Director Matt Reeves’ The Batman is set to breathe new life into the Dark Knight franchise, skipping over the caped crusader’s origin story to focus on his early days as the guardian of Gotham City.

We already know the cast includes a myriad of classic villains including the Riddler to be played by Paul Dano, the Penguin to be played by Colin Farrell, and Catwoman to be portrayed by none other than Zoe Kravitz. But now, a fresh new leak reveals that the Joker too, may be joining the all star line-up, with his involvement said to set up the second film in what is expected to be another Batman trilogy.

According to Inverse, the Joker — inarguably Batman’s greatest adversary — will be teased at the end of The Batman and later introduced in the second film. He will then supposedly feature in the third film alongside the other villains. Presumably, this will be an all new Joker, so don’t expect to be seeing Joaquin Phoenix reprise his role.

Some fans have even drawn comparisons between The Batman’s plot and the classic Batman: Year One comic book storyline. Batman: Year One effectively retold the Dark Knight’s origin story and showcased his first meeting with the the Clown Prince of Crime.

All things considered, The Batman taking a break from the Joker is probably a good thing, especially considering how pervasive the character has become over the last couple of years. That being said his potential introduction in the reboot could mean a few things.

For one, it’s possible mentioning the character as early as the first film means Reeves is planning to adapt Batman: The Killing Joke. The bestselling graphic novel, written by Alan Moore, sees the Clown Prince of Crime push Commissioner Gordon to his limits. As Batman tries to intervene, the Joker shoots Barbara Gordon, paralysing her and ending her career as Batgirl. While Batman: The Killing Joke is considered to be one version of the Joker’s origin story, many believe it to be the definitive take, so it would only make sense to adapt it for the silver screen.

Of course as of yet, there’s no confirmation Batgirl will appear in Reeves’ reboot.

But keeping in line with the news about the Joker, it’s possible that a potential Batgirl introduction in The Batman will then segue into an adaptation of The Killing Joke in the later films.

The Batman is slated to hit theatres on October 1, 2021.