Todd Phillips has spent the last two years playing it coy about whether Joker, his massively successful, Oscar-winning origin story for DC Comics’ most iconic murder clown, might potentially get a sequel. The 2019 film itself is pretty clearly meant to be a standalone film, after all, even if its ending leaves open the possibility for all the future clown murders to come. And while Phillips has said that he’s hypothetically open to another film, he’s never made any kind of commitment—and neither has star Joaquin Phoenix, whose approval would likely be the bottleneck that decides whether a potential Joker 2: Still Jokin’ gets made.
Which is what makes a recent tidbit dug out of one of The Hollywood Reporter’s regular round-ups of powerful Hollywood lawyers and dealmakers especially interesting, revealing that Phillips has reportedly signed a deal to co-write a sequel to the film. This is per Uproxx, which notes that THR, in attributing recent moves to Phillips’ lawyer Warren Dern—whose client list also includes Zack Snyder, Amy Poehler, and Paul Feig—reported that “Todd Phillips struck a deal to co-write the next Joker installment.” Which is the first real confirmation that we’ve gotten that actual money is being pushed toward the project, which Warner Bros. has presumably been salivating over ever since the first film brought in billion-dollar-plus box office receipts and massive amounts of critical acclaim back in 2019.
Of course, Phillips may still have to deal with Phoenix’s desire, or lack thereof, to return to Arthur Fleck’s unhappy, greasepaint-streaked frame. There’s always a workaround, though, right? They could go the multi-verse route, and bring in another five or so Jokers from the back room where they keep them. Or they could try making a film focused on one of Joker’s most famous antagonists, if he has any with enough clout to support their own film. (It’s not entirely clear.) We’re especially partial to going the full horror movie, route, though: How about the cursed origin story of those haunted steps from the first movie, which turn anyone into a Gary Glitter-loving death harlequin any time they’re foolish enough to dance down them? The ideas are endless, really, as long as they don’t have to be good. Call us, Todd.