Todd Phillips is getting the last laugh, as the long-rumoured Joker 2 — Joker: Folie à Deux — has finally been given the green light.
Following in the bloody footsteps of 2019’s original, the Hangover filmmaker is returning to direct a sequel to the psychological thriller. Joaquin Phoenix also returns as Arthur Fleck, who takes on the mantle of the titular Clown Prince of Crime.
Joker left us with more questions than answers, but with the first movie being pitched as a standalone that wasn’t connected to the worlds of DC, many thought the story ended here.
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It’s not the typical Batman movie you might expect, and with Joker bagging Phoenix an Academy Award for Best Actor, there are equally high hopes for Joker: Folie à Deux to perform.
If you’re ready to put on a happy face, here’s everything we know about the Joker 2 release date, cast, plot, and more.
Joker 2 cast
Surprising no one, Phoenix will once again be slathering on the grease paint as Arthur Fleck. 2019’s Joker included an all-star cast that saw the lead share the screen with the likes of Frances Conroy, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz. When it comes to returning cast members, there aren’t many options.
We could have our first newcomer, as The Hollywood Reporter claims Lady Gaga is tipped to join the cast. Better yet, the A Star is Born actor could be playing Harley Quinn. The site described Joker 2 as a musical, which would be a massive departure from what came before, but to be honest, something typically Joker-esque.
There’s a chance Beetz could return as Sophie, as the movie's cinematographer confirmed that despite her ambiguous fate, Fleck didn't kill her. The infamous deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne seemingly count Brett Cullen out as Thomas Wayne, but remember the notion that he's Arthur's father.
The unreliable narrator of Joker means there’s a chance De Niro’s Murray Franklin wasn’t gunned down on live television, but we’d be surprised if he’s back.
Looking at more likely inclusions, Douglas Hodge could also reprise his role as Alfred Pennyworth, while Dante Pereira-Olsen’s young Bruce Wayne makes sense if Folie à Deux wants to explore the origins of Batman and Mr. J’s toxic relationship.
Finally, with Willem Dafoe talking so much about Joker — and even throwing his ideas around for a sequel — who wouldn’t want to see the Green Goblin actor join the unhinged party?
Joker 2 plot
The ending of Joker left things on something of a cliffhanger. An incarcerated Fleck was locked up in Arkham State Hospital at some unknown point after he incited riots across Gotham City. Fleck broke free after possibly murdering his therapist, so it’s likely Folie à Deux will follow him on the run as he continues his descent into becoming Joker. The concept of a musical is another interesting one, suggesting that Joker 2 could follow in the footsteps of everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Boys having musical episodes. It also leans further into the idea we’ll dive deeper into Fleck’s mind this time around.
Interestingly, the title of Folie à Deux could hint at where things are heading. The title translates as a "delusion or mental illness shared by two people in close association,” so it sounds like Fleck will be sharing the screen with someone else. Whether it’s the dual personality of Fleck and Joker or a direct reference to Batman/Bruce Wayne having a bigger part to play in Arthur’s evolution, there’s one more popular idea.
There's someone else other than Batman that shares their life with the Joker, and Folie à Deux is the perfect opportunity to introduce Harley Quinn to this dark and brooding world. Just like Dr. Harleen Quinzel worked at Arkham Asylum, Joker’s ending perfect sets her up.
With Joker standing on its own much like Reeves’ The Batman, it’s doubtful Margot Robbie will make the leap from the Suicide Squad movies for Joker 2, but what if Sophie ends up being Joker’s Puddin’? The topsy-turvy nature of Joker’s narrative means it’s not completely outside the realms of possibility. If not Beetz or Gaga, any number of A-list actors would be clamouring to play Harley Quinn.
In 2019, Phillips said he’d envisioned Joker as the first of three movies. It just so happens 2020’s Batman: Three Jokers comic series included three versions of the villain, which could play out in live-action. When Dafoe made a mythical pitch for Joker 2, the star said, “There is something interesting about, like, if there was a Joker imposter. So it would be possible to have not duelling Jokers but someone that says to be the Joker that isn't the Joker."
Dafoe imagined a plot where someone was imitating what Fleck did, which would effectively make our tragic anti-hero into a full-blown hero hunting down an even more psychotic Clown Prince of Crime. Before Joker came out, there were questions about the age difference between Fleck and Bruce Wayne, leading to theories that this version of the Joker isn’t the one Batman ends up fighting. If you aren’t convinced, remember the Wayne’s were watching Zorro, The Gay Blade, which featured the original Zorro training his gay twin as the next hero.
Could we see Phoenix pulling double duty as Arthur and a twin brother? Probably not, but multiple Jokers is an idea that’s picking up steam. Taking a leaf out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s book of world-building, Phoenix’s Fleck could mentor Barry Keoghan’s Joker from The Batman? However, Reeves and Phillips seem to be keeping their outings as separate entities from anything in the Worlds of DC.
Joker 2 release date
Whispers of Joker 2 started doing the rounds as early as 2019, and in May 2021, claimed Phillips had signed on to write a sequel. As for a Joker 2 release date, your guess is as good as ours. Warner Bros. has a packed slate of DC movies on the way, with everything from Black Adam to The Flash taking us far beyond 2023.
Phillips posted a shot of Phoenix reading the script on Instagram, confirming that at least the story is finished.
Still, the fact Joker: Folie à Deux hasn’t entered production means we could be in for a bit of a wait. Then again, Joker was shot in just 12 weeks and had a speedy post-production due to no additional CGI.
Expect to find out more about Joker 2’s release date soon.
Watch the trailer for Joker