Are Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix Already Signed Up for Joker Sequel?

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BY November 20, 2019

Twitter today was all about the Impeachment hearings in the U.S. and new Star Wars emojis on hashtags. Yet, another subject started trending earlier in the day with most people excited about it. A report suggested that Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix already signed a deal with Warner Bros. to a sequel to Joker. As the first R-rated movie to get $1 billion (and on a $60-ish million budget), a sequel to the film makes sense in a lot of ways. Yet, Todd Phillips said during the press tour that he had no plans for a Joker sequel. Also, it appeared that Joaquin Phoenix wanted this film to be a one-off story. Of course, a billion dollars later, attitudes can change. So, are we getting Joker 2 or not? The answer, as always, is complicated.

What We Know About Todd Phillips and the Joker Sequel

Todd Phillips Joker Sequel Phoenix Smile

There has been a lot of misinformation about this movie from the beginning. For example, it’s long been said that noted “Marvel movies aren’t cinema”-thinker Martin Scorsese was originally attached to direct this film, right? Wrong. He was in talks, briefly, to serve as a producer on this film that Phillips essentially made as an homage to his early work. Nothing came of it, though, as he’s been hard at work on The Irishman. Another detail circulating in the wake of Joker becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film ever is that DC and Warner Bros. are thinking of doing a whole series of movies like this. Lex Luthor and other famous villains would get a gritty, superhero-less origin story like the Joker did. This is also not true. Originally, Phillips was in talks about a “DC Black Label” series of films, but he passed on those to make Joker.

The report that Todd Phillips is already signed-on to direct a Joker sequel came from The Hollywood Reporter. They said that the director met with WB Chairman Toby Emmerich to pitch the origin story idea. Emmerich, according to the report, “balked.” Still, their sources told them Todd Phillips won the rights to develop another gritty origin story, so long as he produced a sequel to Joker. Yet, other unnamed sources told Deadline that the meeting never actually happened.

They report:

“Multiple sources said no such October 7 meeting between Phillips and Emmerich occurred, and that Phillips doesn’t want to follow Joker by overseeing other DC character films…. No one is saying a Joker sequel won’t happen someday. But multiple sources said nothing has happened yet and that Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver have made no real moves to draft the further dark rise of Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck character, or even to make a deal to do that.”

Should There Even Be a Joker Sequel and Should Todd Philips Direct It?

Todd Phillips Joker Sequel Phoenix Ending Image via Warner Bros.

The largest problem with a Joker sequel is that it would undercut a big part of what Todd Phillips accomplished. As you know from our Joker review, Fleck is an unreliable narrator. Fans are supposed to leave the theater wondering if any of what they saw actually happened. There is everything from an imagined appearance on Murray Franklin’s talk show to an imagined relationship. Audiences are left to debate what was real and what wasn’t. If they do a sequel, they would have to definitively answer that (or pull off the same gag twice in a row).

There is no question that there will be another film centered around the Joker. Also, Joaquin Phoenix’s incredible performance earned him the right to play the character again if he wants to. If that happens, it might even be interesting to see another filmmaker’s take on the character. Still, DC has a very-packed slate of films and series upcoming, so finding room for it might be a challenge.

What do you think? Should Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix return for a Joker sequel? Or should this movie stand on its own? Share your thoughts, theories, and pitches for a second movie in the comments below!

Featured image via Warner Bros.


Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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