'Joker' Sequel In The Works, With Todd Phillips Also Planning Yet Another DC Character Origin Movie

Joker is a huge hit, probably headed towards several Oscar nominations, and just became the first R-rated movie to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office. That's the kind of attention studios thrive on, and want more of. And sure enough, after weeks of speculation, it looks like a Joker sequel is officially happening. Director Todd Phillips pitched Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich on an idea to develop Joker-style origin stories for multiple DC character, and while Emmerich didn't fully go for the idea, Phillips did get the rights to develop a film on at least one character. Meaning Phillips is now working on both a Joker sequel (which will likely bring back Joaquin Phoenix) and another Joker-influenced DC origin film.Update: Deadline is saying THR is incorrect, and that "Multiple sources said no such October 7 meeting between Phillips and Emmerich occurred, and that Phillips hasn't even considered overseeing other DC character films." So who is correct here?

Update #2: Variety decided to get in on the action now, too. They say the original story is half-true: Warners is exploring a sequel with Todd Phillips, but nothing has been finalized and no scripts are currently being written. As for the report of a separate DC character origin film? That's false, at least according to Variety. The original story continues below

THR has the scoop on the Joker sequel, and adds that Todd Phillips wants to make at least one other Joker-style movie about another DC character. In fact, Phillips wanted to make multiple movies about multiple characters. But even though Joker is a smash hit, WB's Toby Emmerich was resistant to the idea, since Warners is "very protective of the DC canon."

But Phillips did lock down "rights to at least one other DC story," and will be making a Joker sequel as well. There's no word on who this other DC character might be, or if it'll be another villain, a la Joker. One can assume, though, that this separate film will tie into the alternate DC universe Phillips built up in Joker. My vote is for Phillips to make an extremely gritty Crazy Quilt movie.

As for the Joker sequel, Joaquin Phoenix is likely to return. Warners has sequel options with the actor, and I'm sure they're working out a deal to net Phoenix a huge payday as we speak. And then perhaps Phoenix will go dance down those steps to celebrate. But just what the heck would a Joker sequel focus on? Will Phoneix's Arthur Fleck/Joker rise into the full-blown crimelord we know from the comics? That would seem to go against everything in Joker, which is more of a small-scale character study. One thing seems certain: while a young Bruce Wayne appeared in Joker, don't expect Batman to pop-up in this sequel, since the Caped Crusader is firmly in the hands of director Matt Reeves for now.

Many of my colleagues have soured on Joker, or didn't even care for it to begin with. I was a bit more positive – I gave it a positive review, citing Phoenix's fantastic character work and the grimy visual style of the film. That said, I had major problems with the script, which was overly simplistic and owed far too much to films like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Hopefully, Phillips can come up with a better screenplay this time around.