Nobody really believed the gritty, dark, and controversial version of Joker would lead to more movies set in the Batman universe. But now, it appears that is exactly what is happening. The standalone Joker origin story will no longer stand alone. Director Todd Phillips has secured the rights to at least one more story based on characters from DC comics, which means Joaquin Phoenix will likely meet at least one more famous DC character in a sequel. But will it be Batman?
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter published the news that Todd Philips was able to convince Warner Bros to let him do at least one more movie set in the Batman/DC Comics universe. According to the report, this is partly because Joker did pretty well at the box office, despite the fact that everyone was freaked out about the movie for like three weeks straight. “Phillips is in talks to reprise his role as director for a second Joker outing,” writes Tatiana Siegel.
But what does it mean? Is the next Todd Philips movie a direct sequel to the Joker? Or will this be another, bizarre take on a different DC villain?
The biggest question most sane people have is whether or not Batman would show up in a potential sequel. The huge age difference between this version of the Joker and the young Bruce Wayne we saw in the movie makes us think it’s unlikely. (Then again, the Fox TV series Gotham had this exact same problem, and ended up bringing in Batman anyway.) Plus, having a different Batman in a Joker sequel feels like a bad move from Warner Bros, since they’re clearly pouring all their resources into making us all happy about Robert Pattinson being the newest big-screen Dark Knight. Phillips has already said outright that his Joker won’t meet Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Still, the news here is mostly centered on the fact that Phillips got the rights to do another DC Comics movie, which doesn’t necessarily mean he is doing a follow-up to the Joker. After all, because Joker was so successful, who is to say Philips couldn’t do another villain origin story? Depending on who you ask there hasn’t been a good Lex Luthor since Gene Hackman in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Could Phillips be ready to tackle a Joker-style Lex Luthor origin story? These days, anything is possible. But, when you consider that Lex Luthor shares a lot in common with Donald Trump, and at one point, DC Comics did have Luthor get elected president, a giant Lex Luthor movie is timely enough to not be out of the question.
Joker is still in theaters.