Joker Director Todd Phillips Reveals The 'Real Truth' About Those Sequel Reports

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Joker is nothing if not an agent of chaos, and that chaos has been on full display this week with the ongoing saga of a potential sequel to Warner Bros.’ smash hit Joker. First we heard a sequel was happening, and then we heard it wasn’t. In a situation like this, where one report is saying one thing and another is saying the opposite, if possible, it’s best to get the information straight from the source. Thankfully, Joker director Todd Phillips has revealed the ‘real truth’ about those sequel reports, saying:

Here’s the real truth about a sequel. While Joaquin and I have talked about it, and while touring the world with Warner Bros executives — going to Toronto, and Venice, and other places — of course, we’re sitting at dinner and they’re saying, ‘So, have you thought about…?’ But, talking about contracts, there’s not a contract for us to even write a sequel, we’ve never approached Joaquin to be in a sequel. Will that happen? Again, I just think the article was anticipatory at best.

It looks like it may be best to pump the brakes on the hype for Joker 2, at least for now. In his comments to Eric Kohn at IndieWire, Todd Phillips addresses the various reports to reveal the truth of the situation regarding Joker 2. The director makes it clear that the initial report that Joker 2 was moving forward, and that he was in talks to return as director, was at best premature because no such thing has happened yet.

Todd Phillips is not signed on to direct a sequel, he and co-writer Scott Silver are not contracted to write a sequel, and Joaquin Phoenix has not been approached to reprise his acclaimed starring role as Arthur Fleck in a sequel. So by the sound of it, on a technical level (momentum is another story), we are no closer to a Joker sequel right now than we were right before the film came out.

However, just because no names have been signed on dotted lines and no release dates have been set, that doesn’t mean that Todd Phillips is refuting the possibility of Joker 2 ever happening. As the director said, when his film was on the festival circuit, prior to its October 4 release, he and Warner Bros. executives talked in an informal, conversational way about the possibilities.

Todd Phillips has previously stated that he and Joaquin Phoenix discussed sequel ideas during filming, but those informal hypothetical conversations are far from definitive. It is also noteworthy that Todd Phillips isn’t adamantly denying he’d ever do a sequel now, despite saying multiple times he intended Joker to only be a standalone film. He’s not saying he will do a sequel, but he’s not saying he won’t either.

Obviously the reason Joker 2 seems like not only a possibility, but an inevitability, is how well the film did at the box office. Todd Phillips’ film has made over $1 billion, without releasing in China is now the highest grossing R-rated film ever and the most profitable comic book movie ever. That’s a lot of incentive to dive back into Gotham for a sequel.

Todd Phillips acknowledged this and admits that a sequel is obviously being talked about, at least by executives, if not with him just yet. But that’s as far as anything has progressed with regards to Joker 2 up to this point. If I had to guess, we’re about $700 million past ‘if’ territory and well into ‘when’ territory when it comes to a Joker 2. Yet despite earlier reports, for now, that ‘when’ is not quite yet.

Joker is now playing. To see what movies you can look forward to next year, check out our 2020 Release Schedule.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.