Written by Edwin Francisco
DC Films is developing a Joker sequel, and it could be influenced by the Batman: Three Jokers comic book.
There’s no question that Warner Bros. longed for another Joker movie. The question is if they can actually make it happen.
Warner Bros. is not going to ignore the possibility of another hit with a movie starring Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. The movie had a budget of $60 million; it grabbed $1.074 billion at the global box office.
2019’s Joker is a highlight for comic-book movies. Joker was widely acclaimed; in fact, it gained numerous statues from the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, to name a few.
The nominee lists a lot longer, as well. In fact, it’s so long that I’ll eat up a ton of reading time. You can just check the IMDB page if you want.
It’s a comic book fan’s dream for this to happen.
To anyone who watched the movie, Phoenix really delivered more than expected from start to finish. It was a great film portraying a mentally-challenged character with his hardships, struggles and, ultimately, his rise to what you see in front of the screen.
In the comics, we never really knew who the Joker was except for The Killing Joke comic; nevertheless, even then the name of the Joker was never addressed.
Alan Moore wrote The Killing Joke with art by Brian Bolland and John Higgins; the graphic novel inspired the movie.
In the comics, the Joker was a normal hard-working family man.
But a series of events pushed him to the limit. He was already struggling to make ends meet, but his pregnant wife was keeping him together.
Unfortunately, certain events forced him to lose his job; moreover, his wife and child died in an accident.
He felt that he lost everything.
Some criminals convinced him to wear the Red Hood during a robbery. Consequently, Batman pursued him thinking that he was the Red Hood.
The Joker jumped to escape from Batman. Unknowingly, he leapt into a pool full of toxic waste. Afterward, the acid damaged his skin and transformed him into the Joker.
In the movie, since we are dealing with an origin story just like the comic, the plot focuses on Arthur Fleck. Fleck is an aspiring comedian who also works as a party clown; he lives with his mother in the crime-ridden city of Gotham.
He also suffers from a neurological disorder which affects his behavior in society.
A series of events broke him down: his mother’s stroke and him being beaten up randomly.
The system didn’t feel like it was helping him; at the same time, people were mocking him. There are moments that he was already delusional.
However, since we are seeing it from his perspective, we are also confused as to what’s real or not. In the end, he broke; it led him to be the Joker we know now.
What happened to him also inspired a lot of people to create chaos in a violent city. The craziness also led to the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents.
So there is no Batman here, no Red Hood. There’s just a mentally-challenged man who lost faith in the system and fought back the only way he can think of.
Joker Sequel Could Be Inspired by Batman: Three Jokers Comic
What’s next for the Clown Prince of Crime?
It was reported that the Joker sequel was planned as a separate universe from all the other movies and TV series.
The Hollywood Reporter indicated that all DC movies except for Joker, Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Gotham PD spin-off HBO Max show will be part of the same multiverse. The Flash film will set up the multiverse.
Based on this report, it seems that it even if there is a multiverse, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these universes will be interacting with each other.
But don’t be surprised if Joker is eventually included.
Joker director Todd Philips discussed the possibility of a sequel with Phoenix, even during the production. They are excited about the idea. However, there is no contract, so Philips and Phoenix or even co-writer Scott Silver are not obligated to come back.
The sequel was already greenlit since November 2019, just a month after the release of the original film. So, we know WarnerMedia has been working to make this a reality since then.
But it’s not easy to find a concrete idea that can work on screen.
This is true especially if the story focuses only on a villain and no sign of Gotham City’s Dark Knight in sight. The pandemic only made it worse by halting all discussions and plans, but it does seem that Warner wants to make the project move along.
On the other hand, just because it was greenlit within WarnerMedia, it doesn’t mean that the movie will push to reality. It only means that WarnerMedia has put some people in conceptualizing how to move forward. They still have to convince the right people to get the production rolling.
What we are hearing is that they are working on using the Batman: Three Jokers storyline as one of their influences for the main premise of Joker 2.
The Tale of Three
Batman: Three Jokers is actually inspired by two Batman books and the general Batman-Joker relationship. The first book is the “A Death in the Family” story arc (written by Jim Starlin, art by Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo). That tale contained the death of Jason Todd.
The second book is The Killing Joke wherein the Joker sexually assaults and paralyzes Barbara Gordon, Batgirl.
In Batman: Three Jokers (written by Geoff Johns, art by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson), Batman realizes there are three simultaneous Jokers wreaking havoc in Gotham City. He was helped by Batgirl (rehabilitated Barbara Gordon) and the Red Hood (the resurrected Jason Todd).
The three were called The Criminal, The Clown and The Comedian.
The Criminal had the look from the classic Joker from the Golden Age of DC comics. He is pragmatic, philosophical, surprisingly serious.
On the other hand, The Clown had the Joker look from the Silver Age of DC Comics. Basically, the way he looks in “A Death in the Family.” He is a campy, colorful, showman-like prankster.
In contrast, The Comedian had the modern look of how we are familiar with Joker these days. Basically, it’s the way he looks from The Killing Joke with the tropical polo shirt and shorts. He is dangerous, depraved, and a sadistic psychopath.
The three Joker villains each represent a version of Batman’s arch nemesis and how he has changed through the years. It does make you think if they all even existed, which is why Batman has a hard time capturing him.
Each of the heroes faced their own personal issues with each villain.
Jason Todd faced his killer and his internal conflict with why Batman can’t kill the Joker. The event was so emotional for him that he killed The Clown.
Barbara Gordon relived her trauma with the Joker putting a bullet in her. And it turns out that the events in the Three Jokers are replicating the main thing that was done to her father (Commissioner Gordon) in The Killing Joke: trying to convert a person into someone like the Joker.
Batman himself faced everything that he and Joker have been through.
The comics still does deal with a lot more issues than what I summarized here. Batman: Three Jokers is an amazing book, and it’s a highly recommended read. But the book focuses a lot on Batman, Batgirl and Red Hood. I recommend anyone who is into comics to check it out.
Obviously, they cannot adapt the series faithfully; it will be tweaked should they move forward with the Three Jokers idea.
I do find it interesting if they plan to make this work in a theatrical way. What kind of Jokers would show up on screen? We presume that this is not about Batman since there is none of that character in the storyline. Rather, it’s about the people and the society.
Given that, it can still work even without the Batman family.
Do I think this is a good idea? It depends on the execution.
The Three Jokers worked because we were familiar with the Bat family and what they went through. In the film, we are still following Arthur Fleck. What will motivate him to have multiple Jokers? To prove a point to the city and how messed up Gotham City is?
Remember that movies based on comics are usually inspired from several sources. The Three Jokers might be just one of several themes that they may rely on.
His motivations might be different from the comics. You have to consider that the end of the Joker movie. He inspired people so it’s not impossible to have a several Jokers in one film.
Maybe we will see an interesting dynamic between the Joker and the young Bruce Wayne?
I am curious to see what they plan for Joker 2, but I am reserved on how they will tackle this. I still want the Joker sequel to be a success if they ever get this movie done.