The Trailer For Joker: Folie À Deux Has Landed

By Charlie Colville

1 month ago

We're one step closer to the hotly anticipated Joker sequel

It’s been five (rather long) years since Joker graced our screens for the first time. The film, which bagged numerous accolades – including two Golden Globes, three BAFTAs, two Academy Awards (with Joaquin Phoenix picking up Best Actor) and even the 76th Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion – was only ever meant to be a standalone film, exploring the origins of one of DC’s most renowned villains. But in 2022, it was announced that an official sequel would indeed be making its way to the big screen, sparking the launch of a new DC Black film series. Here’s everything we know so far about Joker 2, aka Joker: Folie À Deux

Joker: Folie À Deux: Everything We Know So Far

The Trailer

The trailer has finally landed for Joker: Folie À Deux – and you can watch it below.

Taking to Instagram on 2 April 2024, Lady Gaga (who will be playing Harley Quinn in the film), said: ‘The world is a stage. Joker: Folie à Deux trailer coming April 9.’ We’re loving the Shakespeare reference.


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What Is Joker: Folie À Deux About?

Plot details for Joker: Folie À Deux, have yet to be released – although we expect the storyline will take place shortly after the events of the first Joker film, with Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker now deeply immersed in a life of crime. We also anticipate the film will explore the origin story of Lady Gaga’s character, Harley Quinn, who canonically is brought into the world of villainy by the Joker.

To get a better idea of what to expect, it might be worth taking a little trip down memory lane…

Recap: What Happened In Joker? (Spoilers)

Joker follows Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a mentally ill loner who works as a party clown in 1981 Gotham City. Arthur struggles with a neurological disorder that causes him to have uncontrollable laughter at inappropriate times. He lives with his ailing mother Penny and dreams of becoming a successful stand-up comedian, idolizing talk show host Murray Franklin.

As Arthur’s life spirals downward due to job loss, social isolation, and abuse from others, his mental state deteriorates. One day, he is harassed and beaten by a group of wealthy businessmen on a subway train. In retaliation, Arthur kills the three men, an act that inspires a violent anti-rich movement among the lower classes in Gotham.

During this time, he also becomes infatuated with his neighbour Sophie, a single mother. We see scenes of the two interacting and even going on a date, suggesting they have developed a romantic relationship. Although it is later revealed that Arthur’s relationship with Sophie was entirely imagined and fabricated in his mind. When Arthur goes to Sophie’s apartment towards the end of the film, she does not seem to recognize him, indicating their interactions were just part of Arthur’s delusions.

Arthur’s spiral leads him to kill his former co-worker Randall, who had given him a gun for protection, as well as his mother Penny, who he smothers to death in the hospital after learning that she adopted him and allowed him to be abused as a child. Seeking answers about his past, Arthur goes to Arkham Asylum and discovers that his birth mother is delusional and that the abuse he suffered as a child caused brain damage, resulting in his mental illness and uncontrollable laughter.

Emboldened by his newfound knowledge and the riots he has inspired, Arthur embraces his Joker persona. He goes on Murray Franklin’s talk show, where he confesses to the subway murders live on air. This sparks even more chaos and violence throughout Gotham, with one of Arthur’s followers killing Thomas and Martha Wayne in front of a young Bruce, setting the stage for Bruce’s future as Batman.

In the film’s climactic ending, Arthur escapes from a psychiatric hospital and dances joyfully amidst the riots he has incited. The police are unable to apprehend him, as the city has descended into anarchy.

Who Stars?

Fans of the original Joker film will be pleased to know that Joaquin Phoenix will be returning as the titular character, alongside a handful of other actors from the first film that include his former neighbour Sophie (Zazie Beetz), his social worker (Sharon Washington) and his former coworker Gary (Leigh Gill).

A number of new actors have also been brought in for Joker: Folie À Deux, although their roles have yet to be disclosed. The full cast list consists of:

  • Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker
  • Lady Gaga as Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
  • Zazie Beetz as Sophie Dumond
  • Sharon Washington as Arthur’s social worker
  • Leigh Gill as Gary
  • Brendan Gleeson
  • Catherine Keener
  • Jacob Lofland
  • Steve Coogan
  • Ken Leung
  • Harry Lawtey

Why Is Lady Gaga Playing Harley Quinn Over Margot Robbie?

The difference in casting is likely due to the actresses being part of two different franchises; Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn in Josh Safran and James Gunn’s DCEU, while Lady Gaga will star in Todd Phillips’s separate series of films about the dark underbelly of Gotham.

Regardless, it was reported that Robbie gave Gaga her blessing in 2022. ‘It makes me so happy because I said from the very beginning that all I want is for Harley Quinn to be one of those characters – the way Macbeth or Batman always gets passed from great actor to great actor,’ she said in an interview with MTV News. ‘Someone gets to do their Batman, or someone gets to do their Macbeth.’

Will It Be A Musical?

Yes, we can expect a lot more music in Joker 2. Dubbed a ‘jukebox musical’ by Variety, Joker: Folie À Deux will include at least 15 reinterpretations of well-known songs – one rumoured track being ‘That’s Entertainment’ from 1953 musical The Band Wagon – with potential for original songs too.

Speaking on the film franchise’s new musical status, Joker star Zazie Beetz said: ‘I think people will be surprised. I don’t think it’s going to be what they expect, around it being musical. We all sort of express musically and dancing in our lives day-to-day. I think it’s going to work really well.’

What Does ‘Folie À Deux’ Mean?

The name of the film itself is likely an easter egg, since the phrase ‘folie à deux’ is in fact French for ‘folly of two’ and is known in the mental health space as a shared psychosis or a shared delusional disorder – a rare psychiatric syndrome that refers to an event where symptoms of a delusional belief are shared from one individual to another. It’s essentially a pun on the fact that the film is a sequel, with two clown-faced villains now leading the story.

This is also possibly a reference to the origins of the relationship between the Joker and Harleen Quinzel (aka, Harley Quinn). Originally a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum in Gotham City, Harleen treated the Joker as a patient. But, over time, she becomes infatuated with him and his charismatic madness – leading to an obsession that causes her to free the Joker from the asylum, abandon her career and take on the identity of Harley Quinn, the Joker’s sidekick and lover. It’s debated between fans and critics what exactly led to her becoming so attached to the Joker – love, co-dependency, villainy – so the ‘folie à deux’ could hint at an exploration of these motivations and the more intricate implications of mental illness between lovers.

Where Was Joker: Folie À Deux Filmed?

From what we’ve gathered, many of the scenes for Joker: Folie À Deux were filmed in Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey. Some prominent locations include:

  • New York County Courthouse, New York City: It was here that Lady Gaga was filmed with a crowd of extras demanding the arrest of the Joker.
  • Essex County Isolation Hospital, New Jersey: This abandoned building acted as a stand-in for Arkham Asylum.
  • The ‘Joker Stairs’, aka West 167th Street Step Stairs, New York City: The iconic stairs from the first Joker movie will be making a return – but what happens on them (more dancing, we hope) has yet to be revealed.

The Poster

The announcement of the trailer came with a first look at the film’s poster, which features Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck/Joker and Lady Gaga’s Harleen Quinzen/Harley Quinn dancing together in evening dress, while still wearing their iconic clown makeup. You can see the poster below:

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker and Lady Gaga as Harleen in poster for Joker: Folie À Deux

Release Date

Joker: Folie À Deux is scheduled to be released on 4 October 2024 – just before Halloween.

How To Stream

No news yet on whether Joker: Folie À Deux will be heading for streaming services after its run in cinemas, and unfortunately its predecessor, Joker, is not available for streaming in the UK.

You can however buy the first film via the likes of Apple TV, Amazon Video, Sky Store, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Rakuten TV and Microsoft Store or rent it on Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, Sky Store, Microsoft Store, YouTube and Rakuten TV online.

Featured image: Warner