Not only has Joker been a huge box office success for Warner Bros., but it has reportedly reinvigorated the studio’s DC Comics arm to the extent that, along with the financial successes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, all of its post-Justice League plans have changed dramatically. Joker has also done wonders critically, as both Joaquin Phoenix’s performance and director Todd Phillips’s work have been positively appraised by most critics. Even so, whether either will return for the inevitable sequel remains a mystery, as conflicting reports are suggesting all kinds of things.
One thing Phillips did try to clear up in a recent interview, however, was precisely how his Joker pitch went down, as one longstanding rumor has suggested it was only ever part of a much larger idea regarding a “DC Black” label meant to highlight individual stories and storytellers — as opposed to interconnected narratives a la Justice League. Speaking with IGN, the director addressed these rumors head-on:
“I pitched it as three movies, Joker being the first with me, and then these two other movies, with two other directors. But I don’t really want to name them, because then it’ll become a thing and I’m pulling these directors into it when I’ve never even told them about it. It was just me telling Warner Bros. about it.”
True to his word, Phillips never names the other two films and the directors he pitched to helm them, though he does dig a bit more into why he thinks Warner Bros. ultimately passed on the idea. “Their thing is, there’s no reason to create its own label, there’s no reason to go to all that trouble,” he explained. “I get that, but I also thought it was just kind of cool if it became a thing.”