On Wednesday, the Internet was all aflutter with speculation about the future of Joker director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix’s frequently teased, but not yet confirmed, sequel plans. The Hollywood Reporter claimed in a story that Phillips had signed a new deal with Warner Bros. to helm a second Joker film, for which Phoenix was likely to return, and spearhead a new initiative of standalone DC properties for the studio. Deadline, however, quickly rebuffed THR‘s claims, resulting in a day’s worth of denials, double-downs, and hearsay. Now, Phillips has finally weighed in.
Speaking with IndieWire, the director acknowledged his and Phoenix’s frequent public mentions of their sequel discussions — but insisted that no deal with Warner Bros. was in place. “I can honestly say to you there was no meeting that ever happened on October 7,” Phillips said of THR‘s story claiming he and Warner Bros. Chairman Toby Emmerich had met to discuss the matter. “I’ve been at Warners for 15, 16 years. [I] have two things in development at all times, not 40 things like some people. I’m not the kind of guy who goes marching in saying I want these 40 titles. I just don’t have the energy.”
Sure, there probably will be some kind of sequel to the box office success, as “a movie doesn’t make a billion dollars and they don’t talk about a sequel.” But Phillips noted that while doing a sequel is “a fun thing to talk about,” it’s not something he’s doing just yet. “There’s not a contract for us to even write a sequel, we’ve never approached Joaquin to be in a sequel. Will that happen? Again, I just think the article was anticipatory at best.”
As for the claims regarding his pitch for many other DC adaptations that would operate as standalone films like Joker, as opposed to interconnected titles like many previous DCEU movies, Phillips clarified by explaining that his original pitch to Warner Bros. wasn’t for Joker specifically, but for “[doing] a whole label” of films. “They shut that down quickly and I get it,” he added. “Who am I to walk in and start a label at a film studio? But they said, let’s do this one.”