A movie's success almost always guarantees a sequel. This explains why people are wondering if 2019's Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix was going to get a sequel, even though the movie isn't the sort to lend itself to a follow-up. It probably doesn't help that several reports are claiming that Warner Bros. is pushing for Phoenix to come back and do a sequel after the first film won two Oscars and made well over $1 billion in the box office.
However, for Joker 2 to happen, Phoenix needs to be on board and it appears that he doesn't know if a sequel is ever going to come.
Is a Joker sequel really necessary?
Joker is the biggest R-rated movie of all time and the only one to gross more than one billion dollars. When you consider that it was made on a relatively modest $70 million budget, making a sequel makes sense financially. Critically, it wouldn't be a bad idea either. The film won two Oscars, after all. Unfortunately, while speaking with The Playlist, Phoenix couldn't confirm that a Joker sequel is in development.
The exact words in his statement were, "There are some interesting things we could do with this guy and could [explore] further. But as to whether we actually will? I don't know."
The good news is that Phoenix didn't outright say that he's not coming back to do a sequel. The bad news is that this also doesn't mean that he'll return to do a follow-up. The thing with the Joker movie is that it accomplished what it set out to do - give Batman's most iconic villain a proper origin story about how someone can go from being a struggling comedian one day to becoming Batman's greatest nemesis.
If Warner Bros. is to release a sequel, what would it explore? The film was so successful because it downplayed being part of the DC Universe and focused more on the frightening realities of modern society. Making a sequel would suggest that it becomes just another franchise based on a comic book and honestly, we don't think that Joker 2 will succeed if it is marketed like that.
Of course, we'd be glad to be proven wrong. The greatest strength of Joker as a character is the mystery surrounding his origin. Phoenix and the film's director, Todd Philipps, could go wild and tell an entirely different story of another Joker or have multiple Jokers in the same film. Either way, Phoenix's performance as Joker was legendary. If a sequel means we're going to get more of it (as long as it doesn't feel forced or rushed), then we'll be all for it.