A new version of the Joker’s romance with Harley Quinn may be presented in Joker: Folie à Deux. In spite of numerous controversy over its potential societal impact ahead of its release, Todd Phillips’ Joker was one of 2019’s biggest mega-hits. Even though Joker’s story was a one-off, a musical adaptation of Joker 2 is currently in the works.
As well as Joaquin Phoenix‘s Arthur Fleck, Lady Gaga will portray Harley Quinn, the Joker’s long-time love interest in Folie à Deux. While the Joker and Harley’s long histories as DC characters have greatly shaped their public image, the Joker sequel may not adhere strictly to their traditional portrayals. As a result of the storytelling style originally adopted by Joker, Joker 2 is likely to introduce new things, particularly in the romantic relationship between the Joker and Harley.
The teaser trailer for Joker 2 clearly indicates that Harley and the Joker will be a couple in the sequel. Furthermore, Todd Phillips’s DC films showed audiences that nothing should be taken at face value. Considering the success Joker achieved in how it reworked Mr. J into a completely new version of the character embodied by Arthur Fleck, it is also likely that Joker: Folie à Deux will revamp the Joker and Harley as much as possible, which is a recipe for further amazing success.
Since Harley Quinn’s debut in Batman: The Animated Series, her relationship with Mr. J has been toxic. Using his skill at manipulation, the Joker manipulates Harley into a romantic relationship in which he exerts authority and control over her. The change in Harley Quinn’s name from Harleen Quinzel in her origin, her adoption of the Joker’s clown motif, and the general character of their relationship have all the hallmarks of a relationship that is abusive.
In spite of the obviousness of incorporating that into Joker: Folie à Deux, the version of Mr. J presented by the Joker was undeniably re-invented. This does not exclude the possibility that Arthur Fleck is an abusive boyfriend completely, but it also suggests that such a direct translation of the Joker-Harley romance might not work as it has traditionally been portrayed.
In giving the Joker a real name as Arthur Fleck with potential ties to Thomas Wayne and portraying him as a struggling, mentally ill man who snaps after a lifetime of ill fortune, Joker tells a story that borrows elements of his traditional image while shaping him into something new. The Joker also depicts Arthur with a much reduced criminal mastermind or chaos-spreading terrorist mindset compared to previous versions. Arthur Fleck’s interpretation of the Joker and Harley’s relationship may be useful in reinterpreting their relationship.
Through the ambiguity of its story, Joker makes a strong case that he and Harley as a couple should take advantage of the opportunities that would arise. The way Arthur and Harley relate to one another should be given a new take to catch audiences by surprise, just as Joker did. Arthur has the potential to fantasize everything in Joker (and Joker 2 may confirm that fantasy by being a musical).
In Joker, Arthur is depicted as a troubled individual who eventually becomes a murderer, but he does not appear to be inherently evil or violent. In Joker, Arthur is depicted as a troubled individual who eventually becomes a murderer, but he does not appear to be inherently evil or violent. When Arthur Fleck treats Harley with kindness and care for the first time in their romance, it could further distinguish Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck as a killer Joker as well as telling an Elseworlds story — Arthur Fleck as a Joker in DC’s multiverse capable of maintaining a romantic relationship without physical or emotional abuse.The story of Arthur’s love for Harley also seems to have been intended to serve as the vehicle for Joker 2’s musical elements, with Lady Gaga’s musical career naturally being a key contributor.
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In addition, Folie à Deux may reinterpret Mr. J and Harley’s relationship as similar to Arthur’s relationship with Sophie (Zazie Beetz) in Joker. Since Arthur and Sophie’s romance was a delusion in Arthur’s mind, his romance with Harley in Joker 2 may be another delusion that was shattered by the truth. The Arthur-Harley romance could still be told over the course of the movie in such a scenario. Even though Arthur did not kill Sophie in Joker, the fact that they had never dated was still a shocking discovery for him, and one that can also be adapted to a movie romance in Joker 2. By imagining another romance that never took place, Arthur could potentially transform the Joker’s relationship with Harley Quinn from an abusive one to a tragic love story.
From a studio perspective, the success of Joker and the critical acclaim it received made a Joker 2 understandably appealing. However, as Todd Phillips pointed out, a compelling story would be necessary in order to bring Arthur Fleck back to the screen. While Phillips’s full plans for the Joker sequel are not known at this time, the fact that the film is both musical and introduces Harley Quinn into the story offers a number of new elements. Considering all of the above and Arthur Fleck’s new personification of the Joker, the musical story of Joker 2 is unlikely to depict Harley and the Joker as recognizable recreations of their classical selves. As a result, Joker: Folie à Deux will likely have a much warmer portrayal of Harley and the Joker’s love, but it will still tell a very dark story, and the musical sequel is likely to be a completely new and original story about Harley and the Joker.