It’s been a long time coming, but the highly anticipated follow-up to 2014’s immensely popular film, ‘The Batman,’ appears to be on its way. The film will star Robert Pattinson (the dark and moody actor we all know and love) as the titular character and is being referred to by many as the ‘Joker’ movie.

The project is currently in the early stages of production and no release date has been set. But producers on the project tell Variety it’s likely to be released in theaters in the next couple of years.

And yes, it would seem that the Caped Crusader is once again facing a rise in popularity as a result of the new film. In fact, many are already comparing the upcoming ‘Batman’ movie to its predecessor.

The Rise in Popularity

‘The Batman’ is currently in its sixth month of release in theaters across the U.S. and the world as a whole and, as a result, has seen a surge of interest in the iconic superhero. Box office analysts have projected that the film could end up grossing as much as $400 million worldwide. To put this in perspective, 2014’s ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ grossed just over $400 million, while 2013’s ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ and 2012’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ each grossed over $400 million. So, even if the rumored film is a bit of a letdown, it still has a very good chance of turning a profit.

Why Are People Embracing The Joker?

‘The Joker’ was the subject of much scrutiny after its August 2018 debut in theaters across the U.S. The film, which was directed by Todd Phillips and co-starred Joaquin Phoenix, follows the comic book character’s adventures as a stand-alone narrative that intersperses scenes from popular culture with stylized action sequences. This approach was in part inspired by the character’s history as an antagonist that regularly defeated the protagonist of the Batman series in the pages of comic books. While most critics and audiences agreed that the character had not been represented in film in quite some time and that his inclusion in ‘The Joker’ was both exciting and daring, not everything about the movie was intended to be so reflective of the source material.

A Timeless Character

If you’ve read any Batman comics, you’ll know that the character has never been particularly high-tech and the setting of the films is always depicted as being in stark contrast to the character’s traditional nocturnal adventures in the shadows. Yet, somehow, the character still endures in a world full of one-hit-wonders and trend-setters. In keeping with this, the upcoming ‘Batman’ is looking to update the character for modern day audiences while still retaining the essence of what makes him so appealing to audiences across the world.

New Additions To The Caped Crusader’s Family

‘The Batman’ didn’t just bring back a fan favorite character with the inclusion of The Joker, it also introduced us to several new characters and, in some cases, entire new family trees for the famous fictional detective. The film’s climax reveals that Bruce Wayne is the product of an incestuous relationship between his mother and father. And while this twist was certainly shocking and something that hasn’t been presented within the context of the character’s 40+ year history, it also introduced several new facets to Wayne’s character. What’s more is that he doesn’t have to play it safe anymore in terms of who he interacts with. Thanks to advancements in genetic science, he has the ability to perpetuate his own kind and continue his legacy. This, in turn, creates a whole new set of problems for the film’s protagonist, which is played by Matt Damon. As a result, ‘The Batman’ serves as a microcosm for the societal and political tensions that exist within the context of today’s world. It’s a relevant and topical story that resonates with audiences across all demographics.

The Return Of The King

While ‘The King’ is known for taking a long time to develop, the final product is often considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. Similarly, ‘The Return of the King’ does not disappoint. The nine-part miniseries, which is co-directed by Peter Jackson and Franck Khalfoun, is the finale to his epic Hobbit trilogy and the culmination of many of the character’s storylines. Like ‘The Batman’, ‘The Return of the King’ continues to explore topical and relevant themes while also looking to the future.

What Do We Really Know About The Joker?

‘The Joker’ is, at its core, a tragedy. However, there’s far more to the character than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts surrounding the Clown Prince of Crime.

A Self-Made Man

The Joker is arguably the most famous stand-alone character in comics and has been featured in a variety of media, including video games. But it was in the pages of comic books where he first made his appearance in the 1940s.

The character was originally created by cartoonist Jerry Robinson and was inspired by both Jack the Ripper and Houdini. Over time, the character evolved into something much darker. The Joker is often depicted as a sadist and is known for his unpredictable behavior and penchant for violence. But despite all this, he is, in fact, a loner. He doesn’t have many friends and instead spends his time terrorizing Gotham City. He isn’t above killing for fun, either.

An Arrogant Genius

The Joker exhibits a wide range of complex emotions, but there’s one emotion that he seemingly never experiences: guilt. It’s often suggested that this is because the character cannot feel remorse for the actions he takes. Despite this, he’s shown to be capable of displaying compassion in some cases, such as when he feels guilty about shooting a homeless man in the stand-alone story, ‘Harvey Dent.’

A Rival With A Past

The Joker has a long and storied history as a villain. He’s battled the likes of Batman and the Dark Knight multiple times and, in some cases, teamed up with them. But although they may be the greatest foes he’s faced so far, The Jokers and Batman have also been close friends at times. This is most likely because they have a lot in common. Both men are extremely intelligent and their methods of getting revenge are also quite similar. And, in fact, they were once quite good friends.

A Jack The Ripper Figure

It would be a missed opportunity if ‘The Batman’ doesn’t incorporate some of the character’s most iconic elements. One of these elements is his infamous “tooth grin.” This was the very first thing that screenwriter Gary Daukes noted when he wrote the character’s first story, ‘The Telltale Head,’ back in 1968.

Daukes, who had previously adapted several Roald Dahl stories for the big screen, felt that it was essential for the character’s identity that he wear this particular grin. The screenwriter went so far as to say that he “wouldn’t change a single word” in his draft, as it perfectly represented The Jokers dark sense of humor.

What’s more is that the screenwriter also based the name of the main villain in his story on the real-life serial killer, Jack the Ripper. This was, of course, a deliberate allusion on his part and it helped give the story its unique flavor. However, the connection to the notorious killer wasn’t something that Daukes intended at the time. He didn’t learn about the connection to Jack the Ripper until many years later.

An Unpredictable Villain

‘The Joker’ is one of the most iconic and beloved characters in comics and film. But even some of his greatest admirers couldn’t have predicted some of the things that he’s done. This unpredictability is one of the reasons that the character continues to resonate so strongly with audiences. And, yes, it’s also the reason behind the recent spike in interest surrounding the character. But it’s also important to mention that this quality makes him an extremely complex and interesting character to explore, both in film and, more importantly, in one’s own life.