Joker isn’t even out yet, but director Todd Phillips is already talking about a sequel. He is open to one if the opportunity arises — under one very important condition.

Interviewed by Total Film, Phillips said he would think of something and make a follow-up with Joaquin Phoenix as long as the actor was up for another round, adding audiences will have to show up for this fall’s standalone Joker first:

“One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week. There’s nobody like him. If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.”

Pretty cool, indeed. Joaquin Phoenix is already generating Oscar buzz for his portrayal of DC’s premier supervillain. He would be the second man within the span of a decade to receive an Academy Award for playing the Joker after Heath Ledger. Early reviews, scarce as they are, say his performance offers a “series of punches to the gut.” (Related: Joker: A First Reaction is Calling the Movie a Series of Gut Punches)

Whatever Phillips and Phoenix come up with to top their initial effort will more than likely be totally original and, based not on any comics, build on the continuity they create. (Related: Report: Joker Will Not Be Based On Any Comic Continuity)

Going from unofficial Internet spoilers we reported on, Joker will deviate greatly from DC Comics canon. Other than Phoenix playing a new character, the disturbed Arthur Fleck, with his own face-paint design, he has connections from the beginning to Arkham — now a hospital — and Thomas Wayne. (Related: Rumor: Joker Movie Plot Details Leaked Online [Potentially Major Spoilers])

Todd Phillips laid out his mission with Joker months ago — to do what Marvel doesn’t and go to war with the undisputed number-one studio and comic brand. He wants to make movies that are raw and filmed in real locations untainted by CGI. Warner Bros.’ new direction for DC plays into his hand and may even be his idea. (Related: DC vs. Marvel War ‘Is On’ Claims Joker Director Todd Phillips)

As he told Empire about his pitch:

“I said ‘Let JOKER be the first, then let’s get f****** great filmmakers to come in.’ Instead of trying to live in the shadow of the beast (MCU), let’s do something they can’t.”

Joker is meant as “the first” in a tentative film-division version of DC’s Black Label. It will be released in theatres on October 4, 2019.

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Writer, journalist, comic reader. I cover DC. Fan since Batman TAS was brand new. Favorite character is between Swamp Thing and Darkwing Duck.

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