Joker has yet to hit theaters, but director Todd Phillips is already ruling out a sequel, squashing rumors that he and actor Joaquin Phoenix were already discussing a follow-up. Phillips made the comments after a screening (via IGN) for Joker in Los Angeles, stating rather plainly, “We have no plan for a sequel.”
The director was responding to a rumor spawned from comments he made in an interview with our sister publication, Total Film, where he expressed a desire to work with Joaquin Phoenix in the future and added, “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.”
So at first, it sounded like he was saying the potential for a sequel would depend on the first film’s success, as well as Warner Bros’ willingness to green-light the project. Now it’s pretty clear where the director stands on a Joker sequel, who also said after the LA screening, “It’s not about world-building, it’s not about other versions. It’s like, here’s our version of the origin story. That’s it. That’s what I meant.”
Total Film’s Jordan Farley gave Joker a 5/5 and awarded it the coveted Editor’s Choice award, writing, “But this is the Joker show from first to last frame, and Phoenix brings the house down. Sure, he’s not performing magic tricks with pencils, or bringing Gotham to its knees with laughing gas, but this Joker is every bit as valid and fascinating as the ones before him, and works better for not being tied to a larger universe.”
If the Marvel formula is to expand, build, and make sequels until they can’t anymore, then Phillips’ decision to leave Joker a standalone film adds clarity to his recent comments about Marvel, where he admits he can’t compete with the “behemoth” studio and would rather try doing “something they can’t do.”
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