Todd Phillips’ Joker has been earning rave reviews ever since it was first screened to the public and also looks set to do big numbers at the box office when it hits theaters in a couple of weeks. An R-rated psychological character drama masquerading as a comic book movie isn’t exactly the kind of project that tends to launch a franchise, but the Hangover director has admitted that he discussed ideas for a potential follow-up with star Joaquin Phoenix while shooting the movie.
Most high-profile features with any kind of connection to recognizable source material are usually designed with sequels in mind, but Joker definitely isn’t that kind of movie. While it does feature some nods to the extended Batman mythology, it’s not as if the plot is full of references, Easter Eggs and sequel-baiting lines of dialogue that are usually found in studio genre flicks.
Besides, Joaquin Phoenix would be highly unlikely to sign a multi-picture contract anyway, having already turned down the chance to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Doctor Strange, with the actor also taking a lot of convincing to sign on to Joker in the first place. However, that didn’t stop the star talking about what direction a sequel could go when shooting the movie, as Phillips revealed in a recent interview.
“Well, I don’t think we’re gonna make a second one. That’s just not in our plans. But for fun, have me and Joaquin bounced around ideas? We were doing it when we were shooting, because that’s what you do sometimes.”
At this point, a Joker sequel is highly unlikely to ever see the light of day. Sure, it looks set to earn a lot of money and land a few high-profile nominations at the Academy Awards, but both Phillips and Phoenix seem content to leave the story of Arthur Fleck as one-and-done. Just because you make a great and successful movie, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be instantly turned into a money-spinning franchise, which is something that some of the other studios in Hollywood could learn from.