‘Joker’ Sequel: Todd Phillips Reveals Working Title, Joaquin Phoenix Reading Script in New Pics

The world received its first confirmation yesterday that the sequel to 2019’s Joker is moving forward. No screenplay draft for the sequel had been turned into the studio when we last heard. That seems to no longer be the case, as director Todd Phillips posted on Instagram the cover of the script, titled Joker: Folie à Deux, written by Phillips and his collaborator from the first movie Scott Silver. The post also contained a picture of star Joaquin Phoenix reading the screenplay.

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Phoenix played Arthur Fleck, a struggling comedian and part-time clown performer in the original Joker. Fleck has a mental illness and may or may not be the son of Gotham royalty Thomas Wayne. After a series of setbacks and tragedies, Fleck becomes not only the iconic supervillain but also a folk hero in Gotham City, striking back against the elite. Of course, the unreliable narration of the story does provide room for interpretation.

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A sequel was all but inevitable, given the film’s massive success. Despite the concerns and controversy concerning some of its subject matter, Joker was a global blockbuster, grossing over $1 billion worldwide. It earned 12 Oscar nominations, such as best picture, best director for Phillips, the best-adapted screenplay for Phillips and Silver, best actor, which Phoenix won, and best original score, which Hildur Guðnadóttir also won.

What’s Joker 2 About?

Warner Bros.

While Phillips didn’t go into any plot details on his Instagram post, the title hints where the sequel could possibly go. Folie à deux, translated literally as “shared madness,” is the layman’s term for shared delusional disorder. While there’s usually no shortage of craziness in Gotham, here are some possibilities as to what it could mean.

The title could be about how Gotham widely embraced Arthur’s brand of clown villainy in the first movie, but there are other possibilities. It could also indicate the theory of how Arthur Fleck isn’t the “real” Joker but the inspiration for the man who will become the Joker. The Fox TV series Gotham did something similar to that. Willem Dafoe also had the idea of a sequel with Arthur battling against an imposter Joker.

The ending of Joker also teased the rise of Batman. He, in multiple continuities, most famously Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, has a brand of madness not that dissimilar to his archenemy. The title could also mean that the sequel will bring its own spin on the Joker’s long-running partner in crime, Harley Quinn, played most recently by Margot Robbie in the DC Extended Universe and Kaley Cuoco in the HBO Max animated series Harley Quinn.

Whatever the reason, fans will see for themselves what Joker: Folie à Deux is about soon enough. Or at least the ones that wanted a sequel. A portion of the fanbase thought that the first Joker was fine on its own, leaving any sort of follow-up unnecessary. Believing what they should have done instead was give the Joker treatment to a different villain, such as Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Killer Croc, etc.