JOKER: It Seems Warner Bros. IS Planning To Move Forward With A Sequel After All
Joker 2 was announced back in 2019, but Todd Phillips has since debunked claims that he was working on a follow-up. Well, it sounds like Warner Bros. might still be moving forward with a sequel...
Shortly after Joker laughed its way past $1 billion at the global box office back in 2019, it was reported that director Todd Phillips was set to re-team with star Joaquin Phoenix for a direct follow-up to the controversial film. However, both Phillips and Phoenix later denied any involvement in a potential sequel, and it was put down to a case of crossed wires.
Several other rumors have done the rounds over the last year or so, but we now have a solid update, and it sounds like Warner Bros. is still planning another Joker movie.
In THR's report on the new Superman project, it's pointed out that The Flash's Multiverse will allow for various different characters and realities to co-exist, and that all upcoming DC-based projects "with the exception of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and set for release in March, HBO Max’s spinoff Gotham PD, and Joker and its planned sequel, will take place in the same universe."
It's a throwaway mention, but it certainly suggests that the studio is developing a sequel.
Tell us, would you like to see Arthur Fleck's story continue in Joker 2? Let us know in the comments, and find out how the first movie could set up a possible face-off with Batman by clicking the view list button.
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Young Bruce Wayne
We'll start with the most obvious one: The Joker actually meets the future Batman in this movie.
As many rightly guessed, that young boy Arthur Fleck is forcing a smile onto in the trailers is indeed Bruce Wayne. Arthur makes his way to Wayne manner after discovering that Thomas Wayne is his real father, and shows the lad a few magic tricks through the gate. Bruce is unimpressed.
Their interaction is brief, but there is definitely a bit of weight and emphasis placed on the scene. Granted, part of that is down to Arthur believing he's meeting his half brother at the time.
A Different Joker
There is a theory doing the rounds that Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck could simply be the inspiration for the actual Joker, and he'll be the one to face off against The Batman in the future.
It sounds like a stretch, but this movie does actually leave some room for it.
Fleck's actions inspire an uprising in Gotham, with hundreds of citizens rioting throughout the city wearing clown masks. Isn't it possible that one of these people could take up the mantle of Joker a decade or so later, around the same time Bruce Wayne is beginning to feel a little batty?
The Murder Of Thomas And Martha Wayne
Joker leans into Batman mythology heaviest right at the end, when we're presented with a very faithful depiction of the murders of Bruce Wayne's parents.
A thug inspired by Arthur's execution of Murray Franklin live on TV and his assertion that people like Thomas Wayne are to blame for the degradation of the city follows the Waynes into an alley after a screening of Zorro. As he opens fire, he echoes Fleck's "you get what you deserve" from the Franklin killing.
Of course, we're supposed to assume this will eventually bring Bruce to the conclusion that Joker was at least partially responsible for his parents' deaths.
The ambiguous ending, or more accurately, epilogue, of Joker is wide open to interpretation, and leaves plenty of room for Warner Bros. to fold the events of Philips' film into a shared universe.
After Arthur leaves Gotham in flames and fully embraces the Joker persona, we cut to him chuckling during a therapy session in Arkham. Is he recounting his story to his therapist, or imagining the whole thing? We know Fleck is an unreliable narrator and made up an entire relationship in his head, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
This gives the studio leeway to basically pick and choose what they want to establish as real, and what we are to believe were the delusions of a damaged mind.
That Final Shot Of Bruce
Perhaps most telling is that quick glimpse of Bruce Wayne standing among the bodies of his slain parents.
Arthur never witnessed this event, so why is it burned into his mind? It's possible that he heard about it after, but either way, this still feels like a major bit of foreshadowing, and not something Reeves or the studio would have added to the film at such a specific moment for no reason.
There were probably a few more Easter Eggs and references, but I've only seen the movie once and these are the major ones I picked up on. Did you spot any more? Let us know in the comments down below.