Will a ‘Joker’ Sequel Complicate the DC Cinematic Universe?

Articles, Pop CultureBrandon MarcusComment

You can sometimes just tell when a movie is going to be a hit. You can feel a vibe when a motion picture is about to capture the nation’s attention and rake in the big bucks. That’s the feeling I get with Todd Phillips’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. People are already buzzing about the Batman spin-off film and it hasn’t even premiered. Many folks are curious and excited about the movie and I predict that most will leave the theater satisfied with the direction Phillips and Phoenix take the character. I’m predicting this thing will be a success.

Whenever a movie is a hit a sequel is a possibility. That’s doubly true when it’s a movie that’s based on a comic book or comic book character. Joker is a bit of an exception because Phillips has publicly stated that they’re not expecting to turn it into a franchise. He has also said that the movie completely disregards the source material. Yes, this is a movie about the Joker from Batman comic books but it won’t be following comic continuity or canon, the movie is totally a stand alone. Don’t expect it to tie into any other upcoming Batman or DC movies. Phillips has been very explicit that this movie will exist on its own, free of the rest of the DC cinematic universe. Got it? Good.

But now Phillips is claiming that a Joker sequel is possible, despite the movie being so radically different from other comic book films. Speaking with Total Film, the director seemed downright excited to reunite with Phoenix and tackle this character again:

One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week. There’s nobody like him. If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something...’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.
— Todd Phillips

That sounds like a filmmaker who is willing and even eager to make a sequel.

So the possibility of a Joker 2 is much, much higher now. How will that complicate the future of the DC Cinematic Universe? What happens to the DCU if Joker is a runaway success, critically acclaimed and revered by audiences? How will other DC movies be affected if Joker is the biggest hit of them all?


As I mentioned, Phillips and Phoenix have repeatedly said that you shouldn’t expect their movie to become involved with other DC films. But will that remain true if the movie smashes the box office and wins the hearts of moviegoers? How soon after the film’s success will we hear whispers of Phoenix maybe, possibly suiting up to star alongside Robert Pattinson in a Batman sequel? I know it sounds outlandish and unlikely, it is. But if Joker is a huge hit and if Phillips and Phoenix are willing to make a sequel, you have to expect DC to at least consider a crossover event. Sure, everyone said it wasn’t going to happen but money and success can often make filmmakers change their minds.

Or what if Phoenix and Phillips stick to their guns and refrain from entering the DCU? What happens then? What happens if Phoenix’s Joker is the Joker of our era, what happens if he hits it out of the park? He will exist in his own cinematic bubble while the rest of the DC movies soldier on. But will those other movies even attempt to create their own Joker (not portrayed by Jared Leto, of course, but a different actor) and try to compete with Phoenix? Will Warner Bros and DC risk confusing and upsetting fans by having multiple Jokers? There was long talk of Leto having his own stand-alone Joker film but those plans fell apart and currently Joaquin Phoenix is the only Clown Prince of Crime. But what happens IF Joker is a mega-hit and IF they decide to make sequels and IF Phoenix and Phillips refuse to mingle with other DC movies? What happens then?

Phew, things are getting tricky already and the movie isn’t even out yet. But it feels like Joker is going to be a hit and it sounds like Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are into the idea of a follow-up film. And that leaves the future of the Joker and the DC universe complicated.