A sequel to the 2019 comic book-adjacent movie Joker is well underway, and Lady Gaga is in talks to join the cast. On Monday, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Gaga is in negotiations to take a role as Harley Quinn, the Joker's therapist-turned-maniacal-accomplice. This, along with several other revelations about the project, took social media by storm.
Joker 2 will reportedly be titled Joker: Folie à deux, and will see Joaquin Phoenix return as the titular villain. It will once again be co-written by Scott Silver and Todd Phillips and directed by Phillips. Sources at Warner Bros. told THR that Gaga's involvement is not assured just yet, but a deal is in the works. They also said that this movie will be a musical – an odd twist from the first.
Joker was an odd project from the start, and it became a meme before it even premiered. Every new detail of the movie confused fans more at the time – it was set in the 1980s, it did not follow the continuity of the comics or of any previous screen adaptation, it did not feature Batman, and so on. The movie grossed over $1 billion when it finally came out, and it received some critical praise as well. Still, news of the sequel has fans on social media just as perplexed as news of the original did.
"When a filmbro incel and annoyingly quirky musical theater girl lock eyes at the Joker 2 premiere and fall in love, what then?" one person tweeted. Another wrote: "Yeah I'm hype for Joker 2 now, I was ticked cuz it wasn't what I expected but tbh the movie's actual idea is so insane I f— with it. Like, a musical?? What?? Wild. Could be cinema. Weird choices and artistic risks is what cinema's all about."
I think the funniest part about the whole "the Joker needs a therapist, not Batman" discourse is that's the entire point of Harley Quinn, to prove that the best therapist in the world can't do shit for him, because he's a fictional embodiment of chaos, not a mentally ill person.— IRON FIST 👊🥷 EBOOKS (@ironfist_ebooks) June 12, 2022
While the Joker is one of DC Comics' oldest and most legendary characters, Harley Quinn was not introduced until Batman: The Animated Series in the 1990s. Still, she has become nearly as iconic as the Clown Prince of Crime himself and has been added into comic books and just about every other form the comics have been adapted into.
Harley's origin story generally begins with her as a talented psychiatrist working at Arkham Asylum, where she gladly takes on the impossible task of treating the Joker. In most forms of this story, she is slowly driven into the same insanity as the Joker simply by proximity and by spending a lot of time with him. The title Joker: Folie à deux implies that the movie might tell this story since "Folie à deux" is a medical term for a mental disorder that affects multiple individuals.
However, it's also worth remembering that Joker was revered for diverging from the comic book canon, not punished for it as so many other adaptations in mind. That means the sequel is under no obligation to follow the established story either. In fact, it seems more likely that Phillips and Silver will find some way to put a unique spin on the ideas.
Joker: Folie à deux is in the early stages of development as far as we know. There's no word on when the movie might premiere or even when it might begin filming. In the meantime, Joker is streaming on HBO Max.