20 Best Joker Easter Eggs and References

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joker easter eggs

One of the best parts of superhero cinema is the interconnectivity of it all. When we see Superman, we wonder if Lex Luthor is lurking around the corner; when there’s a new Batman adventure, we’re on the lookout for a Catwoman cameo…

But most of all, when we watch any DC Comics movie, we keep our eyes peeled for hints of the Joker and his maniacal shenanigans. 

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As it so happens, these hidden Joker references are delightfully littered throughout DC films. Even when he isn’t front-and-center, Batman’s greatest villain always feels present in the shadows. 

With this in mind, we’ve combed through the DC universe to uncover some of the best Joker Easter Eggs we’ve seen on the big screen so far…

1. Amusement Mile 

Movie: Joker 

In Joker, struggling comedian Arthur Fleck (a.k.a. the Joker) is seen leaving his talent agency in an area called ‘Amusement Mile.’ As keen DC fanatics may already know, this is an homage to a location in the comics.

‘Amusement Mile’ is a key setting in the famous comic tale, “The Killing Joke,” as well as in Birds Of Prey. The Joker also hangs around there in the Arkham video game series. 

2. Joker Collage

Movie: Batman: The Killing Joke

Speaking of “The Killing Joke,” there are also some fun Joker Easter Eggs in the animated adaptation of the comic tale from 2016. Among them is a virtual collage of past Jokers that Batman mulls over.

The collage includes glimpses of both the Jack Nicholson (the Joker on the bench) and Heath Ledger (the Joker behind bars) portrayals, suggesting that in this version of the story, all past versions of the Joker belong to the same storyline. 

joker easter egg killing joke

3. Happy the Clown

Movie: Birds Of Prey

In Birds Of Prey, we meet a fellow named ‘Happy’ who is tattooed (by Harley Quinn and the Joker) with clownish features. It might not be a super meaningful link, but the character seems to have been pulled from The Dark Knight, where another ill-fated Happy is among the Joker’s early bank heist accomplices. 

4. Zach Galifianakis’ Joker

Movie: Joker

This is a subtle one. While Arthur Fleck watches the show ‘Live! With Murray Franklin’ in Joker, one of Franklin’s guests is played by Justin Theroux. The character is insignificant, but is listed in the credits as ‘Ethan Chase’. 

This is also the name of a character in Due Date, a comedy that Joker director Todd Phillips helmed in 2010. And that Ethan Chase was played by Zach Galifianakis, who voiced the Joker in The Lego Batman Movie.   

Ethan Chase joker
Reddit

5. Joker Tattoos 

Movie: Suicide Squad

There are some fun allusions to past Joker-related nuggets in Suicide Squad. Jared Leto’s Joker has a “J” tattoo, similar to the one the Joker brands Jason Todd (a.k.a. Robin) with in the video game “Arkham Knight.”

Harley Quinn, meanwhile, is marked with the message, “Let me tell you a sekret,” seemingly referring to a line Joker speaks to her in the “Harleen” comic series. 

let me tell you a sekret harley
Reddit

6. Jason Todd’s Suit

Movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

In Batman v Superman, we briefly glimpse a graffitied superhero suit in Batman’s cave. The suit appears to belong to Jason Todd’s Robin, and carries mocking messages from the Joker.

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It’s a clear reference to past storylines (such as the ‘80s comic line, “A Death In The Family”), in which the Joker has actually killed Todd. 

Dawn Of Justice robin suit

7. Barry Keoghan’s Joker

Movie: The Batman

Okay, this one isn’t so much an Easter Egg as it is a whole chicken. But The Batman does serve up an anonymous prisoner who remarks to The Riddler that, “One day you’re on top, the next you’re a clown.”

We now know that this prisoner was the actor Barry Keoghan, who has been slated to appear in the future as the Joker (even if the folks involved have been coy about this). 

8. Cesar Romero’s Face

Movie: The Dark Knight

If you’ve watched The Dark Knight a dozen times, you’ll recall the distinctive mask the Joker wears during his bank heist – red nose, arched eyebrows, a blue goatee.

Well, as many have noticed, this mask is actually an homage to the same look that a different Joker took on nearly 50 years prior. 

In the 1966 Batman episode, “The Joker Is Wild,” Cesar Romero’s take on the character briefly wore makeup that Heath Ledger’s heist mask resembles. 

9. Jonny Frost

Movie: Suicide Squad

Jonny Frost is one of the many Joker henchmen from the comics over the years. In this case, the character comes from 2008’s “Joker.” But he also appears in Suicide Squad, even if he doesn’t play a large role.

The actor Jim Parrack is standing by in one scene with the nametag, ‘Mr. Frost’, visible on a patch on his sleeve, giving us a small glimpse of the character. 

https://twitter.com/ComicCrusaders/status/630219634873122816?s=20

10. Ace Chemicals

Movie: Shazam!

Like the ‘Amusement Mile’ Easter Egg in Joker, this fun reference also involves a familiar location. In Shazam!, the titular character is seen honing his skills inside an abandoned building that’s clearly an Ace Chemicals plant.

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Ace Chemicals has appeared in several Batman movies over the years; in some stories, it is where the Joker becomes disfigured (and psychotic). 

shazam Ace Chemicals
Reddit

11. Tim Curry

TV Show: Batman: The Animated Series 

Batman: The Animated Series isn’t a movie, but it does feature many people’s favorite depiction of the Joker, as voiced by Mark Hamill. Before Hamill got the role, however, it almost went to Tim Curry (one of the better actors in the world for playing sinister).

As a nod to this what-if, Curry – who missed out originally due to a bout of bronchitis – got to voice a clown robot in the episode “Be A Clown.” 

12. Two Boats and a Parade

Movie: The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman Movie is cram-full of clever Joker references. As the film’s Galifianakis-voiced Joker tries to hijack a plane, a cheeky pilot argues that the action is pointless, because Batman will end up thwarting his rival.

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He then cites the Joker’s “two boats” tactic from The Dark Knight, as well as his freakshow parade from Tim Burton’s Batman

13. Metal Teeth

Movie: Suicide Squad 

There are many reasons why the Joker in Suicide Squad has metal teeth. But director David Ayer has actually admitted that the decision is from a specific “Birds Of Prey” comic storyline where Batman knocks the Joker’s teeth out, after the Joker murders Jason Todd. 

Then again, it could also be seen as a random shoutout to Jaws, the James Bond villain. Metal-toothed villains have to stick together, right? 

Batman knocks Jokers teeth
Reddit

14. Hanging Fish

Movie: Birds Of Prey

In Birds Of Prey, there’s a scene where Black Mask is tormenting captured victims by hanging them from the ceiling. Dead fish can also be spotted upside down, which is an obvious visual nod to a plot from “Detective Comics” #475 where the Joker created ‘Joker Fish.’

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It’s also a shot from Batman: The Animated Series, which specifically shows fish hanging as they do in Birds Of Prey

hanging fish birds prey

15. Robinson Park

Movie: Birds Of Prey

Another interesting reference in Birds Of Prey comes in the form of a mention by Harley Quinn of ‘Robinson Park’. This is a place that comes up in other Batman installments, as well (including Joker), and it’s meant as a tribute to Jerry Robinson.

Robinson is the artist who originally designed the Joker (as well as Robin) for the comics. 

16. ‘The Blue Boy’

Movie: Joker

“The Blue Boy” is a 1770 portrait by Thomas Gainsborough that symbolizes wealth, artistry, and pseudo-intellect. Because of this status, it has become a favorite prop in Hollywood, including some from the Batman franchise. 

One example is in Joker, where Arthur Fleck has the painting on his wall. Rather than just being one more use of ‘The Blue Boy’ though, this can also be viewed as a reference to Tim Burton’s Batman, in which the painting is among those Jack Nicholson’s Joker famously vandalizes. 

https://twitter.com/BatmanFiles/status/1254283174412267520?s=20

17. A Joker Gun

Movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

No one can forget that dream sequence in Batman v Superman, dubbed the ‘Knightmare.’ Well, in this scene is yet another Joker Easter Egg.

In this vision, Batman takes up a gun for the first time, and on that gun, there’s a sort of sticker that resembles a small Joker card. It’s not clear what this means, but it’s definitely a fun little Easter Egg to puzzle over.  

knightmare joker card

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18. Heath Ledger

Movie: Joker 

It’s difficult not to compare Joaquin Pheonix’s performance to Heath Ledger’s Joker throughout this movie. Not only did he have similar hair and act just like Heath (a.k.a. the best Joker actor ever!), there are several instances in this film that are a clear nod to the late actor’s performance:

  • Arthur’s boss says that people think he’s a “freak” – this mirrors the moment Heath Ledger’s Joker tells Batman, “To them you’re just a freak…like me.”
  • Arthur writes “Put on a happy face”, similarly to how Heath’s Joker says, “Let’s put a smile on that face.”
  • The “Ace in the Hole” billboard could be a reference to Heath’s Joker calling Harvey Dent his “ace in the hole.”
  • The moment when Arthur dresses as a clown in a doctor’s outfit is a call back to Heath’s Joker also wearing a nurse’s outfit

19. J. Kerr

Movie: Batman Begins

At the very end of Batman Begins, we famously get a hint that the next film in the Nolan trilogy will feature the Joker. The hint comes in the form of a ‘calling card’ – a.k.a. a Joker card – presented by Commissioner Gordon to Batman. 

Far more subtly though, the bag the Joker card is presented in indicates that the evidence was recovered by a “J. Kerr”. This just so happens to be a common alias of the Joker (J. Kerr sounding much like “Joker”). 

j.kerr batman begins

20. A Clown Face

Movie: The Dark Knight Rises

Toward the very end of The Dark Knight Rises, the authorities of Gotham unveil a statue of Batman. We get a brief glimpse of the ceremony from above, and suddenly see that the way in which the people, the statue, and the room are laid out resembles a clown face.

It’s not the Joker’s face specifically, but it’s still an undeniable reference (and perhaps the cleverest Joker Easter Egg listed here). 

joker face easter egg dark knight rises

Superhero movies take plenty of heat for their constant reboots and for reimagining the same material to no end. At the same time though, it’s hard not to love the genre when the interconnectivity of stories, characters, and other movies produces so many fun little nuggets. 

These Joker Easter Eggs are a big part of what we love most about these franchises – and they’ve certainly helped to uplift the Joker as one of the best villains of all time.

What other Easter Eggs referring to the Joker have you spotted? Let us know in the comments below…

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Tale Teller

  • Angela Stephanou

    After completing her BA in Communication, Media and Film studies, Angela launched Tell Tales Online, and now writes and oversees the content and strategy across the site. As a pop culture junkie, she follows more celebs than real-life people, her guilty pleasure is watching The Kardashians, but she's also a fan of Marvel and Game of Thrones.

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RJ
10 months ago

Did anyone else see “Ukraine accident” referenced on a newsboard about mid way through ‘Joker’ and think “Chernobyl?”

Bruce
10 months ago

Also in ‘Joker’, the ambulance that crashes into the police car transporting Arthur also causes a taxi cab to flip over. Perhaps a nod to Taxi Driver. The ambulance driver that pulls Arthur from the wrecked police car is wearing Travis Bickle’s army style jacket

Obalysk
10 months ago

The only Heath Ledger “reference” is the long hair Phoenix sports. Technically the term freak could’ve been a call back to bvs Bruce first meets Clark. But again this was reaching. A few good Easter eggs though.

Tom C
10 months ago

In ‘Joker’, there was also a quick nod to the future Batman when young Bruce slides down a pole when Arthur shows up at the gates of Wayne Manor. Albeit maybe more of a TV Batman reference…