Todd Philips’ 2019 hit Joker took the iconic Batman villain away from the cartoonish world of Suicide Squad and explored his origins via a dark, psychological thriller that reflected the everyday world – all corruption, economic turmoil and deceit. Inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and starring an acclaimed Joaquin Phoenix as the titular villain, it went on to receive 11 Oscar nominations (winning Best Original Score and Best Actor) and became the first R-rated film to gross over $1billion worldwide.
Rumours of a sequel have been circling since the film was released, with the cast and crew playing coy. But now a follow-up has been confirmed, with Philips’ sharing an image of the script for Joker: Folie à Deux on Instagram. There are reports that Lady Gaga will star as Harley Quinn, and that the sequel will be a musical. Here’s everything we know so far.
Is there a release date?
No, but there’s definitely a script
Filming has yet to start on Joker 2 but there is a script, with Philips sharing an image of Phoenix reading one on Instagram. However, the first film only took 18 months to go from being green-lit to worldwide theatrical release so hopefully the wait won’t be agonisingly long.
Who’s returning from the cast?
There wasn’t a lot of the original cast left alive at the end of the first film…
As it stands, the only confirmed names for Joker 2 are writers Philips and Scott Silver, though with the announcement coming alongside an image of Phoenix reading a script, it seems impossible that the film won’t involve him. According to reports, he’s currently “deep into” talks with Warner Bros.
Those same reports suggest that Lady Gaga is set to appear as Harley Quinn, further distancing the world of the Joker from DC’s ongoing extended universe, where Margot Robbie currently plays the wise-cracking antihero. We might also see a return from Dante Pereira-Olson’s Bruce Wayne, whose parents were gunned down by Joker-inspired protestors towards the end of the first movie while his ever faithful butler Alfred (Douglas Hodge) has already had a brawl with the Joker. There’s also former co-worker Gary (Leigh Gill) who witnessed the murder of his friend Carl but was spared because he’d “always been good” to Joker.
Will it be a musical?
A Joker Is Born?
According to the same reports that say Gaga is in talks to play Harley Quinn, Joker 2 will apparently be a musical. Sharing a title with a Fall Out Boy album isn’t the only connection Joker 2 has with the world of music though, with Phillips previously producing A Star Is Born, (which starred Joker producer Bradley Cooper and potential Joker 2 star Gaga). There’s also the important of the soundtrack to the original film, picking up an Oscar for Best Score.
What’s the plot going to be?
Joker left a blank slate to work with
The end of Joker saw our face-painted murderer breaking out of psychiatric hospital/prison Arkham Asylum, before joining a chaotic, violent riot on the streets of Gotham.
While the original film was very loosely based on 1988 standalone comic Batman: The Killing Joke, Philips has said they didn’t look at existing media for inspirations, going on to explain that “the goal was never to introduce Joaquin Phoenix into the comic book movie universe. The goal was to introduce comic book movies into the Joaquin Phoenix universe.” He’s also turned down comic book movies previously because he thought they were too “loud”.
So, it’s fair to assume that Joker 2 won’t be relying much on existing lore for inspiration. However, the title Folie á Deux does give us a few clues about possible directions the film may go in. French for “a madness of two”, the title has some people expecting the film to explore the relationship between Harley Quinn and Joker.
In an interview alongside Phoenix earlier this year, Willem Dafoe said he wanted to play a version of the Joker. Speaking to GQ, he said: “There is something interesting about, like, if there was a Joker imposter. So it would be possible to have not duelling Jokers but someone that [claims] to be the Joker that isn’t the Joker.“
“And that kind of opens up the possibility of an interesting story, particularly if you had Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, and then you had someone who was either imitating or riffing off what he did. I fantasised about that.”
Will there be a Joker Extended Universe?
A multiverse of literal madness
According to producer Bradley Cooper, when Philips first told him about Joker, he said: “Listen, I have this crazy idea for this altered version of DC, and the first one is the origin story of the Joker,” suggesting plans for future movies.
And while the cast and crew spent a good few months saying Joker was a standalone movie, they toyed with the idea of a sequel numerous times, with Phoenix saying, “ I can’t stop thinking about (playing Joker). I talked to Todd a lot about what else we might be able to do, in general, just to work together, but also specifically, if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting. So, it ended up being a dream role.”
He added: “Me and Todd would still be shooting now if we could, right? Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”