News about the second Joker movie has emerged this week amidst a series of radical changes to the DC universe over at Warner Bros. Discovery. In between Batgirl's surprise cancellation and the uncertain future of Supergirl, one thing DC fans do have to look forward to is Joker: Folie à Deux, the sequel to Todd Phillips' 2019 hit movie, Joker.
The second Joker movie was confirmed earlier this year when Phillips posted a picture of the script, confirming the subtitle to be Folie à Deux. Casting news then broke that not only would Joaquin Phoenix return in his Oscar-winning role as Arthur Fleck, but that superstar actress and singer Lady Gaga would be joining him. Gaga's role as the Joker's infamous partner in crime Harley Quinn was then seemingly confirmed in the first teaser for Joker: Folie à Deux.
Some of the most surprising news to come out about the upcoming Joker film is that it will supposedly dip into the musical genre, an announcement that drew divisive reactions from outspoken fans. Both Phoenix and Gaga are no strangers to singing on-screen, but according to one actress, there are multiple reasons a Joker musical makes sense.
Zazie Beetz Supports Joker's Musical Sequel
Zazie Beetz, who starred in 2019's Joker as Arthur Fleck's love interest Sophie, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her thoughts on the sequel being a musical. The actress revealed she thinks the genre shift "makes wonderful sense" and aligns with Phillips' "creative approach to the character":
"I actually think it makes wonderful sense. I wasn’t really surprised by that. Todd [Phillips] has always had a creative approach to the character. I love musicals, and I think of them as the characters are feeling and experiencing so much that they can only sing and dance about it, whether in sorrow or in joy."
Beetz added that she personally finds singing and dancing to be a "cathartic experience", and said that it would make sense for Arthur, who is "feeling and experiencing so much", to turn to music:
"I can actually see that within myself as well, because singing and dancing is quite a cathartic experience for me. I was going through a really, really difficult time at one point in my life, and I just started dancing and crying by myself. And that was an expression that matched where I was at that moment. And so I can see Arthur, who is feeling and experiencing so much, dancing and singing about it. He’s the Joker, so I think it makes sense to me."
The actress also addressed her thoughts on Sophie's fate in Joker. In the 2019 film, the outcome for Beetz's character was left uncertain as it was revealed Sophie and Arthur's relationship was only a delusion in the latter's mind.
However, the shooting script of the film, which was released later, seemed to confirm that Sophie did survive as a scene showing her watching Arthur's performance on television was included.
Beetz confirmed she also thinks Sophie lived because her character "never actively wronged Arthur" and his victims were "generally people that pointedly hurt him" and Sophie was just "a bystander to his situation":
"Yeah, in my mind, she lives because she never actively wronged Arthur. His victims in the film were generally people that pointedly hurt him. Even within the horror of his realization around his own state of mind, he acknowledges that she’s more of a bystander to his situation than an actor to his situation. So, to me, it made sense that she wouldn’t be harmed by him because his harm was intentional towards certain people and then society at large, which he also felt wronged by in a way. So in my mind, she makes it out unscathed, at least physically."
Why a Joker Musical Makes Sense
When Joker was released in 2019, viewers responded both positively and negatively to the new and dark psychological thriller-style take on the infamous DC villain. It shouldn't come as a shock then that Phillips is looking to surprise again by taking the sequel into musical territory.
As Beetz pointed out, musicals are an interesting way to explore a character's inner thoughts and feelings, and given that Joker is such a character study, it does make sense for the sequel. It's also expected that much of Joker: Folie à Deux will take place in Arkham Asylum, which is where Arthur ended up at the end of the original film. With the nature of the asylum, Arthur's mental state and the inherent flamboyance of the character, breaking out into a song or dance seems like a fitting take on the direction of the story.
As for whether Sophie will appear in the sequel, it seems like Beetz's role came to a natural end in Joker, regardless of whether she survived or not. Arthur's attention will no doubt be taken up with Harley Quinn in Arkham Asylum, so it wouldn't make a lot of sense for Beetz's character to appear there. However, given Arthur's track record with delusions, there's no reason Sophie couldn't appear in flashbacks or fantasy sequences.
Joker: Folie à Deux is scheduled to release in cinemas on October 4, 2024.