There’s still no update on what happens next for Todd Phillips’ Joker. After making more than $1 billion (£760 million) at the box office, awards-season glory is one possibility. A sequel is another, though there hasn’t been any movement on that front. Another idea is something Phillips himself wants to see, but not actually do.
“It’s a beautiful Gotham. What I would like to see someone tackle is what Batman looks like from that Gotham,” Phillips told Variety.
Though Joker primarily tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a troubled man who finds himself through violence and becomes the iconic comic book villain, the character of a young Bruce Wayne is stringed throughout. First in a scene at the Wayne estate (where Arthur thinks he’s going to meet his biological father) and later as young Bruce and his parents leave the movies. His parents are subsequently murdered by a man wearing a Joker mask, inspired by Arthur’s deeds.
“I’m not saying I’m going to do that,” Phillips continued. “What was interesting to me about the inclusion of Batman in our movie was, ‘What kind of Batman does that Gotham make?’ That’s all I meant by that.”
Which is a nice way of saying “Don’t get your hopes up for a spin-off, Joker fans.” Phillips is merely pontificating about the gritty, grimey, Scorsese-esque Gotham City he created for his film and how that environment might change Batman from the usual versions we are used to seeing. Would Batman himself be more violent? Would Bruce Wayne even become Batman? We don’t know, nor does Phillips. He just thinks it’s an interesting thing to think about.
And... of course he does! That’s the whole point of Joker! To elicit different themes and conversations. But the only people who could have that conversation for real are in offices at Warner Bros., and those people are wrapped up with another Batman at the moment. So it seems highly unlikely Phillips’ idea will ever see the light of day. Or, maybe, it ends up being the spark that gets him and star Joaquin Phoenix back in front of the camera. Anything is possible.
Photo: Warner Bros.