There are a lot of changes going on behind the scenes at Warner Bros and DC Studios. Movies like Batgirl have been canceled, and projects like Wonder Woman 3 that were in the early stages of development have reportedly been shut down.

But for the upcoming Joker sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, it’s full speed ahead. I guess when a movie makes $1 billion and wins a couple Academy Awards against a budget of less than $100 million, you’re gonna make a sequel no matter who is in charge or what their plans are.

In the case of Folie à Deux, both director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix are back, joined by Lady Gaga as a new Harley Quinn to Phoenix’s Joker. As revealed by Phillips on Instagram, production on the film — which isn’t due out for almost two years — is officially underway. He shared a first look at the new film, which shows a gaunt Phoenix getting shaved. You gotta love the vibrant, pop art world of DC Comics, am I right?

From what has leaked in the press so far, Joker: Folie à Deux flies in the face of just about everything new DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran want to do. Their stated plan is to make one giant, cohesive fictional universes that crosses between movies, TV, and games. Joker, which is R-rated, is set in a separate reality from any other DC movie to date; its Bruce Wayne wasn’t Robert Pattinson or Ben Affleck or Michael Keaton, but a little kid. And now they’re adding a Harley Quinn to the mix who isn’t Margot Robbie. Also, the film is supposed to be a musical!

But, again, the success of Joker was likely too overwhelming to deny. Maybe they’ll build a universe around Joker; or maybe they will make it the one exception to their rule of interconnectedness.

Joker: Folie à Deux is scheduled to open in theaters on October 4, 2024.

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