Audiences and critics alike were unexpectedly captivated with the release of Todd Phillips’ Joker in 2019; an unlikely blockbuster candidate that grossed a staggering $1 billion at the box office. In addition to this, the film became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. A reimagination of the infamous DC villain, the film was widely praised for its strong cinematography and masterful performances.
The plot follows the film’s titular character, Arthur Fleck, an underachieving clown and stand-up comedian whose plummet into insanity strikes a rebellion in the city of Gotham. Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Fleck, received tremendous praise for his raw, complex portrayal of the villain. Many believe the film intended to birth an origin story for Phoenix’s version of Joker, with anticipation for Joker 2 bubbling below the surface.
Following the notable success, The Hollywood Reporter announced that plans were “on the way” for a Joker sequel. The reports came just one month after the release of Todd Phillips’ Joker, riding a wave of massive success. Since then, discussions alluding to a Joker sequel have met radio silence. Fans were immediately split down the middle amidst the discussion, as many believe that the final scene of Joker provided a satisfying ending to Fleck’s story. On the other hand, fans believe there is a lot more story to explore. Many fans speculate that Fleck will transform into the actual Joker character.
With the upcoming 2022 release of The Batman on the horizon, the speculation by fans into one of DC’s most fascinating characters should come as no surprise. While it’s already been proven that Phoenix’s Joker and Pattinson’s Batman will not meet, DC fans never say never when it comes to crossover possibilities for Joker 2.
How The First Joker Ends
Reaching the point of insanity, Fleck unleashes an all-out war on those that he feels have wronged him. Thus, a revolt ensues around the city of Gotham. As well as against the Mayor and his entrusted government. However, that’s after Fleck has already committed a number of violent crimes. From murdering three men on the subway to his very own mother, his crimes only get worse. Fleck publicly begins his descent into madness with the murder of television talk show host, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). Fleck, teary-eyed yet smiling, shoots Murray in the head. The televised murder ignites a crowd of enraged rioters overtaking the city of Gotham. In an ending scene, a bloody-faced Fleck dances on top of a cop car. Fleck uses the blood running from his nose to form a bloody smile with his fingers. Amidst the chaos, a large crowd of rioters cheer him on.
Lastly, the closing scene sees Fleck’s infamous laughter erupts as he thinks about a joke in his head. When the psychiatrist at Arkham State Hospital asks him about it, Fleck responds: “You wouldn’t get it.” The scene ends with Fleck’s bloody footprints scattered along the floor, and hospital employees chasing him.
What Would A Joker 2 Plot Look Like?
Despite including a polarizing DC villain, Joker has been described by Director Todd Phillips as a standalone film. More importantly, as an origin story for the character. Further, Joker fails to fit in the ongoing DC timeline of films and television shows. In an interview with Empire Magazine, Todd Phillips discussed how he wrote about “the story of becoming Joker” as the film’s focus. “We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips added. The director’s version of the twisted character provides a fresh, reinvented image of the controversial figure.
On the other hand, Joker touches its original roots as the central focus is in the city of Gotham. Several key figures are also present in the 2019 film. This includes Gotham City mayor Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), along with a young Bruce Wayne (Dante Pereira-Olson). The latter would go on to become Joker’s arch-nemesis, Batman. Thus, a possible Joker sequel would build the foundation of the popular feud among the characters. As such, an adult Bruce seeking revenge on Joker for the revolution that caused his parents’ deaths.
Joaquin Phoenix is On Board
In a recent interview with The Playlist, Phoenix, who won an Oscar for the 2019 film, expressed interest in reprising his role as Fleck. The actor noted, “There are some things we could do with this guy and could [explore] further. But as to whether we actually will? I don’t know.” Many applauded the film’s standpoint on recognizing mental illness and the psychological effects of traumatic experiences. In the film’s climax, Arthur discovers that his condition spawns from years of physical abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend. In a 2019 interview with Metro, Phoenix addressed the behavior of his character. “I look at him as somebody who had experienced a lot of trauma, who does not know how to deal with the real world,” Phoenix answered.
Interestingly enough, along with portraying a damaged character, Phoenix also had to “damage” his body. According to a 2020 interview, Director Todd Phillips’ advised Phoenix to lose 52 pounds for the role. In Phillips’ eyes, Joaquin looking “hungry and unhealthy” would further help the character’s unwell image. It will be interesting to see if Phoenix will need to lose more weight for a possible Joker sequel.
In a 2019 episode of Popcorn with Peter Travers, Phoenix said the “possibilities” surrounding the character were “endless.” According to an article in May 2021, Todd Phillips is working on a deal to co-write a sequel. Even though the latter’s comments were several months ago, the possibilities are still up for speculation. While no official plans for a sequel have been properly announced, it’s possible that plans are secretly in the works. With Joaquin Phoenix interested in a sequel, and Todd Phillips not completely shooting won the idea, anything is possible. Therefore, plans for Joker 2 could be closer than we think.
What to Expect For Now
Despite having no official announcement for a sequel, fans are hopeful. Joker is currently available for streaming on HBO Max and Amazon Prime. Will there be a Joker sequel? Only time will tell.