‘Joker 2’ Crew Member Reveals Why the Sequel Is “Pretty Risky”

in DC, Movies


Credit: Screen Culture

Before DC Studios co-chiefs James Gunn and Peter Safran were tasked with reshaping the entire DC cinematic brand, Warner Bros. originally introduced audiences to the first DC Comics-inspired cinematic universe known as the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). These were a collection of divisive films that varied in quality. Zack Snyder’s eventual departure motivated the studio to deviate from this creative direction. This choice led to the standalone success of Joker (2019). Despite its billion-dollar triumph, the cinematographer has revealed that the sequel is still “pretty risky.”

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Zack Snyder’s vision for the DCEU raised concerns at Warner Bros. when Batman v. Superman (2016) failed to meet the expected box office revenue. Despite its critical failure and mixed fan reception, the movie still developed a diehard fanbase that sustained its notoriety. The next film, David Ayer’s The Suicide Squad (2016) was a highly-anticipated project initially. It was even the first superhero film to showcase the villains as the main characters with a star-studded ensemble cast like Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis.

The cast of Suicide Squad 2016 walking through the rain
Credit: Warner Bros.

Many fans were excited to witness Jared Leto’s introduction as the iconic clown prince of crime, the Joker. Even with his Oscar-winning pedigree, Leto was joining a legacy of Joker actors such as Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger. Unfortunately, Jared Leto’s Joker was a near unanimous failure by fans and critics. Plus, his method acting antics on set generated bad press going into the movie, souring any positive buzz. The Suicide Squad proceeded to be one of the worst-grossing movies of the DCEU.

Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicid Squad holding his hands together and smiling
Credit: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. executives’ eventual distrust of Snyder climaxed with the theatrical release of Justice League (2017). Joss Whedon was hired to rewrite and reshoot a large portion of the film by studio executives. This would spawn a tonally and narratively different final cut than Snyder’s version. This decision compelled the eccentric filmmaker to leave Warner Bros., only returning to finish his director’s cut of Justice League.

Bruce Wayne screaming as Metropolis is under attack in 'Batman vs Superman'
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

One year later, the DC fandom was left scratching their heads when it was announced a solo Joker movie was in development that was:

The development of this film was originally met with cautious optimism that transitioned to anticipated excitement after Phoenix’s Joker captivated viewers based off the movie trailers alone. This enthusiasm carried over to its theatrical release as Joker grossed over $1 billion worldwide. The movie was considered a refreshing character-driven story that showcased the soon-to-be villain mastermind’s descent into homicidal madness. Joker was met with both critical and fan acclaim that was best exemplified when Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for the role.

Arthur Fleck in Joker make-up for the first time in Joker 2019
Credit: DC / Warner Bros.

Joker‘s success became an unexpected complication because it was not made with a sequel in mind, but Warner Bros. wanted to cash off its new billion-dollar franchise. So when the details of second installment were announced, the franchise continued to raise eyebrows. Todd Phillips confirmed that the sequel will:

  • 1. Be called Joker: Folie à Deux or Joker: Madness Shared by Two
  • 2. Have Harley Quinn be played by Lady Gaga
  • 3. Be a musical
lady gaga and Joquin phoenix in Joker 2
Credit: DC

The last detail shocked many fans and critics as this is a complete narrative restructuring from the first. Even the film’s cinematographer, Lawrence Sher, expressed, “Next year we’re releasing the new Joker movie, and we’re currently in the final stages of post-production. It’s a pretty risky movie and it’s going to be a surprise for people.” His candor about this tricky creative direction only confirms that Todd Phillips and his production team are really attempting to subvert viewers expectations. This certainly could be a high risk, high reward endeavor.

Joker: Folie à Deux is set to premiere in theaters on October 4, 2023.

What do you think of the cinematographer’s comments? Is this a good kind of risky or bad?  

in DC, Movies

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