On April 9, the official trailer for “Joker: Folie a Deux” was released. A direct sequel to the Oscar winning, “Joker (2019),” the trailer outlines the basic plot of the film. With the Joker in a mental asylum, we are shown his mundane daily life before we are introduced to a love interest and Harley Quinn character, played by Lady Gaga. Music is mentioned multiple times as a therapy method in the trailer and “Love Sweet Love” by Anita Baker is played throughout. 

Rumors of a musical sequel have circulated since 2022, but were recently confirmed when information about the film was leaked to Variety. The news revealed that  “Joker: Folie a Deux” will have musical numbers and choreographed sequences, resembling films like “La La Land” or “A Star is Born,” more than did “Joker (2019).” The film’s composer, Hildur Gudnadottir, called the decision to make a musical “interesting.” Gudnadottir further explained that the decision makes sense for the Joker story and that she’s excited for the film’s release. In an interview with Variety Magazine, Director Todd Phillips stated that there will be no original songs in the film. He went on to explain that 15 very well-known songs will get reinterpreted throughout the film’s music score. 

Understandably, mixed opinions have surfaced about “Joker: Folie a Deux” being a musical. Fans on social media agreed that the first “Joker” film stands on its own and a sequel isn’t needed, unless it’s going to introduce something new to the DC universe. Xusers suggested that the resources for Joker 2 could have been redirected to a new original villain story. With so many popular DC villains, including Scarecrow, Penguin, Catwoman, etc., DC could have capitalized on a new film series with darker origin stories. Despite the negative feedback from passionate DC fans, nearly all commenters contended that they planned to see the movie anyway. 

Although DC might have slightly angered their fan base, this decision presents  an opportunity to open their entertainment to a new demographic. Musical films like “A Star is Born” and “La La Land” appeal to a specific audience of people who like music, romance, and theater. Casting Lady Gaga was a smart move, considering that she appeals to a specific demographic as well. DC movies in general have a very one-dimensional audience of superhero fans. The markets for both types of movies is huge and combining both demographics opens the opportunity for a record breaking film release. 

With a budget of $200 million, roughly $140 million more than the original, “Joker: Folie a Deux” is Warner Bros.’ most anticipated film of the year. They’re taking a chance with the larger budget and the chance of getting less DC fans to see the movie, but it’s likely the film will be a success from the wider audience demographic. 

By Nathanael Wilhelm

Digital Journalism Major and Film Minor at Fairfield University