Todd Phillips’s Joker origin movie is officially the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, and so it was just a matter of time until the director—and the studio cashing those box office checks—decided to shoot a sequel. Even Joaquin Phoenix himself is at least interested in the idea. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when the Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Phillips was already in talks with Warner Bros. about bringing Joaquin Phoenix’s clown Travis Bickle back for another movie. But the report also gave us some legitimately surprising news, too.
Apparently, Phillips wants to make more gritty DC origin movies now—and the possibilities are endless.
According to the Reporter, Phillips initially approached Warner Bros. head Toby Emmerich about the idea of more origin movies after Joker’s opening weekend, but the executive reportedly wasn’t exactly excited about the plan—at least at first. Per the Reporter:
Emmerich balked. After all, Warner Bros. is very protective of the DC canon. And all other DC deals have been for one film, and one film only. But Phillips did emerge from the meeting with the rights to at least one other DC story, sources say.
It’s unclear what, exactly, that new DC story is, or if Phillips plans to tackle it before or after we see Phoenix angrily smear white paint around his face again in Joker 2, but the whole thing raises an interesting question: If Phillips could take Taxi Driver and King of Comedy and mash it up into a wildly successful supervillain movie, what Scorsese film should he rip off next?
Hollywood Reporter floated the idea of a Lex Luthor origin movie, which could easily be crammed into the Wolf of Wall Street mold, especially if it is the Man of Steel iteration of Luthor as a 1980s corporate fat cat. The birth of LexCorp was undoubtably fueled by mass amounts of cocaine, anyway.
If Phillips wanted to stick with Batman villains, there’s easily room for a Ra’s al Ghul origin story in the style of Scorsese’s spiritual movies like Silence, or some zany After Hours romp through nighttime Gotham that slowly descends into chaos and drives mild-mannered Edward Nygma into becoming the Riddler. But that’s not all! Maybe The Last Temptation of Christ but with Darkseid? Or a Last Waltz-style concert film about all of Black Canary’s various bands? Or some kind of Two-Face version of The Departed where Two Face plays both Leo and Damon’s roles? Sure, why not!
Good luck building your Scorsese/DC cinematic universe, Todd, whatever you end up doing—or just give us what we really want and turn that Oscar the Grouch Joker parody into a full feature.