How ‘Joker 2’ Might Expand Upon the First Film
It’s official. Joker is the highest-grossing R-rated film in history. Despite the polarizing response to Todd Phillips’ film, it is buoyed by a distinct tone and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. Awards season pundits are even eyeing it as a major Oscar player.
Given this success, fans will be pleased to know that — if it wasn’t clear before — Warner Bros. is definitely looking to build on Joker going forward. In fact, a new report suggests that development on Joker 2 has already begun.
Spoilers for Joker ahead!
Where did we leave Arthur Fleck?
Before we get to where Joker 2 may go, let’s review where the first film left its title character. Having murdered talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) on live television, Arthur (Phoenix) is arrested. But the rioters who admire him free Arthur from police custody. Meanwhile, one of them corners the Wayne family and slaughters Bruce Wayne’s parents.
That alone feels like a fairly smooth transition to a sequel, one which follows the Joker’s rise and Wayne’s journey to the Batsuit. But Phillips complicates things with a flash-forward. Arthur is now locked up, presumably in Arkham Asylum, giving bloody chase to the orderlies there. In a psychiatric session, he laughs but will not say why.
With this ending, Phillips leaves it ambiguous how much of the film is real versus what is a figment of Arthur’s fractured mind. This only feeds into its unsettling nature. Yet, Phillips will have to clarify this aspect of his film in a sequel. So let’s get to what a follow-up might cover.
What’s the latest update on ‘Joker 2’?
According to We Got This Covered, Warner Bros. is quietly moving forward on a sequel to Joker. However, while the first film drew inspiration from Martin Scorsese’s early work, the sequel will hew much more closely to the source material. After all, one of the biggest criticisms from some fans is that Arthur bore little resemblance to his comic book counterpart.
The sequel will reportedly more heavily involve the Batman mythos. Set a few years after Joker, the sequel will see Arthur truly come into his own as the Clown Prince of Crime. There’s no word on whether Phillips or Phoenix is signed on just yet. But we imagine that Warner Bros. will make that a priority before getting too far into development.
If the film does come together, it will be the first sequel of Phoenix’s career. He was initially hesitant to join Joker but has since publicly stated he’d be interested in exploring the character further.
Where Joaquin Phoenix can go in the sequel
Since Joker is so unlike any other entry in the superhero genre, it’s a bit difficult to imagine what a sequel would look like. Now that Arthur has fully embraced his notorious moniker — and has a legion of willing henchmen — what might his next move be?
Likely, he will continue taking out his rage and frustration on those he feels have done wrong by him and others like him. Seeing Joker take on the institution of Gotham would further propel him into the “agent of chaos” that fans are expecting. From here, Phillips can create a sequel that feels like a dark and sinister take on Batman Begins.
We could witness the beginnings of many of the character’s hallmarks, and the sequel could even bring in prototypical versions of other Batman villains. Joker will naturally need to form alliances and/or make enemies in the criminal underworld as he gains power.
Although it doesn’t seem like the Joker films will tie into the DC Extended Universe anytime soon, Joker 2 could be the birth of a separate interconnected continuity.