Todd Phillips will most likely return as the director for the second installment, but the sequel is unlikely to feature Batman.
Joker's unprecedented success at the box office caught the world by storm. It grossed over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to ever do so, and is the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2019. So it was only natural for talks about a sequel.
Director Todd Phillips opened up about the possibility of a sequel at The Contenders New York award-season event, reports Deadline. He said, "When a movie does $1 billion and cost $60 million to make, of course, it comes up. But Joaquin and I haven’t really decided on it. We’re open. I’d love to work with him. But it would have to have a real thematic resonance the way this one did, ultimately being about childhood trauma and the lack of love, and the loss of empathy. All those things are what made this movie work, so we’d have to have something that had an equal thematic resonance."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director is likely to team up once again with Joaquin Phoenix for the sequel. Phillips has been in talks to reprise his role as the director along with screenplay writer Scott Silver. In addition, Warner Bros. has sequel options in place for Phoenix as well. Phoenix is now seen as a strong contender at the upcoming Oscars for best actor. Given Phoenix's aversion to starring in sequels, he just may make this one an exception seeing how he admitted to doing a Joker sequel even before the first film was done. He said, "In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, 'Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There's way too much to explore'. It was kind of in jest -- but not really."
Phoenix was so invested that he made numerous movie posters "each taking on a different movie that his Arthur Fleck character could tackle." As per THR sources, it was believed that when Phillips met with Warner Chairman Toby Emmerich in October, he proposed a grandiose idea wherein he would have "the rights to develop a portfolio of DC characters' origin stories." With Warner Bros protective of the DC Universe, and all films have been standalone so far, Phillips did get a small win. He walked away with the rights of at least one other DC story,
As for revisiting Gotham city, Phillips recently admitted that he'd love to see someone make a Batman movie in his version of Joker's Gotham.