Why so secretive?
Warner Bros. is wrapping production soon on “Joker: Folie à Deux,” and still the studio has revealed barely any details about the much-anticipated sequel to 2019’s “Joker.”
The high-profile project has been making headlines recently as its stars have been spotted shooting the DC film around New York City — prompting fans to speculate online about the characters and the plot, which has been kept tightly under wraps.
A “Joker” follow-up “couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the ‘Clown Prince of Crime,’” director Todd Phillips told the Los Angeles Times in 2019.
“It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that [‘Joker’] does. Because I think that’s ultimately why the movie connected, it’s what’s going on underneath. So many movies are about the spark, and this is about the powder. If you could capture that again in a real way, that would be interesting.”
Here’s everything we know so far about “Joker: Folie à Deux.”
When does it come out?
“Joker: Folie à Deux” is scheduled to open in theaters Oct. 4, 2024.
Joaquin Phoenix will reprise his role as the murderous Arthur Fleck, also known as Joker. In 2020, Phoenix won an Academy Award for his lead performance as the failed comedian-turned-serial killer.
Though she didn’t appear in “Joker,” Lady Gaga has been cast as the female lead of “Folie à Deux.” Also new to the cast is Brendan Gleeson, who will play an unspecified supporting role, according to Deadline.
And Zazie Beetz will reportedly return as Fleck’s kindhearted neighbor, Sophie.
Phillips, who received a 2020 Oscar nomination for his work on “Joker,” is also helming “Folie à Deux.”
What’s it about?
As previously stated, Warner Bros. has kept mostly quiet about the plot of “Joker: Folie à Deux.” It’s worth noting, however, that — in a marked departure from its deeply grim predecessor — the film has been billed as a musical.
We can also glean from recent set photos that the film involves a protest and a trial of some sort. Last month, a crowd of background actors congregated on the steps of a New York courthouse. Some wore clown wigs and masks, while others chanted and carried signs that read “Free Joker” and “Not Guilty.”
The chaotic scene, paired with other set photos of Phoenix locked up inside a Gotham police vehicle, suggests that the film’s titular antihero will face criminal charges in the sequel. (Can’t imagine what for!)
This weekend, Gaga and Phoenix were spotted performing and laughing maniacally on the Shakespeare Steps in the Bronx — the birthplace of the famous dancing Joker meme.
Is Gaga playing Harley Quinn?
Superfans and industry experts predicted early on that Gaga would portray Joker’s cackling sidekick and love interest, Harley Quinn, in “Folie à Deux.”
And though Warner Bros. hasn’t said anything, behind-the-scenes images have pretty much confirmed it.
In March, Gaga was photographed wearing clown makeup, a red blazer, a black-and-white blouse and checkered black tights while filming protest scenes on the steps of a New York courthouse.
While the actor and pop musician waded through the zealous crowd of fake protesters, one of the extras held up a copy of the fictional Gotham Examiner with a mugshot of Gaga in character as “Harleen Francis Quinzel” on the front page. Printed in bold font are the words, “CRAZY IN LOVE” and “JOKER HAS A NEW LOVE.”
In previous live-action DC films, Harley Quinn has been played by Margot Robbie.
Where does it fit in the DC Universe?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, titles such as 2019’s “Joker” and 2022’s “The Batman” technically fall outside the DC Universe — which was recently overhauled by new studio heads James Gunn and Peter Safran.
Those movies, along with “Folie à Deux,” belong to their own universe called DC: Elseworlds, which means they are not beholden to Gunn and Safran’s vision for the future of DC.
So — because they exist under the same content umbrella — is an eventual crossover between Phoenix’s “Joker” and Robert Pattinson’s “Batman” (or any other Elseworlds character in the canon) a possibility?
In March 2022, “The Batman” director Matt Reeves told Total Film there had been no discussions thus far about pitting Pattinson’s Caped Crusader and Phoenix’s Joker against each other on the big screen. But who knows what could happen as both franchises continue to expand?
Wait, what happened in ‘Joker’ again?
Believe it or not, it’s been more than three years since “Joker” debuted in theaters, and to say a lot has happened since the movie came out would be a massive understatement.
So, if you can’t remember exactly where Arthur Fleck left off at the end of “Joker,” we don’t blame you.
Here’s a quick refresher: After being cruelly shunned by society and failing to make it as a professional clown or stand-up comic, Arthur “Joker” Fleck goes on a violent rampage, killing his mother and several others. The movie ends with Fleck, handcuffed inside a mental asylum, fielding questions from authorities.
Before the credits roll, Fleck dances through the halls of the asylum to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” and leaves behind a trail of bloody footprints — the perfect precursor to what is sure to be one hell of a twisted, musical sequel.