Joker is steamrolling its way to over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, so a sequel is almost a given at this point. After all, sequels have been announced based on far, far less success (Universal’s Dark Universe, anyone?). But according to Joker star Joaquin Phoenix in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, he’s not interested in participating in a sequel “just because the first movie is successful.” Indeed, part of what drew him to the role in the first place was the fact that it was a self-contained story that almost certainly wouldn’t become a franchise.
“I guess the fear was that you’d get locked into doing something repeatedly that you don’t really care about, that doesn’t motivate you or excite you,” Phoenix said. “Part of the whole attraction to me was there was no expectation. I didn’t sign a deal to do [multiple films]. It was a one-off.”
And yet, Phoenix admits that he and director Todd Phillips had started talking about what a Joker sequel could look like almost immediately after shooting began. “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.”
Phoenix’s “jest” included enlisting Joker’s on-set photographer to help him create a bunch of “what-if” posters for a hypothetical Joker 2.
“I basically said, ‘You could take this character and put him in any movie,’” Phoenix said. “So I did a photo shoot with the on-set photographer and we made posters where I photoshopped Joker into 10 classic movies: Rosemary’s Baby, Raging Bull, Yentl. If you see it, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’d watch that movie.’ Yentl with Joker? That would be amazing!”
I would also 100% watch Yentl with the Joker. But that’s unlikely to happen. Despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of Phoenix’s prank, Phillips made it pretty clear that any Joker sequel wouldn’t have much in common with the gag.
“We’ve only talked about the fact that if we ever did one — and I’m not saying we are because right now we’re not — it couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the ‘Clown Prince of Crime,’” Phillips said recently. “That just doesn’t interest us. It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does.”
Joker is still haunting movie theaters nationwide if for some bizarre reason you haven’t seen it or read an exhaustively detailed plot summary. For more on Joker, check out our review.