The Joker is one of the most enduring and memorable characters in comics, TV, and film. He’s been played many times to iconic standing by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, and Heath Ledger. Another actor to give the character a spin to excellent, Oscar-winning results was Joaquin Phoenix in 2019’s surprise hit Joker. The Todd Phillips-directed character study pulled in a cool billion dollars worldwide while somehow pulling off the trick of making the reviled villain sympathetic.
In the wake of Joker’s massive success at the box office and relatively open-ended conclusion, rumors of a sequel began to fly almost immediately. It looks like a second installment is all but official. A photo from Phillips featuring Phoenix settling into a chair and a script titled Joker: Folie à Deux was posted to social media on June 7th. The script is penned by the original writing duo of Phillips and Scott Silver and is dated May 18, 2022. What kind of mayhem can Arthur Fleck bring to Gotham this time around? Here’s everything we know about the Joker sequel.
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Joker 2: The Plot
Warner Bros. Pictures
Like Arthur did with his imaginary life of love and success, we can only make up sequel plot lines as we go along. Joker was initially intended to be a standalone film, but as the box office take and Oscars poured in, Warner Bros. must have been mashing the green light button for Phillips, Phoenix, and co. to get to work on a follow-up.
The aforementioned photo is the first confirmation of the Joker sequel we have received. Joker is a film about building tensions eventually spilling over; that said, it lets loose with its ending. As Arthur is hauled off to a padded cell, the chaos and the mobs he inspired continue to rage beyond the Arkham gates. The attention focuses on the riots to television viewers reveling in and cackling at the anarchy unfolding on their screens, including a child.
Folie à deux is a French phrase that translates to a mental ailment that affects two or more people. Could the sequel come from multiple perspectives, one of which a fed-up Gotham citizen looking to follow in Arthur’s footsteps? As mentioned, hundreds, if not thousands, of Gothamites basked in the destruction led by Arthur’s live murder of Murray. Arthur had a literal army at his command if he found the freedom to lead them. Any one of those foot soldiers could be a main focus of the sequel.
Maybe we’ll get an introduction to a new Harley Quinn? Her origin is that she treated Joker as his psychiatrist, and we last saw Arthur locked up in Arkham. Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the character will be tough to top, but could we see a new take on the “puddin” storyline? As we know, Joker exists on its own in the DC cinematic canon, apart from the DCEU established by Zach Snyder and The Batman world laid down by Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson. Introducing a new Harley would be a risky move in a sequel to a movie packed with risks.
The plot could also focus on a young Bruce Wayne. Joker cleverly used the Arthur-inspired calamity as the backdrop and cause of the Waynes’ murders and Batman’s creation. Themes of isolation and helplessness were main cogs in the plot of Joker, so it would be fitting to see young Bruce experiencing the same state of existence as Arthur following his parents’ deaths. The Wayne killings could also feed into the sequel on a broader scale, as the shockwave through the ranks of Gotham’s elite class could lead to a further crackdown, resentment, and violence in the slums of the city.
Or will it be a simple break-out and wreak further havoc kind of movie? Whatever story the Joker sequel tells, Phillips’ script has a massive open wound of a Gotham to work with.
Joker 2: The Cast
Warner Bros. Pictures
Most of the cast of Joker is killed off in the chaos of the first film. From bullying and transactional Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro) to Arthur’s equally ill mother Penny (Frances Conroy), not many people were spared by the events of Joker. But Gotham is a big, sprawling place, so new characters shouldn’t be hard to envision for minds like Phillips and Silver.
Phoenix will return in the titular role, of course, but at this point, we can only speculate who will round out the cast. Zazie Beetz’ Sophie Dumond was left standing at the end of Joker, so it’s reasonable for her to make a return as a connection to the first film and its events and legacy. Whoever fills in the void of the cast dispatched by Joker, Phillips’ original takes on the character and this world are sure to bring in some excellent new faces.
There is no confirmed release date yet.