the Earth-2 alternate universe which was enabled by DC’s concept of the Multiverse. The reasoning behind this decision was Reeves not wanting for his Batman to be connected to the existing DCEU projects.


Creative executives and Matt Reeves drew inspiration from detective Batman-themed comic book stories, where Batman displays his detective skills and investigates huge threats in Gotham City. Moreover, Reeves was also inspired by Hitchcock movies and the New Hollywood era, which included movies like Year One (1987) and Ego (2000).

“The Batman” movie kickstarted a separate so-called Batman shared universe, which will include two spin-off series in development for HBO Max. This is similar to the Arrowverse Universe that was kickstarted by CW’s show Arrow years ago.

All in all, “The Batman” and “Joker” are definitely different from each other, but let’s analyze why fans kickstarted this rumor.

Are “The Batman” & “Joker” Set in the Same DC Universe?

After thorough research, we can safely say that “The Batman” and “Joker” movies are not in the same DC Universe. The rumor appeared the day Matt Reeves confirmed he will distance his Batman movie from the DC Extended Universe, which prompted the fans to start speculating about the Joker being in the same Universe. Batman shared universe news fueled the rumors more, however, with the release of “The Batman” movie, those rumors have fallen flat.

Again, we will warn you of “The Batman” spoilers in the next sentences.

At the end of the movie, an unseen Arkham Prisoner is shown in one scene, which was later revealed to be a Joker, portrayed by the Irish actor Barry Keoghan. Warner Bros. even released a deleted scene featuring Keoghan’s Joker and Robert Pattinson’s Batman, which debunks the rumors of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker being present in the future Batverse.

Are "The Batman" & "Joker" Set in the Same DC Universe?
Todd Phillips’s Joker is a separate movie and story from the DCEU and other current DC characters adapted to silver screen.

Irish actor Barry Keoghan is also born in 1992, and his age is closely connected to the actor who portrayed Batman, Robert Pattinson. There is a possibility of Keoghan appearing as Joker in future projects of Batverse, which will include a Penguin and Arkham Asylum spin-off series developed by HBO Max.

Another hard denial of these rumors is Todd Phillips’s answer after being asked if The Batman and Joker crossing over will happen:

“No, definitely not.”

Todd Phillips for Variety in 2019.

He also said, while doing a Q&A in 2019 that when he pitched his “Joker” movie idea to Warner Bros., he explicitly said that his movie will be set in a separate universe and won’t have any connections to the DC Extended Universe.

Are "The Batman" & "Joker" Set in the Same DC Universe?
Even though his Batman is set in Earth-Two, Reeves denied rumors of possible crossover and connections to Phillips’s Joker.

The setting of the Joker is vastly different as well, which was also deliberate according to Todd Phillips – so much so, that it is set in the past, separating these two universes even more.


Batman Animated Movies in Order: The Ultimate Watching Order

Even though Reeves and Phillips had a similar approach to their characters’ psyche, Batman and Joker cannot be further away from each other – DC comics always had darker themes that have been massively explored, especially in the postmodern era of arts. Characters’ motivations, psyche, problems, and more, are more realistic and viewers can relate more to the comic book characters, which were once regarded as flawless, silly, and not serious at all.

These movies definitely kickstarted the way how comic book movies are going to be made and regarded by the fans in the future, which is good since today’s viewers are more educated today and can read the media much easier than in the past. Maybe one day Phillips and Reeves decide to at least somehow reference each other title characters in their projects but until then, we will enjoy their depictions of the most iconic comic book characters of all time. “The Batman” and “Joker” are only the beginning and we cannot wait for the future of the DC projects, separate and good in each own way.

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