Since its highly-publicized debut in 2019, Todd Phillips’ Joker has been the center of many a discussion in terms of what DC has done well over the past few years. Taking place outside the DC Extended Universe, this solo movie unexpectedly grossed over $1 billion at the global box office while earning a staggering 11 Oscar nominations, including a win for leading actor Joaquin Phoenix.
At the moment, Phillips is hard at work developing a sequel to Joker with Phoenix back in the leading role, although it's still unclear when the movie will release in the midst of WB's massive slate of superhero films. This also comes as the company works through its public merger with Discovery, leading to substantial changes in how the studio operates, including with the DC Universe as it looks to expand.
On top of the ongoing controversies centered on Aquaman's Amber Heard and Justice League's Ray Fisher, the studio's direction and future with its DC properties are still somewhat up in the air. However, now there may be indications that Warner Bros may look to the man behind Joker for some assistance with that venture.
Joker Movie Big in Warner Bros.' Future
According to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has asked Joker director Todd Phillips to work with the DC universe on a more regular basis, possibly as an advisor.
The two have reportedly developed a relationship with one another, although Phillips remains focused on his Joker franchise rather than the broader DC universe. Currently, Warner Bros doesn't have one single voice overseeing everything from this superhero franchise the way Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige does with the MCU, although it's unclear if Phillips would play a similar role.
Will Joker Director Join the WB Hierarchy?
Looking at it from the perspective of financial and critical numbers alone, Joker is Warner Bros.' biggest success story, regardless of how much it divided viewers during its theatrical run. For Phillips specifically, this comes on top of success as a director and producer for other projects like The Hangover and A Star Is Born, setting him up for this new role with DC projects moving forward.
The big mystery right now is what exactly Phillips' status with the studio will be, particularly as the hierarchy of WBD's leadership board changes so drastically due to the merger. While Walter Hamada remains the President of DC Films, Phillips could possibly be the person for a Kevin Feige-type role looking over the DC Universe, although details on that likely won't settle in for some time.
Regardless of how this works out, it seems evident that the Joker director's duties may extend past his work with Joaquin Phoenix's solo franchise, which already has two more sequels in varying stages of development. With Black Adam set to premiere later in 2022 and at least two films set for theatrical runs in 2023, the studio's plans for expansion will be key for helping the DC Universe move forward and succeed.