Beginning, in earnest, a bold new period in comic book filmmaking—i.e., the one where we’re going to be looking up the spelling on “Folie à Deux” once a week until the damn thing actually comes out—Todd Phillips announced today that filming has officially begun on Joker: Folie à Deux, the sequel to his billion-dollar, hyper-grim 2019 blockbuster Joker.
To commemorate the occasion, Phillips hopped on Instagram today to show off a photo of his leading man, revealing that Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck isn’t necessarily looking more healthy three years after the events of the first movie. (Either that, or this is just behind-the-scenes footage of Phoenix being forcibly divested of his latest I’m Still Here-style beard, so that filming can commence.) Certainly, the image suggests that three years of confinement haven’t been kind to Arthur/Joker, who’s looking emaciated, with his arm covered in sores.
Phillips’ post was, of course, met with immediate requests from fans, inquiring most especially if they can get a look at the new movie’s other main character, who’s played by Lady Gaga, and who’s generally expected to be this universe’s version of Harley Quinn. (The film’s subtitle references the psychological idea of a “madness shared by two,” which is a pretty good basic descriptor of the “Mad Love” between the two characters in most versions of their relationship.) For now, though, no dice: They’ll have to content themselves with this glimpse at Phoenix’s Nipple O’ Misery, instead.
Joker: Folie à Deux is, obviously, still quite a ways off from theaters: The film is currently scheduled for an October 2024 release. There’s no word yet on how the film might be impacted by the recent leadership shake-ups at DC Studios, but given that the first movie brought in a massive $1.074 billion at the box office off of a miniscule $70 million budget, we’re pretty sure new studio heads James Gunn and Peter Safran are prepared to let Phillips and Phoenix do pretty much anything they want.