UPDATE: Both Deadline and IGN claim the THR article is completely in error, though Deadline is confident a Joker sequel will eventually emerge.
Sometimes, life really is a comedy.
While we found Joker to be too shallow a film for any real acclaim, its impressive billion dollar worldwide haul has given director Todd Phillips a certain amount of clout. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, it won him the chance to develop another DC Comics origin film. But since such things also come with obligations, the director is also reportedly in talks for a Joker sequel.
Because if there is one thing that is absolutely certain in Hollywood, it is the viability of dark Batman movies.
It is unclear which character Phillips obtained for his new origin story — THR even mentions the director sought a whole portfolio of characters for a series of Secret Origins type films — but it will presumably be his next film after the Joker sequel.
Star Joaquin Phoenix is already signed for a second film, as is standard in contracts these days, but it remains to be seen how a sequel will work. Of course, that’s up to Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver to hammer out. Maybe it will be a different origin of the Joker as the first film sort of repudiates its own story by the end.
One question worth asking, though, is whether or not Phillips and the studio can resist integrating Joker into the established DC film continuity. With films like Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, Aquaman 2, The Batman and Black Adam on the way, Joker 2 would remain a strange outlier if it sits outside this loose coalition of films. And considering the way audiences embraced Phoenix’s Joker, it may be worth the effort to bring him into the fold. One stumbling block to this idea is Phoenix himself, who may tire of the part after the sequel.
All that said, we wonder if Joker‘s success will also tempt Warner Bros. into “darkening” the characters into gritty shadows of their brighter comic book personas. This is the studio’s tendency after all, even if Shazam! and Aquaman illustrated brighter tones can also be commercially successful. Sadly, we expect this will lead to that dark Flash film star Ezra Miller wants to make.
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