Director Todd Phillips suggested the idea of DC Black Label. It’s a concept that offers unique takes on classic characters. Phillips has confirmed Joker was pitched as the first film for this label.
It’s a mix of Elseworlds and Vertigo titles, which offers a fresh take on familiar heroes and villains (usually darker settings). As a movie, Joker aligns with this ethos by deviating from traditional superhero movie tones.
It provides a unique, character-driven narrative that resonates with audiences—seeking a departure from conventional comic book adaptations. The success of Joker indicated a demand for a more modern approach within the superhero genre.
So, after slating Joker as its inaugural film in DC Balck Label, Todd Phillips later pitched a Batman spin-off aiming to rival Robert Pattinson’s film.
Joker Director Pitched Batman Spin-off to Rival Pattinson’s Film in New DC Black Label
Initially, Joker was to be a standalone film with no sequels. But Warner Bros. envisioned Joker as the inaugural film for DC Black—a line of darker and more experimental DC Comics-based movies separate from the DCEU.
In 2019, Todd Philips told IGN, “I pitched it as three movies, Joker being the first with me, and then these two other movies, with two other directors.” Although he didn’t name the other two movies but, Batman was indeed one of them.
His next project after Joker was a Batman film. In 2019, Phillips clarified that The Batman (2022) and Joker are not set in the same continuity.
During an interview with Variety at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the director expressed interest in a spin-off focusing on Batman, saying:
“It’s a beautiful Gotham. What I would like to see someone tackle is what Batman looks like from that Gotham. I’m not saying I’m going to do that. 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.”
Though Phillips expressed a desire to explore the version of Batman that arises from the unique Gotham depicted in Joker, he didn’t confirm any plans to pursue it himself. But the mention of a spin-off definitely signals that the banner might delve into the concept of Batman in the future.
DC Black Label is a Potential Game-Changer for Superhero Films
The sequel to the movie Joker titled Joker: Folie a Deux is actually a standalone film itself. It’s not a part of a larger DC cinematic universe. With this, it can be said that the DC Black Label movies hold great potential. Because rather than integrating into the DC Extended Universe, its films follow a standalone approach.
It emphasizes the power of standalone storytelling without the need for extensive crossovers. And these successful standalone stories under the banner can reduce the pressure to build extensive shared universes different from what Marvel usually goes with.