Major spoilers for The Batman from here on out, so read on at your peril.
Over the years, we’ve seen countless planned franchises or shared universes fail spectacularly because they tried to run before they could walk. Instead of creating an opening installment that convinces audiences they want to see more of the world, filmmakers and studios have often taken it for granted, only for the sequel teases, Easter Eggs and world-building to lead nowhere.
The Batman only hit theaters this past Friday, but at least three HBO Max spinoffs and a sequel are already in various stages of development, although it would be fair to say that fans are more than happy to invest in the mythology. Robert Pattinson’s debut is a critical darling that’s on the way to massive box office success, so it’s already clear that there’s a voracious appetite for the incoming BatVerse.
Reeves may have denied that Barry Keoghan’s cameo in the movie was an overt sequel tease, but during an interview with Variety, the filmmaker did hint that we may be seeing his Joker return in the Arkham Asylum series that’s been vaguely teased.
“I didn’t want to call him the Joker. I wanted him to be this kind of lean forward thing for people who were fans to go like, ‘Oh my god, I think that’s the Joker. I think they’re doing the Joker. I didn’t want to create all this speculation that we were doing the Joker by naming what he was, so we thought, well, let’s make him be a cop, and then people won’t really think too hard about it. There might be places. There’s stuff I’m very interested in doing in an Arkham space, potentially for HBO Max. There are things we’ve talked about there. So it’s very possible. It also isn’t impossible, that there is some story that comes back where Joker comes into our world.”
One of The Batman‘s many strengths is that it makes Gotham City feel like a character in the story for arguably the first time ever, instead of existing as nothing more than a backdrop to the action sequences. There’s a GCPD series, a Penguin-centric show, and an Arkham tale in the works, so it stands to reason that the Joker isn’t the only iconic villain that could make their presence felt in the BatVerse outwith the big screen.