Briefing

Everything we know about Joker 2

The stairs, the music, and the Lady Gaga of it all

Send in the clowns. A follow-up to DC's 2019 phenomenon Joker will soon laugh its way into theaters, but the wild early details suggest fans may be in for a totally different kind of sequel. Here's everything we know about the film, including all the juicy tidbits that can be gathered from set photos: 

It's called Joker: Folie à Deux

The Joker sequel was officially confirmed in June 2022 with director Todd Phillips returning and once again co-writing the script with Scott Silver. Phillips also announced the title would be Joker: Folie à Deux. The phrase "folie à deux" refers to a delusion shared by two people, so the name sparked theories that the second person in the equation could be Harley Quinn.

Lady Gaga is playing Harley Quinn

Those theories were soon confirmed, as Lady Gaga was reported to be playing Harley Quinn, the Joker's love interest. In the comics, Harleen Quinzel is a psychiatrist the Joker falls in love with while he's institutionalized at Arkham Asylum, and she becomes his partner in crime. The original movie, you'll recall, ended with the Joker at Arkham, and The Wrap reports "a lot of" the sequel takes place there. 

Margot Robbie played Harley Quinn in the DC Extended Universe as recently as 2021's The Suicide Squad, but Gaga will be offering her own take, as the Joker films exist in a separate continuity and will be labeled "DC Elseworlds" going forward. Robbie has given Gaga her blessing to take a crack at the role. The first look at Gaga as Harley Quinn was revealed in February 2023, though she wasn't in the iconic makeup yet, suggesting the movie will depict the character's transformation. 

The first official photo of Gaga in the Harley Quinn makeup was revealed in April 2023 after filming wrapped.

It will reportedly be a musical

But by far the weirdest detail we've learned about Folie à Deux is that unlike the first film, the sequel is reportedly a musical, as first revealed by The Hollywood Reporter. Indeed, it will feature "complicated musical sequences," Variety says, though an insider said it's "more like A Star Is Born than In the Heights." Hildur Guðnadóttir is returning to compose the score after winning an Oscar for the first film. 

Zazie Beetz is returning, and new cast members have signed on

Zazie Beetz is set to return as Sophie, the neighbor the Joker imagined as his love interest in the original film. Brendan Gleeson, Catherine Keener, and Harry Lawtey have also joined the cast, as has Jacob Lofland, who The Hollywood Reporter said will play an inmate at Arkham Asylum who develops a relationship with the Joker. It's not clear who the other actors are playing, though Gleeson told Extra he's "a bit intimidated" by what he has to do, and Deadline said Lawtey's role is "a big one." 

A crowd scene was filmed at a New York courthouse 

Folie à Deux shot scenes in various public places, so some plot details can be gleaned from set photos. No massive spoilers have been revealed, but turn away now if you want to go into the movie completely fresh. 

In late March, a large crowd scene was shot at a courthouse in New York — across the street from where reporters were awaiting news of a possible indictment of Donald Trump. These photos revealed Gaga in her full Harley Quinn makeup and costume for the first time, while a large crowd of extras played supporters of the Joker holding up signs with messages like "Free Joker," "Joker Rules," and "No Justice, Not Guilty, Not Joking." Another sign referenced Harvey Dent, suggesting Two-Face exists within the world of the movie and could potentially appear. Harley Quinn could be seen surrounded by police at the courthouse, so perhaps she's being escorted in so she can testify as part of the Joker's trial, which is what has sparked these protests. 

Lady Gaga on the set of Joker: Folie a Deux

MEGA/GC Images

Photos also showed a woman holding up a newspaper with the headline "Crazy in Love," which features Harley's mugshot at the Arkham State Hospital with the subhead "Joker has a new love." This confirms Harley will be an inmate at Arkham at some point in the movie, and it sparked speculation that she might not actually be the Joker's psychiatrist in this adaptation, but rather a fellow patient from the beginning. Gaga was also seen kissing the woman who was holding up that newspaper. This kiss appears to be during a different courthouse scene, perhaps earlier in the movie, as Gaga wasn't wearing her Harley Quinn makeup. 

Joker: Folie a Deux set photo

Gotham/GC Images

Filming has also taken place at a location standing in for Arkham Asylum, and set photos suggested a fire will break out at the building. Another set video showed Phoenix's Joker being chased on the street, apparently by two men dressed as the Joker. Even more set photos showed him wandering the streets of New York in his Joker makeup looking disheveled. 

Joaquin Phoenix filming Joker: Folie a Deux

Jason Howard/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

It will return to the stairs from the original 

As filming continued in April, more set photos revealed that Folie à Deux will return to the iconic stairs that the Joker danced down during the original movie, seemingly for at least two scenes. Gaga was spotted walking up these stairs in the Bronx while not in the Harley makeup and wearing a normal coat.

Lady Gaga on the set of Joker: Folie a Deux

James Devaney/GC Images

But she also filmed what appeared to be a different scene on the stairs where she sings while dancing down them, this time in the Harley makeup and costume. Phoenix joined her for the latter scene, so this appears to be a joint dance sequence, and set photos showed police descending onto the stairs holding up guns. Another set video revealed Gaga will sing "That's Entertainment" on the stairs. 

Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix on the set of Joker: Folie a Deux

James Devaney/GC Images

It will hit theaters in 2024

Joker: Folie à Deux is scheduled for release on October 4, 2024, five years to the day that the original came out. This leaves the film well-positioned to compete at the Oscars, raising hopes that, in the same way Phoenix won an Academy Award for the first film, Gaga could win for the sequel. She's off the deep end, indeed.

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