Before the release of Joker, director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix had maintained that the film was a standalone story, and they had no intention of turning it into a franchise. But in the months that followed, and the love it received at the Oscars and became the first R-rated movie to cross the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, they’ve switched their stance noticeably.
In a recent behind-the-scenes featurette shared by Warner Bros, producer Bradley Cooper casually let slip that it might have been Phillips’ idea the entire time to produce an ‘altered version of DC films’, and that Joker was merely ‘the first one’ in the series. “Todd called me and said ‘listen I have this crazy idea for this altered version of DC, and the first one is the origin story of Joker’”. Fans were quick to catch Cooper’s comments. “The FIRST ONE is Joker get ready for more DC Black Label movies!!” one person wrote in the comments section.
Phillips and Cooper worked together on the three Hangover films, with Cooper also co-producing the director’s dark comedy War Dogs.
Although Warner Bros intended for Joker to launch a Black Label of DC films, no such branding was seen in the movie, and the team continued to assert that they weren’t interested in sequels. “The movie’s not set up to [have] a sequel. We always pitched it as one movie, and that’s it,” Phillips had said in an interview.
But shortly after the film’s release, Phoenix told critic Peter Travers, “I can’t stop thinking about it … if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting. It’s nothing that I really wanted to do prior to working on this movie. I don’t know that there is [more to do] … Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”
In November, contrasting reports emerged that Phillips, Phoenix and writer Scott Silver had been hired to work on the sequel. Phillips later clarified that while he was discussing the possibility of a follow-up, no official deals had been set in place.
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