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Todd Phillips calls Joker sequel reports "anticipatory at best," clarifies there's "not a contract"

Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)

Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline published opposing reports regarding a sequel to Joker and the potential for an entire portfolio of gritty superhero origin stories from director Todd Phillips. Chaos ensued, with comment sections and Twitter arguments imploding beneath the Clown Prince’s gales of maniacal laughter, which danced down the descending staircase that is the internet. Somewhere, Jared Leto is breathing into a paper bag.

Phillips, hoping to put a stop to this madness, spoke with Indiewire about the confusion, clarifying that THR’s report of a sequel “jumped the gun” and was “anticipatory at best.”

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“I can honestly say to you there was no meeting that ever happened on October 7 where I marched in,” Phillips told Indiewire. “Here’s the real truth about a sequel. While Joaquin and I have talked about it, and while touring the world with Warner Bros executivesgoing to Toronto, and Venice, and other placesof 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.”

Phillips goes on to call some of the reporting in the THR article “untrue.” The concept of developing a series of gritty reboots, for example, was something he says he pitched early in Joker’s development, not after the film became a box office smash. “When I pitched them Joker, it wasn’t a movie, it was, let’s do a whole label,” Phillips said. “They shut that down quickly and I get it. Who am I to walk in and start a label at a film studio? But they said, let’s do this one.” He adds, “I’m not the kind of guy who goes marching in saying I want these 40 titles. I just don’t have the energy.”

He doesn’t negate the idea of a sequel. He says he and Phoenix have discussed the idea and that, when it comes to business, “a movie doesn’t make a billion dollars and they don’t talk about a sequel.”

So, basically, it’s going to happen. Eventually. But we can put the arguments on hold for now.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.