Joker Sequel Happening, Joaquin Phoenix Likely To Return

Joaquin Phoenix is Joker

Update: There are now reports breaking that this alleged meeting Todd Phillips had never happened. So the content in the story below is currently in question, and based off of earlier reporting that was, at the moment, presumed accurate. As soon as further clarification is issued on what exactly has happened, we will update you with more info as it's revealed. The following is our reporting, as originally issued earlier today.

The moment Todd Phillips’ Joker crossed $1 billion, you have to know that the business folks behind the scenes would be pushing for a sequel. Well, this morning, it’s sounding like they got their way.

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Todd Phillips is negotiating with the studio to return for a Joker sequel, and he is “likely” to reteam with star Joaquin Phoenix to continue exploring the creation of DC’s most famous villain.

The way that the report has it, Phillips approached Warner Bros. after Joker opened huge in October with an even bigger idea than just Joker 2 (or whatever it end up being called). Phillips wanted the rights to do a full series of DC villain origin stories. And while the studio initially balked at that large-concept idea, Phillips walked away from the meeting with Joker 2 in hand, and now it’s moving forward.

Here’s where things start to get really interesting. THR notes that WB has sequel rights with Joaquin Phoenix to return as The Joker. However, during the press run of Joker, both Todd Phillips and his leading man made it relatively clear that they had no intention of continuing the story, that this was a standalone movie, and that it’d be done.

In fact, here they are on the ReelBlend podcast, diving into the process, telling hilarious stories about filming the movie, and revealing that they don’t plan to tell a sequel.

Once Joker crossed $1 billion, becoming the first R rated movie to accomplish that feat, the game changed. Phillips had the leverage power to tell the next Joker story that he wants to. And from what we understand, Phoenix enjoyed working on this movie with his director, so perhaps they have a story that they both want to explore?

Many may want to jump to the conclusion that this means we’ll automatically get to see Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker finally confronting Bruce Wayne and Batman. Phillips made sure to include Batman’s origin in Joker, but that doesn’t automatically mean that we’ll get that story in the next movie. For one reason, Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves are working hard on a Batman movie of their own. And the Joker sequel doesn’t necessarily have to pick up right where this latest movie left off. He’s such a mercurial character, the narrative can go just about anywhere, and Phillips has real freedom right now.

Now we will start to ask the questions. When might we see this in theaters? Who else will be involved? WILL this connect to Pattinson’s Batman narrative? Should it even? We are still grappling with this bombshell, but we’ll continue to cover as details emerge.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.