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‘Joker’ Sequel in the Works From Phillips and Phoenix, but Don’t Expect Batman’s Origins

Phillips will likely return to direct the second "Joker" movie, which won't factor in Batman as some fans predict.

"Joker"

“Joker”

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

A “Joker” sequel has been the talk of Hollywood ever since the comic book drama defied box office expectations with over $1 billion worldwide and counting. Director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix have gone back and forth on the idea of a sequel in interviews, but sources confirm to THR a second “Joker” film is in the early stages of moving forward at Warner Bros. with both gentlemen attached. The report says Phoenix already had a sequel option in place with Warner Bros. Phillips and his “Joker” co-writer Scott Silver are expected to reunite to pen the sequel.

“Joker” has turned into the biggest movie of the fall awards season. The comic book drama debuted at the Venice Film Festival, where it shocked the industry by winning the prestigious Golden Lion. While the movie divided film critics, moviegoers around the world have widely embraced “Joker.” The movie’s worldwide box office haul not only makes it the highest-grossing R-rated release in history (unadjusted for inflation, of course), but it also makes “Joker” the most profitable comic book movie ever made. Warner Bros. spent in the mid-$60 million range to produce the movie.

With the second “Joker” film moving forward, the big question on the minds of comic book movie fans is what Phoenix and Phillips have in mind for the story. “Joker” ended with the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, suggesting a “Joker” sequel could factor in more Bruce Wayne and potentially Batman. The THR report shoots down that theory. Batman’s origins are reportedly off the table for a “Joker” sequel as Warner Bros. is already producing a standalone Batman movie with director Matt Reeves and star Robert Pattinson. That film, entitled “The Batman,” already has a June 25, 2021 release date.

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Phoenix told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that it didn’t take long for the idea of a “Joker” sequel to take hold during production on the first film. “Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels,” Phoenix said. “In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, ‘Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.’ It was kind of in jest — but not really.”

Both Phoenix and Phillips have maintained that any “Joker” sequel would have to feel drastically different in story and tone than their record-breaking blockbuster. “Joker” continues to play in theaters nationwide. IndieWire has reached out to Warner Bros. and Phillips’ representatives for further comment.

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