It’s time to put on a happy face, as Todd Phillips’ long-rumoured Joker 2 is officially happening. Cackling its way into our lives as a sequel to 2019′ award-winning psychological thriller movie, Joker: Folie á Deux sees Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix step back into those oversized shoes and baggy pants for another unhinged outing.
While the original Oscar-nominated Joker had its critics, most agreed that the tragic story of Arthur Fleck was an almost perfect standalone without needing to connect to the crumbling pillars of the DC Extended Universe or its hopes of a rebranded Worlds of DC. Still, another feature for the clown king of Gotham is on its way (posing more questions than answers).
How will Joker evolve in the upcoming sequel? Who will be joining him in his new outing, and how do Batman and the Wayne family fit into the future story? As we open up the doors to the Arkham State Hospital once again, here’s everything we want to see in Joker 2.
A darker Arthur
Doing what some people never thought possible, Joker gave Mr. J an origin story. More often than not, we’ve found the Batman villain as an already established big bad – complete with bleached skin and green hair. Even Barry Keoghan’s fleeting appearance as Joker in The Batman featured him with his signature grin.
Although we got a few glimpses of how dangerous Fleck can be as he cut his way through Gotham City’s elite and gunned down Robert De Niro’s Murray Franklin on live television, the first movie ended on something of an American Psycho cliff-hanger where we questioned what’s real and what’s not.
Now that we’ve established Arthur’s tragic backstory of an abusive childhood and being the butt of the joke, he can go full Joker. It will be hard to spin the premise of “it’s all in his head” for another outing, so let’s hope we pick up with Arthur’s bloodied footprints walking out of Arkham and having potentially killed his psychiatrist.
We guess Arkham Asylum is passé these days, with both Joker and The Batman renaming it as Arkham State Hospital. Joker’s finale featured a handcuffed Fleck, suggesting that the other inmates and patients are just as dangerous as he is. Anyone up on their Batman comics will know Arkham Asylum has housed some of DC’s most deranged delinquents.
If Joker 2 continues where its predecessor left off, Bruce Wayne is still too young to be Batman. This leaves the cell door unlocked to give more of the Caped Crusader’s rogues an origin story. Seeing what Phillips did with Joker, could we see a more sympathetic side of Victor Zsaz, Great White Shark, or Bane?
The Batman might’ve got the jump on using Penguin, but it would be a shame to not at least have a nod to a younger Harvey Dent as Gotham District Attorney. It depends on how much Phillips wants to build out this world and whether there’s a Joker 3 in the pipeline, but remember, the director previously told Collider he isn’t a fan of Easter eggs or world-building.
A real villain
Joker put itself in a strange position as a comic book movie that didn’t have a typical hero or villain. Fleck was hardly Gotham’s saviour, and the closest we really got to a villain was the sneering Thomas Wayne. Expect a more traditional approach this time around.
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Even though Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy played the card of Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow running Arkham while being just as unbalanced as his subjects, there are plenty of others who can take his place. Fox’s live-action Gotham City and Rocksteady’s Arkham City made a big bad out of Doctor Hugo Strange – who is yet to make his debut in the Batman movies.
You could spend all day dreaming up dream villains for Joker 2, but another underrated baddie is Jervis Tetch, aka Mad Hatter. The gimmick of being obsessed with Alice in Wonderland might seem out-there, but remembering that Lewis Carroll’s story trod the line between real-life and make-believe, he’d be an interesting choice to go up against Fleck.
On another tangent, what about Joker being the villain of Joker 2? Bear with us on this one. In early 2022, Willem Dafoe made his own pitch for a Joker sequel to GQ – suggesting there are multiple versions of Joker. Fleck could spend the sequel hunting down another psychotic clown who’s taken the mantle of Joker to unleash even more madness.
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Before Joker even came out, fans questioned the age difference between Bruce Wayne and Fleck, with wild theories claiming the latter isn’t destined to be our Joker. Much of this was written off when Joker looked like a standalone, but with the potential of building out a bigger universe, it’s time to return to this idea.
If you go down this route, you could even pick up the story years later and feature Fleck training Keoghan’s version for a major crossover with The Batman. Both movies had plenty of similarities in terms of their gruesome and grounded tone, so never say never.
The big question on everyone’s lips is whether we’ll get a new version of Harley Quinn to sit as the Crown Princess of Crime. Warner Bros. has already delivered multiple Batman actors in the form of Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson’s separate versions of Bruce Wayne, so who’s to say we can’t have a darker Harleen Quinzel to give Margot Robbie a run for her money?
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The definition of folie à deux is described as “delusion or mental illness shared by two people in close association.” If there’s anyone who shares a similar delusion to Mr. J, it’s his beloved Pumpkin Pie. With Jared Leto’s Joker seemingly being written out of Harley’s life in the Worlds of DC, our hopes of seeing a full-blown adaptation of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s Mad Love one-shot have been put on hold. Step in Joker 2.
In terms of casting, the world is your oyster. Keeping with Phoenix’s older version of Joker, we could have a throwback to the Batman movies that never came to be. Way back when, Courtney Love was tipped to play Harley Quinn in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Unchained – which was canned after Batman & Robin’s “icy” reception. She could be worth a second shot.
An A-list ensemble
Joker had an all-star cast that included the aforementioned Phoenix and De Niro, as well as supporting roles from Zazie Beetz and Alec Baldwin before he dropped out to be replaced by Brett Cullen. With Joker earning an Oscar, a role in the sequel will be the hottest ticket in town.
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Despite Joker’s indie roots, we’re expecting that sequel trope of bigger and better to add more household names to the cast. While you’re at it, why not give Dafoe a chance to play another legendary supervillain and try out his Green Goblin skills as a wannabe Joker?
Rivalling the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s recent nab of Charlize Theron, Warner Brothers has snared Dwayne Johnson, Brendan Fraser, Lucy Liu, and nearly got Sharon Stone for their DC branch. As long as we don’t have a Michael Keaton cameo to tie Folie á Deux into The Flash and WB’s feeble attempts to create its own Multiverse, we don’t really mind.