When it was first announced, director Todd Phillips' Joker origin movie seemed like an ethereal project in Warner Bros.’ ever-shifting tapestry of DC films. Though the studios certainly seemed serious about it, many fans expected it a sure candidate to reside in development hell, possibly never seeing even the start of production.
However, here we now are more than a year later, and the movie is already in the middle of shooting. Not only that, we recently caught our first glimpse at actor Joaquin Phoenix in the clown makeup, though it may not be the maniacal super-villain's final look in the film. While little is known about the movie’s story, it's been confirmed that Phoenix's character Arthur Fleck is the lead of the film and, as far as we know, there will be no Batman roaming the rooftops of Gotham City.
However, that's not to say that the film won't take place in a universe that embraces the comic books published by DC Comics. After a set video from the film surfaced revealing Phoenix's Joker tormenting the Gotham City subway, a photo from the set also began making the rounds showinga map of the entire subway system of Gotham City. At first glance, it looked like any old city subway map. But upon closer inspection, fans have been realizing it holds a number of nods to the world of Batman, both on the comic book page and on the big screen.
Here is a rundown of every secret this map contains about the Batman mythos.
References to Previous Batman Films
You might not notice at first, but the map of this version of Gotham City is actually heavily inspired by the one seen in director Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy. While Nolan's movies themselves never gave us a clear overview of the Gotham City plans, a map of the city was released in Insight Edition's The Dark Knight Manual, an extensive guide to the making of Nolan's Bat-films. The map from the manual, when juxtaposed to the one from Phillips' Joker, is strikingly similar. In fact, the three main islands that comprise Gotham City are exactly alike.
This reference to Christopher Nolan's film also receives a direct homage thanks to a station named Nolan Lane (though this could be a double nod to artist Graham Nolan, as well). A close inspection of the map reveals a Jack Street, likely a reference to Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. Plus, one of the main parts of the middle island is named Snyder, believed to be a reference to director Zack Snyder, who was instrumental in bringing the DC Extended Universe to life.
And if all that weren't enough, the first station under Kane County is Adam's Drive, which has to be a reference to Batman ‘66 actor Adam West.