Todd Phillips Reveals The Working Title For Joker 2, Joaquin Phoenix's Interest Confirmed

It lives! The long-rumored sequel to Todd Phillips' 2019 film "Joker" is currently in development. Phillips shared a series of photos on his Instagram account, showing the red script cover adorned with the working title, "Joker: Folie à Deux." The second photo he shared was of "Joker" star Joaquin Phoenix seemingly reading the script. Although the post does not confirm whether the project was greenlit or if Phoenix will return to the role that landed him an Oscar, it does confirm that work is being done on the film.

The working title should also stir up some interest. Not to be confused with the criminally underrated Fall Out Boy album of the same name, folie à deux is defined by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry as the "identical or similar mental disorder affecting two or more individuals." It is an extremely rare occurrence that is often classified as a psychotic or delusional disorder due to the passage of paranoid delusions between one person and another. The small number of cases that have been recorded usually occur within a family unit, although unrelated but similarly close people could theoretically develop it as well.

What's in a name?

The decision to make "Folie à Deux" the project's working title could mean a few different things. It could be a reference to the relationship Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) had with his mother Penny (Frances Conroy), who developed a severe mental disorder after being in an abusive relationship. What exactly she suffered from was unclear, and she was killed by her son before the audience could find out.

There is also the potential that young mother Sophie (Zazie Beetz) could somehow be involved in this sequel, given how Fleck was obsessed with her character to the point where he began having hallucinations of spending time together. Arguably the most controversial interpretation of the subtitle is that it will give viewers a new iteration of Harley Quinn. Despite Margot Robbie and Kaley Cuoco tag-teaming the role between live-action and animation, Phillips could be interested in bringing in his own version of the character.

Finally, in probably the most interesting interpretation, the "Joker" sequel might not even involve the first film at all. Remember, content like "The Killing Joke" comic arc and "The Dark Knight" emphasize that the Joker's real identity and background will never be solved for as long as he lives. Perhaps "Folie à Deux" references a different, but somewhat similar or overlapping origin story for the Joker, a madness shared by two or possibly many, many others.

All I have are negative thoughts

Of course, discussing and dissecting the subtitle leaves us with one final question: do we actually need this? Although the film was heavily divisive, it's hard to argue that the ending wasn't satisfying in its own, inconclusive way. It opened up the idea that nothing in the movie actually happened, that Fleck was simply imagining everything. The final shots of him walking down the asylum hallways with blood-stained steps are quite effective in setting up the question of whether or not Fleck really was the Joker. The idea of a sequel seems to completely erase the impact of the ending as a whole. It's annoying, but it also isn't surprising given how the film grossed over a billion dollars worldwide and secured a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

All of these ideas aside, it still isn't confirmed that "Joker: Folie à Deux" will actually be made. Phillips posted these photographs to Instagram to confirm its development, not necessarily a green light. It could see some big changes coming in the next months or even years, so we'll just have to wait and see what this next chapter involves.