Last year/last decade/less than two months ago, we reported that there were some rumors going around that Joker director Todd Phillips was already planning to put together a sequel to his hit clown movie—though those rumors were quickly denounced. Still, the idea of another Joker movie (and all of that sweet cash the first one made) stuck with Phillips, and a few days ago he brought up the idea of a sequel again. Speaking with Deadline, Phillips said that he and star Joaquin Phoenix “haven’t really decided” on if they’re doing a sequel or what would happen in it, but he has thought about it enough to know that he would only do another movie if there was a “real thematic resonance” to it.
Phillips explains that his first movie was about “childhood trauma and the lack of love, and the loss of empathy,” so he’d apparently want to lean into that stuff—or something similarly high-minded—with a follow-up. Of course, it could be argued that those themes and the way they were applied were some of the weaker elements of Joker, since we were being asked to empathize with a deranged murderer who was also a bad comedian, but Joker did become a bit more fun once Phoenix fully started to embrace the Joker persona at the very end. A sequel, then, could theoretically be more fun from the beginning, perhaps letting Phillips’ themes shine a bit better without putting up with the edgelord bullshit.
Elsewhere in the Deadline chat, Phillips suggests that the movie’s success had more to do with the shocking way it reflected real things happening in our society and not because it was about a very famous and popular comic book character, and sure, we’ll just let him have that one.