Update: The Batman 2 is officially happening, here's what we know so far
Matt Reeves' The Batman 2 (not the official title) lives in a weird hype-filled limbo, and The Joker is the latest character to be thrown into the conversation. While this movie is not confirmed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the entire cast has already been talking about it in interviews. So far, they've mostly talked about villains like Mr. Freeze (Reeves himself) and the Court of Owls (Pattinson).
But the clown prince of crime's influence was just discovered in The Batman website rataalada.com (opens in new tab) (its official alternate reality game, aka a game that exists outside of the movie and is used for marketing and fan engagement). Also, just know that this 'tease' doesn't come right out and say "it's The Joker, baby!" It's something a bit more subtle. We'll break it all down for you, though, but what follows below will contain The Batman spoilers, so beware.
Haven't seen it yet? The Batman hits HBO Max on April 19, 2022.
How to find The Batman 2's Joker tease
Alright digital detectives, let's get in formation. After you load rataalada, click on "[CLICK FOR REWARD]" to download a whole ZIP file that seems to be evidence from The Riddler's lair. You'll see the images of Martha Wayne under duress at the mental institution she was checked into, as well as the schematics for the traps that Riddler trapped the current police commissioner in.
But this file of images is arguably just a distraction. Sure, you could spend all the time in the world dissecting the Saw-like images. It's a lot of fun and fan service, we won't argue that.
But, now that you've downloaded and peeked around in that file? It's time to go back to rataalada and hit refresh (h/t to GamesRadar (opens in new tab) for this). Then, you should see the below message, and you should click "[CLICK FOR REWARD]" to progress.
And what happens when you click on that image? You get a JPEG with what appears to just be another cipher-coded message from The Riddler. And thankfully, Twitter's greatest detectives already cracked the code. User @malcolmg33 posted both the decoding of the obvious text, and then the Easter egg hidden inside of this Easter egg.
First, the main message says "Gotham loves a comeback," which implies The Riddler's stay in Arkham won't be forever (and whose is?). But there's also slightly harder-to-see text surrounding that message, which translates to ... well, see for yourself:
i dont know if anyone else has noticed this but around the "GOTHAM LOVES A COMEBACK" there are riddler cyphers surrounding it translating to "HA". pic.twitter.com/fuo7vq7UVoMarch 12, 2022
Yes, chaotic laughter, in the form of a bunch of "HA"s, surrounds the original message. So, if you didn't think Riddler's neighbor at Arkham was The Joker (and it was, and was played by Barry Keoghan), guess again.
Analysis: How much weight should you put in this?
The implication here is that the two aren't just neighboring, they're collaborating on these cryptic messages. Which could very well be their way of beginning the courtship towards collaborative villainy in The Batman 2 (or another sequel).
And that would seem like a very logical next step, considering how we saw them at the end of The Batman. Previously, though, rataalada was reportedly (opens in new tab) used to tease the Hush character from the Batman comics. Which would be pretty cool.
But this is all to be taken with a grain of salt. While the jail scene with Riddler and Joker makes it feel like their team-up is possible, we're not sure who exactly is running the content that goes up on rataalada.com. We're thinking Warner Bros. Pictures definitely has a hand in it, but there's no word on how involved Reeves is with the site.
That said? We're sure that Warner would love to get The Joker — likely Batman's most well-known villain — in The Batman 2. While the first chapter of this new series has done well at the box office (opens in new tab), The Joker's presence in the sequel would very likely help the film earn even more.