Joker Director Todd Phillips Reveals Conversations With Joaquin Phoenix Over Sequel

Joker dancing in the bathroom

It's no secret that comic book movies are everywhere, as various studios compete for box office supremacy with superhero properties. But once in a while a movie defies the genre, like Todd Phillips' Joker. The dark psychological drama was an emotionally grueling experience, and has made a ton of money at the box office. Questions about a sequel quickly followed, and now Phillips has revealed some conversations the filmmaker has had with star Joaquin Phoenix.

It took some time for Todd Phillips to convince Joaquin Phoenix to play Arthur Fleck in Joker, but the two clearly collaborated well on the gritty origin story. Moviegoers immediately began wondering if a sequel was possible, as the movie's ending left room for interpretation and continuation. There's clearly an active audience for follow-up movie to Joker, and Phillips recently opened up about his personal conversations with Phoenix. As the Hangover director put it,

When a movie does $1 billion and cost $60 million to make, of course it comes up. But Joaquin and I haven’t really decided on it. We’re open. I mean, I’d love to work with him on anything, quite frankly. So who knows? But it would have to have a real thematic resonance the way this one did, ultimately being about childhood trauma and the lack of love, and the loss of empathy. All those things are really what made this movie work for us, so we’d have to have something that had an equal thematic resonance.

Well, that's delightfully cryptic. But although nothing is set in stone, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have had some talks about possibly teaming back up for a return to Joker and Arthur Fleck. Especially considering the movie's box office draw.

Todd Phillips' comments to Deadline are sure to excite the countless moviegoers who saw Joker in theaters. There was a ton of anticipation around the film ahead of its release, as Joker debuted in film festivals and got early Oscar buzz. It ultimately crossed the $1 Billion line, which is a major achievement-- especially for an R-rated movie.

Related: Joker's Reported Alternate Ending Sounds Horrifying

The moviemaking business is ultimately just that: a business. And as such, Joker's success would pique the interest in another installment from Warner Bros. There's obviously no guarantee that the movie will get a sequel, but it's encouraging to hear that Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have talked it over. Considering how Phoenix wasn't sure about joining Joker, it seems quite a bit has changed since he stepped into Arthur's clown shoes.

Plot wise, there does seem like plenty of narrative threads to pull from for a Joker sequel. The Clown Prince of Crime was seemingly born throughout Todd Phillips' movie, so we could see him act as the villain we know and love. Fans will also want to see what chaos Gotham City is in, and how Bruce Wayne has developed since his parents' death. Or Phillips could craft an entirely different origin story, to highlight Arthur's delusions and make him an even more unreliable narrator.

It should also be interesting to see how Joker does during Awards Season. The movie got an impressive four Golden Globe nominations, with the ceremony happening this weekend. The Academy Awards has had a mixed relationship with the superhero genre, so there's no telling how Joker will fare. But if some trophies accompany the movie's $1 Billion box office take, it might convince everyone involved to make another movie.

Joker is will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on January 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.