Joker 2 sounds like something that could not possibly happen. The Oscar-winning film was originally pitched as a standalone, one-off prestige film. However, the movie was such a success that it looks like Joaquin Phoenix is being courted to return as the Clown Prince of Crime.
According to a rumor posted in the Mirror, Phoenix is considering returning to the role of Arthur Fleck for two Joker sequels. This supposed insider says that Phoenix was originally hesitant to do any more Joker films, but he has had a change of heart and wants to get back in his clown makeup.
Part of Phoenix’s enthusiasm for some Joker sequels might have to do with his potential payday. Phoenix would reportedly receive $50 million in order to return for two more Joker films. The plan is to make two sequels over the next four years and it sounds like Phoenix would be returning with original Joker director Todd Phillips and producer Bradley Cooper in tow.
Joker sequels sound ludicrous when you consider the original film and its intentions, but it is the most obvious direction when you look at how successful the original film was. Made on a reported budget of $70 million, the 2019 film raked in over $330 million at the domestic box office and almost $740 million from international markets. That equals a total worldwide take of $1.074 billion. There is no surprise that Warner Bros. wants more Joker.
And it sounds like they want to lock Phoenix in as soon as possible. While the notoriously fickle actor waited until the last minute to sign the papers for Joker, Warner Bros. is supposedly trying to get Phoenix to commit to these Joker sequels as soon as possible. That is likely one of the reasons the rumored paycheck is such a large one.
Exactly what would Joker sequels look like? The original film kept Bruce Wayne and his origin story to the peripheral edges of its story. It would make sense to bring more of that plotline to the forefront, but will this iteration of Gotham City get its own Batman? Or would that conflict too directly with the newest big-screen version of the Caped Crusader?
Also, Joker kept its direct connections to any comic book lore very tenuous. Would Joker sequels bring in more facets of the Batman universe? Or would they go off in their own direction? Seeing a Joker movie that strayed even further away from established continuity seems like one of the few reasons to make a sequel to Joker.
While it would be more exciting to see more movies in the vein of Joker – original riffs on comic book characters with no worries about connecting with other films – sequels to Joker could deliver something interesting. The original film suffered a lot of controversy before and during its release. Would any follow-ups be consciously taking advantage of that uproar? Regardless, if this deal goes through and the movies enter active development, they will be some of the most anticipated comic book sequels of all time.