‘Joker’ Director Reveals What the Sequel Could Be Like

Todd Phillips’ Joker might not be everyone’s favorite film of the year, but it definitely keeps popping up in the news. The R-rated blockbuster is currently gearing up to be a major awards contender. But beyond next year’s Academy Awards, the full extent of Joker‘s impact on the industry and Warner Bros.’ plans for DC Films remains unclear.

After all, studio executives are still reining in tons of profit from Phillips’ film. Joker has become the first R-rated film to earn more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Naturally, this has left many wondering if a sequel will happen soon.

Todd Phillips on stage
Todd Phillips on stage | Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences

Where ‘Joker’ leaves the story

Arthur Fleck’s (Joaquin Phoenix) transformation into Batman’s arch-nemesis is well on its way by the end of Joker. But he’s far from Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime right now. Even if Arthur has found his murderous place in the world, he still has to evolve into the criminal mastermind fans love to hate.

How a sequel would explore that could go a million different ways. Phillips could pick up moments after the first film ends, covering Arthur’s continued descent into madness. He could do a Batman Begins-esque villain story focusing on how Arthur develops his persona further. Or he could jump ahead in time to Arthur’s first encounter with the Dark Knight himself.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to where Joker could lead. As it stands, Phillips could just as easily allow the film to remain a standalone piece. However, the chances of that are getting slimmer with every box office milestone the film reaches.

How could Todd Phillips continue it in a sequel?

In a recent piece from the Los Angeles Times, Phillips takes on the topic of a potential Joker 2. The director confirms nothing is currently in the works right now. Yet, he at least has some notion of what a sequel could be like.

[Joker 2] couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the “Clown Prince of Crime.” It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does. Because I think that’s ultimately why the movie connected, it’s what’s going on underneath. So many movies are about the spark, and this is about the powder. If you could capture that again in a real way, that would be interesting.

Fans may be encouraged by Phillips’ interest in protecting the integrity of his film. So much of Joker is designed to maintain a sense of mystery. And, by its very nature, a sequel could potentially tarnish that.

Is Joaquin Phoenix open to returning?

If it does happen then, Joker 2 is unlikely to feel like just another comic book movie sequel. Phillips doesn’t seem to have any interest in such a project. The same, of course, can be said of Phoenix.

The actor has never taken part in a sequel or franchise but made an exception for Joker due to its distinctive approach. Even more amazingly, Phoenix has mentioned he would consider returning to the role if it made sense. With his performance so heavily praised, getting him to sign on is absolutely a prerequisite for any kind of follow-up.

The good news is that, if Phillips and Phoenix do go forward with Joker 2, they’ll probably have all the creative freedom they could possibly want. From Warner Bros.’ perspective, Joker was considered a tremendous risk. So we can only imagine the kind of insanity Phillips and Phoenix will be able to conjure in a sequel.