“Joker” Sequel Official: Working Title & Pics of Joaquin Phoenix Reading Scripts Revealed
The Clown Prince of Chaos is back.
Director Todd Phillips has made it official that a Joker sequel is happening. Phillips took to Instagram to reveal that a follow-up to his 2019 hit film is in the works, revealing the cover of the script that he co-wrote with original Joker collaborator Scott Silver. The working title? Joker: Folie á Deux. More on this title in a minute.
Phillips also revealed an image of the Joker himself, Joaquin Phoenix, reading the script. While Warner Bros. has yet to make an official comment, this is the clearest signal yet that the creative team behind the conversation-starting, massively successful 2019 film is coming back for more.
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Joker gave us a completely stripped down origin story in which Phoenix’s Joker wasn’t a criminal mastermind, or even a charismatic psychopath praying on the people of Gotham, but rather a deeply broken part-time clown and struggling comedian named Arthur Fleck. Fleck was just another faceless, down-on-his-luck Gothamite struggling to get by when he finally snapped. Fleck commits a series of gruesome crimes, not in some grand scheme of vengeance, but in bursts of raw rage and pain, yet once they’re captured by the local news, Fleck becomes a folk hero to the downtrodden of Gotham. He literally only becomes the Joker at the very end of the film, when his very public crime ignites a massive, bloody riot on the streets of the city.
Joker also recast Batman’s origin story, creating a connection—imagined or not—between Arthur Fleck, Thomas Wayne, and a young Batman. The film was notoriously moody, eschewing nearly every traditional superhero movie beat in favor of a character study of a deeply troubled soul in a deeply troubled society, and it was a smash hit. Joker earned more than $1 billion worldwide, and garnered 12 Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Phillips and Silver. It also nabbed two Oscar wins—Best Original Score for composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Best Actor for Phoenix.
A lot has happened since Joker made such a splash, namely a pandemic, a shuffle at Warner Bros, and the arrival of a new version of Gotham in Matt Reeves’s critical and commercial hit The Batman, which exists in a separate universe from Joker and even included a cameo from a totally different Joker, played by Barry Keoghan. Phillips has not revealed any plot points from his sequel script, but it’s worth noting that a literal translation of the title Joker: Folie á Deux is “shared madness.” This begs the question of whether the title is simply hinting at the shared madness between Arthur Fleck and the citizens of Gotham, or if it winks at the arrival of the Joker’s only true companion, Harley Quinn. Quinn has been immortalized by Margot Robbie’s lovable version in three films now; Birds of Prey and the two Suicide Squad films. Yet considering Phillips’ version of Gotham is its own separate universe, he could cast someone totally different.
Whatever the case may be, the interest in Joker: Folie á Deux seems all but assured.
For more Joker coverage, read our interview with costume designer Mark Bridges and makeup department head Nicki Lederman.
Featured image: Caption: JOAQUIN PHOENIX as Arthur Fleck in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s “JOKER,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise