'Joker 2' in development with Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips returning: report

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Joaquin Phoenix in Todd Phillips' Joker. (Warner Bros.)

A sequel to Joker is in development at Warner Bros. according to a new report by The Hollywood Reporter.

Director Todd Phillips is said to be in talks to return as director with the original’s screenwriter Scott Silver lined up to pen the script.

The report adds that studio Warner Bros. has sequel options in place with Joaquin Phoenix to return as Arthur Fleck, but his agents at CAA declined to comment on the news.

THR says Phillips met with Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich in October to pitch “a portfolio of DC characters' origin stories”.

They say the Hangover director is working one other DC character origin film alongside a Joker sequel, which became a realistic proposition once the first film crossed the $1 billion box office threshold earlier this week.

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The report says the huge financial success of Joker could lead to a bumper pay day for Phillips. The filmmaker is said to have deferred his salary for the film in exchange for a cut of the profits.

Having become the most profitable comic movie ever made, earning $1 billion off a $60 million budget, Phillips is set to earn “close to $100 million” for his involvement in the film.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker (Warner Bros.)

Phillips and Phoenix have both been coy about making a sequel in the past.

Talking about a sequel during a Q&A for the film back in September, Phillips said: “We have no plan for a sequel."

It had been teased that Phillips would be up for making a second solo movie around the character during a previous interview with Total Film.

“One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week,” he said when asked about a sequel.

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“There’s nobody like him. If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.”

More recently the director told LA Times that he would only make Joker 2 on one condition: "It couldn't just be this wild and crazy movie about the Clown Prince of Crime. It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that Joker does.” 

Director Todd Phillips, left, and cast member Joaquin Phoenix arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "Joker" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“Because I think that's ultimately why the movie connected, it's what's going on underneath. So many movies are about the spark and this is about the powder. If you could capture that again in a real way, that would be interesting."

Phoenix, who’s earning Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Batman’s arch-nemesis, has also been dismissive of the idea in the past.

“I wouldn’t just do a sequel just because the first movie is successful,” he told The Envelope, via LA Times. “That’s ridiculous.”

He added though that he and Phillips had discussed the idea while shooting the first film.

“Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels,” Phoenix said. “In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, ‘Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.’ It was kind of in jest — but not really.”