‘Joker’ Actor Addresses Rumors He Could Make a Surprising Return in the Sequel

The writing’s been on the wall since Joker won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. But the Todd Phillips-directed film continues to be a cultural phenomenon since hitting theaters in October amid much controversy. As 2020 draws near, Joker fever is still only getting stronger.

The film has already become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, with a worldwide box office of more than $1 billion. Now Warner Bros. has been putting the movie’s awards legs to the test. With an ongoing Oscar campaign and several high-profile Golden Globes nominations, the studio is laughing all the way to the bank.

The cast of 'Joker' at the premiere
The cast of ‘Joker’ at the premiere | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Warner Bros. wants ‘Joker 2’ to happen soon

Of course, Warner Bros. is eager to build on the success it has seen with Joker. No one thought an aggressively bleak, R-rated comic book movie was capable of such an impact. So a Joker sequel is now almost certainly in the cards (pun intended).

If it does indeed come together as fans expect, Joker 2 will mark a departure for star Joaquin Phoenix. For a variety of reasons then, the studio, Phillips, and Phoenix might actually take its time on a sequel. In the meantime, Warner Bros. has other ideas about how to capitalize on its success.

The studio is already shifting into a harder focus on R-rated DC Comics adaptations. Phillips even pitched a cinematic version of the comics’ DC Black label before he started work on Joker. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of seismic shift the film will create in the industry.

Who could join Joaquin Phoenix in the sequel?

While Joker 2 might not get fast-tracked to production, many fans are already speculating how Phillips and Phoenix could continue Arthur Fleck’s story. So far Phillips has given only the vaguest sense of what his approach might be. That’s fitting because Joker‘s very nature is to leave interpreting its story up to the audience.

However, fans have identified one key way Joker 2 could draw inspiration from the comics. During a pivotal scene in Joker, Arthur brutally murders one of his co-workers, allowing another named Gary (Leigh Gill) to walk away unscathed. Some viewers see the character as a direct reference to Gaggy, a diminutive clown who becomes Joker’s first sidekick in the comics.

Gill even posted about the fan theory on Instagram, fueling speculation on whether Gary could return in the sequel. Of course, nothing is official, but the similarity between the two characters’ names feels intentional. Then, of course, there are the circumstances under which Arthur spares Gary.

An opportunity for Todd Phillips to dig deeper

In the film, Arthur tells Gary he can leave because he’s always been “nice” to him and has done “nothing wrong.” Phillips later confirmed Arthur’s violent side only targets those people that “did him wrong.” So it’s not hard to imagine Arthur and Gary’s friendship as one of the few relationships to carry over into a sequel.

Sure, Gary was initially horrified at Arthur’s bloody outburst. But it’s entirely within the dark, twisted world of Joker for Gary to eventually come around to Arthur’s way of thinking. After all, if the sequel hopes to continue Arthur’s evolution as Joker, having a supporting character who knew him before his turn would lend a context that would otherwise be lacking.

Moreover, Joker 2 would need to see Arthur’s influence and inner criminal circle grow to live up to the madness of the first film’s final act. Introducing Harley Quinn would feel too familiar to audiences, especially as Margot Robbie’s version remains so prevalent. Gaggy, on the other hand, is unexplored territory and the perfect addition to a Joker sequel.