Everything We Know About ‘Joker: Folie à Deux’

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Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix in 'Joker: Folie à Deux.' - Credit: Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros
Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix in 'Joker: Folie à Deux.' - Credit: Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros

A Joker sequel was never technically in the cards. When director Todd Phillips made his anti-superhero origin film about the classic Batman villain — with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role — it was designed to be a standalone film. While Phillips acknowledged he was open to making a follow-up under the right circumstances, he went so far as to stress a month before the film’s October 2019 release: “We have no plans for a sequel … The movie’s not set up to [have] a sequel. We always pitched it as one movie, and that’s it.”

Of course, grossing more than $1 billion at the global box office, earning 11 Oscar nominations, with two wins — Best Actor for Phoenix and Best Original Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir — and spawning several reliable memes have a way of changing things.

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Even still, it wasn’t until June 2022 that there was any official confirmation that a Joker sequel was happening. That’s when Phillips shared a photo of the script for Joker: Folie à Deux on Instagram, along with a pic of Phoenix taking a look at the pages while smoking a cig. This news was quickly followed by reports that Lady Gaga was attached to play Harley Quinn, and that Zazie Beetz would reprise her role from the original film. Filming eventually began in December 2022 and wrapped in April 2023.

With Joker: Folie à Deux’s Oct. 4 release date a mere six months away, here’s a rundown of everything we know about the film.

What does the title mean?
“Folie à deux” literally translates from French to “folly of two,” and it’s been used in psychiatry to describe shared delusions — y’know, like the kind two deranged villains like Joker and Harley Quinn might have. In other words, it’s the perfect Joker sequel pun to pair with the bad Arthur Fleck stand-up meme.

Who’s in it and who are they playing?
Phoenix will return as Fleck, the struggling, mentally ill clown and stand-up comedian who’s driven to madness and the warm embrace of his evil alter ego, Joker. Gaga will play Dr. Harleen Quintal, a psychiatrist at Gotham’s infamous Arkham Asylum, where (spoiler alert) Fleck winds up at the end of Joker. It’s unclear exactly how close Folie à Deux will hew to the comic books, but in the traditional lore, Quintal cares for Fleck/Joker at Arkham only to fall victim to his manipulations, fall in love with him, and become his accomplice, Harley Quinn.

Beetz, meanwhile, will return as Sophie Drumond, a single mother, Fleck’s former neighbor, and the one-time object of his unnerving affections. Leigh Gill will return as one of Fleck’s former clown co-workers, and Sharon Washington will once again play Fleck’s social worker.

As for new additions, Joker 2 is set to feature a stacked supporting cast of Brendan Gleeson, Catherine Keener, Steve Coogan, Jacob Lofland, Ken Leung, and Harry Lawtey. There’s no word, however, on who they’ll all be playing.

It’s a musical, right?
Hell yeah, brother. What, you think they’re gonna cast Lady Gaga and not have her sing?

While it’d been long rumored that the Joker sequel would incorporate some musical elements, Variety reported in March that the film might be closer to a full-blown jukebox musical. Insiders revealed that Folie à Deux was expected to feature at least 15 reinterpretations of “very well-known” songs, and that composer Hildur Guðnadóttir would “infuse her distinctive, haunting [music] cues” into the numbers. A track list definitely was not revealed, though the one song teased was “That’s Entertainment,” from the 1953 musical The Band Wagon.

It’s also reportedly still possible that one or two original numbers could still make their way into the final film.

What’s it gonna be rated?
Shocking absolutely no one, the Motion Picture Association slapped Joker: Folie à Deux with an R for “some strong violence, language throughout, some sexuality, and brief full nudity.”

What’s it gonna be like? 
In terms of a vibe check, all we’ve had to go off these past few months are remnants of the general Joker aura and some photos Phillips has shared from production on Instagram. But, a first trailer is finally around the corner, set to arrive April 9.

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