What Other DC Property Does Todd Phillips Now Have The Rights To?

Joker Arthur Fleck smiling in the rain

Update: There are now reports breaking that the alleged meeting Todd Phillips had with Warner Bros never happened. So the content in the feature below is currently in question, and based off of earlier reporting that was, at the moment, presumed accurate. Please note that the following could be more in the realm of what we wish to be, rather can concrete reality. As soon as further clarification is issued on what exactly has happened, we will update you with more info as it's revealed.

In the beginning, co-writer/director Todd Phillips’ Joker felt like a one-and-done enterprise. A gritty reboot of a legendary villain, it was something so outside of any sort of movie box, it almost felt destined to be something singular, never to be repeated. But then, $1 billion changed everything, and Joker looks like it has a sequel in its future, and Phillips even reportedly has another DC property’s rights in his hands.

We don’t know specifically which new project Todd Phillips will potentially have the chance to play around with, besides his continued work on Joker’s future developments. But, we can begin to speculate on which projects would be a good fit for the director's skill set, and what this could mean for the DC canon outside of the typical superhero outings the company and Warner Bros. will continue to engage in.

Let’s start with what we now so far, and work from there; like a smile, slowly spreading across a maniac’s face.

Joker Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips talking on set

What Do We Know About Todd Phillips’ DC Future?

The big sticking point in terms of where Todd Phillips’ future at DC is going stems from a meeting between Phillips and Toby Emmerich, the chairman of Warner Bros. Picture Group. This meeting allegedly did two things: first, and more importantly, it apparently opened the door for Joker 2 talks that are going on at this moment, despite the writer/director insisting that film was a one-off endeavor.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t the original intent of this negotiation, as Todd Phillips actually wanted to create a cinematic universe of origin stories. Stories that, undoubtedly, will be more realistic and grounded like his take on Joker’s Arthur Fleck becoming the would-be clown prince of crime in Gotham City. As a result, Phillips was reported to have his hands on one more property, the identity of which is still a secret. And that’s where our speculation will begin.

Joker smiling in the green room, after his makeup is finished

Should Todd Phillips Stick To DC’s Villains Canon?

Since this other property doesn’t feel like something that’s limited to either a purely heroic or villainous canon, the options that Todd Phillips has at his disposal are endless. Though considering all of this success came from the gritty reality that Joker brought to audiences this past October, it has to be asked: Would Todd Phillips be better off sticking to the bad guys and gals in the DC Comics universe?

For the sake of variety, it’d probably be better to let Todd Phillips play around with both heroes and villains in the DC Universe; as no one wants to be pigeonholed into one realm or the other. There’s certainly enough characters on both sides of the moral aisle that could be interesting enough for the man who brought us Joker to bring to life. So, while it’s tempting to have Todd Phillips stick with DC villains, it’s not a necessity moving forward.

Lex Luthor in bionic Superman armor

Which DC Characters Should Todd Phillips Tackle?

In the report from THR that covered Todd Phillips’ meeting at Warner Bros, and the developments with this new property, as well as Joker 2, there were a couple of valid suggestions made as to who he could next tackle in his new origin project. Cosmic god Darkseid was one of the two prospects mentioned, which would be an interesting setup that could somehow fulfill the promises that Zack Snyder’s original vision of Justice League left unfulfilled.

However, another villain mentioned leads to an interesting pair of films that Todd Phillips could make into his next pet project at DC. That same story mentioned Lex Luthor as a potential character that Phillips could put his stamp on. This choice, while still sticking in the world of villains, would be an interesting exploration into the mind of a villain that might have some interesting potential for being humanized. Not to mention, if he really wanted to be experimental, he could use a more sympathetic Lex Luthor to combat a Communist Superman, courtesy of a theatrical adaptation of the legendary Red Son story.

Joker Arthur pushing Bruce Wayne's face into a smile

The Subject Todd Phillips Probably Won’t Be Tackling In A New Origin Film

For those of you who may be wondering if Todd Phillips would be following up Joker with a potential retelling of the Batman origin story, you’re probably going to want to sit down for this next bit. While the Wayne family is present in his dramatic tragedy, it’s certainly not the focal point of where the man’s attention is. We could see Batman in a future Joker movie, but with The Batman creating its own new Caped Crusader in Robert Pattinson, we probably shouldn’t expect that card to be played any time soon.

In fact, for the WB/DC brand to truly be effective, it will probably steer far away from any established cinematic heroes that are still going concerns for the main franchise line at large. Which means, it’s probably more likely that Cyborg could become a Todd Phillips movie than Wonder Woman or even The Flash. Though, if there was a special variant of either of those characters, or a particularly interesting villain that could be developed independent of those potential blockbusters, they might be considered as options down the line.

Joker dancing on the stairs

What This Could Mean For Future DC Origin Films Made By Todd Phillips?

If you’re expecting Todd Phillips to cross over into the mainstream of PG-13 superhero/villain movies, I do believe you’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s not what made Joker a billion-dollar hit, and it’s not generally within his style of moviemaking. As such, it shouldn’t be expected for the man who brought Arthur Fleck to life to be content with tackling a garden-variety DC figure. Rather, whomever Todd Phillips decides to bring to the screen next will more than likely be something that we’ve never seen before and something the director is passionate about.

That could mean we finally get a Plastic Man movie, with Phillips returning to his Road Trip and Hangover comedy roots. Or, we could get that Lex Luthor movie, and see yet another side of a heroic coin we’ve flipped before. Maybe another obscure Batman villain could be in play, and we’ll see Todd Phillips give us a Calendar Man movie. The point is, whatever origin film is in Phillips’ future, it should be as interesting as it is unique.

Thanks to the box office success of Joker, it should be a wide open road for Todd Phillips to wander down, as he takes his next steps in the DC Comics’ cinematic canon. Along with the excitement of Joker 2’s progression, we’ll have this new mystery project to watch out for in the near future as well. And as soon as we figure out what this new film is, we’ll be reporting back here at CinemaBlend with those developments as they occur.

Joker is still in theaters, should this news inspire you to see the film for the first or fifth time at the movies. But there’s plenty of excitement waiting for you at the box office if you’re looking for a change of pace. Just consult our 2019 and 2020 release schedules, and you can’t go wrong!

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.