Ever since it was announced, Todd Phillips' Joker was positioned as a one-off, standalone character study rather than a franchise-launcher, a thing no one had any trouble believing given the film's setting (a pre-Batman Gotham City) and the fact that Joaquin Phoenix famously turned down a role in the MCU (as Doctor Strange) because it would've locked him in to multiple sequels. We accepted this as the truth and went about our business, comfortable in the idea of a one-and-done Joker adventure that existed outside the already-established DCU.
But now Joker is a monster hit, raking in $96M at the box office this weekend and generating largely positive reviews...not to mention, no small amount of Oscar talk for Phoenix. With all of that in mind, we should probably not be terribly surprised to learn the actor is now sounding, eh, a bit more open to the idea of further Joker shenanigans.
Skip to the 21-minute mark in the video below.
As you can see, this is Joaquin Phoenix being interviewed by Rolling Stone's Pete Travers, who gets the following response from the actor upon asking him if the Joker was a "dream role":
“You know, I wouldn’t have thought about this as my dream role. But now, honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it. I talked to Todd a lot about what else we might be able to do, in general, just to work together, but also specifically, if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting. So, it ended up being a dream role. It’s nothing that I really wanted to do prior to working on this movie.”
Travers points out that, historically, Phoenix has shied away from sequels and asks what more there is to do with the character, to which Phoenix replies:
"I don’t know that there is [more to do]. Me and Todd would still be shooting now if we could, right? Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”
Does this mean a Joker sequel is definitely in the cards? No. Does it, however, mean that Joaquin Phoenix is not as "close-minded" to the idea as we've always assumed he'd be? Absolutely. It'd be interesting to see what a sequel to Joker even looks like (I suppose it'd just be a look at the character's rise through the ranks of Gotham City's criminal underworld? Unless they flashed way forward in time, there'd be no Batman for him to match wits with), and how that might impact the rest of the goings-on in the DCU (the general consensus is that Matt Reeves will be hiring his own Joker for The Batman, or maybe for one of its allegedly-planned sequels).
Anyway. It's all just speculation for the time being, but probably worth thinking about in the wake of Joker's undeniable success. Let us know what you think about all this in the comments below, and stay tuned for more on Joker (or, indeed, Joker 2) as further updates roll in.