Joker behind-the-scenes photo reveals hidden Catwoman reference

(Image credit: Todd Phillips Instagram)

Throughout Joker, the eponymous villain is spotted on multiple occasions scribbling into a notebook. As revealed by director Todd Phillips, those were notes actor Joaquin Phoenix made himself while preparing for the role – one that has been highly acclaimed, with Phoenix even being in the running for an Oscar. 

With Joker nearing the $1 billion mark at the box-office, Phillips has shared some behind-the-scenes pictures from the movie, with one teasing a tantalising comic-book reference. On a page of Joker's notebook, spliced images of a woman with a cat's head can be seen. Fans have taken this to be a reference to the Batman anti-hero Catwoman, who was a female cat-burger in the source material.

Catwoman has been confirmed to appear in the upcoming Batman film, appropriately named The Batman. That movie will star Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, and Zoe Kravitz will play Catwoman.

What else can we gleam from the behind-the-scenes photos? Nothing too notable, but there are some great shots of Phoenix having his Joker makeup applied. And who doesn't want to see more of his Joker? Well, that's probably the exact question Warner Bros. executives are asking themselves right now, as the movie continues to break box-office records around the world.

Speaking of WB executives, news recently emerged that they were unsure about allowing Phillips to make a full-blown Joker movie with Batman references, even questioning whether the character needed to be Joker at all. "Maybe, some of the executives reasoned, Phillips’s origin story could set up a character who audiences would understand is based on the Joker, but who isn’t literally the Joker," some allegedly said, according to a new report. 

Speaking with GamesRadar+ earlier this year, Phillips indicated that Warner and DC wanted less connections to the comic books in the movie. "When I originally thought about the film, I didn't have all those things figured out," he said when asked about including Batman in the movie. "Once you start writing, you start giving things more meaning and you work things out. One of those things I was thinking, 'You know what would be fun? Having the Waynes.' But it wasn't a directive from DC. I would argue that DC and Warner Bros wanted less, to make it more separate from that universe. I can see why they would. But they never said anything in either direction. It wasn't like, 'Make sure you include the Waynes' or, 'Include that scene at the end.'"

Jared Leto or Phoenix? Find out who came out on top in our ranking of the best Joker actors. Plus, for more clowning around, be sure to check out the big questions we had after the Joker ending.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.