According to the rumor mongers at We Got This Covered, Warner Bros. and DC Films have eyes on a big name to portray the next version of the Joker, who will face off against Robert Pattinson’s Batman: Johnny Depp.
Of course, we’re fairly certain that the Clown Prince of Crime will not appear in any way, shape, or form in writer-director Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, in which Pattinson’s Dark Knight will make his debut; WGTC’s wily anonymous sources don’t dispute that. They simply allege that Warner Bros. is already looking to lock down the role for a sequel to Battinson’s first outing, and that Depp is at the top of their list of candidates.
We’re also pretty sure of two more things: that The Batman will be a hit by virtue of kicking major amounts of ass (and will almost certainly earn a sequel), and that we haven’t seen the last of the Joker on the big screen. As to whether there’s anything to this rumor, though… well, probably not. As you may be aware, WGTC is not exactly a super-reliable source of inside information; while the site’s rumor reports have been accurate on occasion, they are generally to be taken with an enormous grain of salt. No other media outlets have even caught a whiff of this potential casting, and Depp is currently in the middle of a bit of a media firestorm; this all adds up to this rumor most likely being, as they say, a bunch of hooey.
That doesn’t mean that Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne won’t have to contend with his cackling arch-nemesis at some point, however. In fact, we find it quite likely that The Batman’s sequel could introduce the Joker. We just don’t think it’ll be Johnny Depp in the role.
Assuming that The Batman does get at least one follow-up picture, it seems silly to think that the Joker won’t get involved at some point. There’s one thing, however, that we know for sure: that it won’t be the version portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix in last year’s billion-dollar hit Joker.
We know this for more than one reason, not the least of which is that Joker’s director, Todd Phillips, shot any speculation on the matter full of holes long before the flick was even released. Asked about the possibility of Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck having a run-in with Pattinson’s Caped Crusader at some point, Phillips flatly stated, “No, definitely not… There will be many more Jokers, I’m sure, in the future” (via Variety).
Since then, we’ve gotten photos from the set of The Batman which strongly indicate that the picture is set no earlier than the mid-’00s. Considering that Joker was set in 1981, this would mean that Arthur Fleck would be just a bit too old to take on the young, sprightly Batman who will be featured in Reeves’ movies.
For that matter, the 56-year old Depp is probably a bit long in the tooth to be considered for the role (to say nothing of fan-favorite choice Willem Dafoe, who is even older). No, the next actor to step into the Joker’s clown shoes is likely to be much closer in age to the 33-year old Pattinson — even if, as another recent rumor suggests, he won’t be squaring off against Batman at all.
While Joker 2 hasn’t yet been confirmed, it seems all but inevitable given the first movie’s stellar box office performance. If it happens to get the green light sooner rather than later — and if it follows the template of the original, which was very light on post-production CGI — then there’s a chance that Arthur Fleck’s next big-screen appearance could arrive before O Batman, Where Art Thou (or whatever The Batman’s sequel ends up being called).
If this is the case, then our next cinematic Joker could be part of a two-fer — as the rumor mill has also recently suggested that Joker 2 will see Arthur contending with the real Joker, a younger, even more violent criminal who was influenced by the events of the first film. The Rumor-O-Matic has even spit out one possibility as to who might take on the role: Ben Barnes, who portrayed Jigsaw on the Marvel Netflix series The Punisher.
Of course, until we hear something official, we’re inclined to file this under W for “Wild,” and S for “Speculation.” (We have a confusing filing system, but it works for us.) The big Bat-picture will undoubtedly become clearer when The Batman hits the big screen on June 25, 2021.