James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU may still be a mystery, but Todd Phillips is being more forthcoming – if cryptically so – about his upcoming Elseworlds film. Today, Phillips posted a new image from Joker: Folie à Deux on his Instagram account. A sequel to the massive 2019 hit Joker, Folie à Deux picks up with Arthur Fleck, who is now the Joker, in Arkham Asylum, where… stuff happens. We don’t know a lot about the story yet, except that it involves Dr. Harlene Quinzel/Harley Quinn, and it will be at least partly a musical. Joaquin Phoenix returns as the Joker, with Zazie Beetz also back as Sophie Dumond; Catherine Keener and Brendan Gleeson join them, with Lady Gaga playing Harley Quinn. Joker: Folie à Deux is scheduled to arrive in theaters on October 4, 2024. You can see the new image below:
Todd Phillips knows how to generate excitement for this movie. A lot of that has to do with Joker being so well-loved; the film was surprising and fascinating in its portrayal of a man losing his mind, so these vague images generate interest through our desire to figure out what Phillips is trying to say with them. This one has Arthur Fleck, sans makeup, in the middle of a crowd while it’s raining, and he’s the only one without an umbrella. And he seems perfectly happy with that, taking what appears to be delight in the downpour while everyone else protects themselves. As tempting as it is to infer that one of those pedestrians is the Penguin, I think it’s more about Fleck standing out from the crowd, doing something normal people don’t understand. He is being soaked by the natural world from which the rest of us seek shelter. It reminds me of something from Arkham Asylum, the Grant Morrison graphic novel from 1989, where an Arkham psychiatrist tells Batman that one of their theories about the Joker is that he is not insane but rather abnormally sane. She called it “super-sanity;” the Joker sees the world as it really is, which the human mind cannot comprehend, so it makes him crazy. (The Dark Knight also alluded to this: “See, I’m not a monster; I’m just ahead of the curve.”) But that’s just a guess; it could be a lot of things, and that’s why it’s yet another great promotional image for what will undoubtedly be an interesting movie, whether it works or not.