In recent years within the MCU, the studio has taken to heart the old saying of "a hero is only as good as their villain", giving audiences the likes of Black Panther's Killmonger, Avengers: Endgame's Thanos, and most recently, Daredevil's Kingpin in Hawkeye. In that light, Spider-Man: No Way Home upped the ante with a whopping five Multiversal villains; but of them all, Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin is who fans can't stop talking about.
Dafoe first played the compelling antagonist in 2002's Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire; and while fans had a complaint or two about his costume, no one took issue with how the actor portrayed the Oscorp CEO and his split supervillain personality.
Due to his masterful reprisal in No Way Home, Thanos and Killmonger have new competition when it comes to ranking MCU baddies; but according to Dafoe, he has his eyes on playing a villain from another comic book franchise.
Willem Dafoe's Idea For a Joaquin Phoenix Joker Sequel
When asked by GQ if the actor enjoys playing villains, Spider-Man: No Way Home star Willem Dafoe responded by saying, "I don't know what that is" before teasing his own pitch for the DCU, saying,
“I don’t know what that is. I’ll play dumb. You play characters. I could say, ‘Oh yeah, it's fun to play villains ’cause you can do things that you can't do in life, or it's fun to play with your dark side’. But I don't know. I'm not thinking about those things.”
While Dafoe has appeared in blockbuster films, the actor is all about his craft and has been recognized with four Academy Award nominations through the years. In fact, his No Way Home co-stars praised him for giving "so many options" for takes and even scaring everyone on set with his performance.
Despite his lengthy career, the actor shows no signs of slowing down or thinking less of comic book roles. According to him, he actually has an idea for a story involving a "Joker imposter" which he believes to be rich with possibilities, particularly "if you had Joaquin Phoenix's Joker:"
“There is something interesting about, like, if there was a Joker imposter. So it would be possible to have not only dueling Jokers but someone that says to be the Joker that isn't the Joker. And that kind of opens up the possibility of an interesting story, particularly if you had Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, and then you had someone who was either imitating or riffing off what he did. I fantasized about that. But other than that I am not talking to anybody [about it], you're the first one.”
While the Green Goblin is one of Marvel's most iconic Spider-Man villains, the Joker is one of DC's most renowned Batman baddies. Also, unlike the Goblin, the Joker has been portrayed on-screen several times through the years by actors such as Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Heath Ledger, and the aforementioned Joaquin Phoenix.
Phoenix played Arthur Fleck, a failed clown who becomes Gotham City's Joker, in 2019's Joker directed by Todd Phillips.
Despite being a drastic departure from the DCU's prior films at that time, Joker became the third-highest-grossing DC movie ever released and a critical darling earning 11 Academy Award nominations.
Dafoe's Sequel Pitch Is No Joke
As Dafoe explained in the interview, and as his filmography shows, he's a character actor. The same can be said of Joaquin Phoenix, who actually won the Academy Award for Best Actor after his performance in the 2019 film.
Due to the Joker's financial and critical success, there are already rumors that Warner Bros. is interested in a sequel headed by director Todd Phillips. While nothing has been confirmed, Warner Bros. - and fans and critics alike - would surely love the idea of Phoenix and Dafoe going head-to-head as two different Jokers.
A Joker sequel would also work for Warner Bros.' current direction with the DCU, where side, stand-alone films have their place; and since DC fans are already getting three different Batmen on-screen in 2022, it seems safe to say that audiences would be more than fine with more Jokers.
Still, it's worth noting that this is the first time Dafoe has talked about the idea. Therefore, fans shouldn't expect anything anytime soon. Plus, Joaquin Phoenix would not only have to be interested but also available.
However, if Dafoe is interested in crossing over to DC, it's unlikely that the comic book film franchise would see this opportunity as anything but a laughing matter.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently playing in theaters.