Let’s start with the obvious one. Joaquin Phoenix currently plays the Clown Prince of Crime in DC’s Joker franchise. It feels odd to even call it a franchise, because it was supposed to be a one-and-done, but the Todd Phillips movie was such a success that Warner Bros. greenlit a sequel and Joker: Folie à Deux will come out next year.
But what if all of that set the stage for Phoenix’s introduction as the character in the DC Universe? Yes, it’s a longshot but it’s one that doesn’t feel like the most outlandish idea out there. After all, Joker was essentially an origin story, so why not bring that established Joker into an expansive universe. Not only would it be an incredible crossover that would likely result in hugely successful movies, Phoenix is an incredible actor and his portrayal of The Joker is widely regarded as one of the very best.
If the DC Universe does end up replacing Jared Leto’s Joker, the idea of pulling from one of the already-established Jokers on the big screen would be a logical idea. The Batman is remaining a separate standalone property that exists outside of the DC Universe (and that makes sense given how unique it is), so that would rule out Barry Keoghan’s Joker. Phoenix’s would be an easier transition since he doesn’t belong to a comic book world yet.
It’s unlikely, that’s for sure, but it’s definitely an option worth considering because of how successful the already-established Joker franchise is.