Update: Deadline is now rebuffing the THR report that a Joker sequel is in the works. The outlet says that their sources say that while a second film is ultimately going to happen given the money involved that Todd Phillips and Scott Silver have not had any talks about coming back and that there has basically been no movement at all on a sequel. They also dispute the “flat false” idea that Phillips marched into Toby Emmerich’s office and pitched a series of DC origin films, calling the entire article “great click bait.”
Original: The big question surrounding Joker after its stunning international box office was whether or not we’d get a sequel. That question has been answered as THR reports that Todd Phillips is in talks right now to direct the Joker sequel, and Joaquin Phoenix is likely to return to the role.
However, this is not the entire story. Sources told THR that Phillips went to Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich with an idea to control the rights to a whole slew of origin stories. Emmerich turned him down as WB has always made single-film deals for the DC content, but Phillips did leave the meeting with the green light to get to work on a Joker sequel. He will reportedly be penning the screenplay along with his co-writer on Joker, Scott Silver. Given that WB has sequel options in place for Phoenix, it is highly likely he’ll return as well.
Joker was being talked about as a standalone film for the longest time as WB wasn’t sure how audiences would react to the gritty, R-rated film. However, now that the movie has pulled in $1 billion globally and is getting heavy Oscar buzz, the story has changed and it appears that everyone is on board for a Joker sequel. That $1 billion is going to make Phillips very rich — reportedly $100 million richer — as the director quite smartly deferred some of his pay so that he could get a bigger slice of the box office.
It’s obviously very early to predict what this second film will be about, but it probably won’t tackle any more of Batman’s origins given Matt Reeves’ The Batman will be providing plenty of that character. The statement has always been that Robert Pattinson’s Batman will never meet Phoenix’s Joker anyway. One thing is sure — if Joker 2: Joke Harder does turn out to be a major success, it will be much harder for WB to turn down Phillips’ desire to generate a whole universe of DC origins.