8 Mind-Bending Folie À Deux Theories that Will Haunt Your Dreams

Joker: Folie À Deux has released its teaser trailer, and with it comes the brewing of fan theories both new and old regarding the details of the plot


The teaser trailer for Joker: Folie À Deux has been officially released, and with it has come intriguing developments on some of the leading fan theories for the direction the story will go in. Ever since the sequel was announced, speculation and early theories for Joker: Folie À Deux have pointed curious viewers in all sorts of different directions. As the stunning teaser trailer narrowed the focus of the film with the first images of Lady Gaga’s Harley Quinn and a post-Joker Gotham, some of these theories, as well as a few new ones, are looking more viable than ever.

The focus of the teaser trailer was kept fairly tight, doing more to advertise the tone of the film and the nature of Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship than the details of the plot. Much of Joker: Folie À Deux‘s supporting cast didn’t get a spotlight, meaning there are a fair number of theories concerning the roles of names like Sophie Dumond and Harvey Dent that continue to go unsubstantiated. That being said, the teaser trailer has also brought up new narrative elements worthy of questioning in their own right.

8. All Of The Musical Scenes Take Place In Arthur And Harley’s Heads

The single leading theory most likely to be true

Harley Quinn points a gun at Joker in Joker: Folie à Deux

The closest thing the new teaser trailer for Joker: Folie À Deux has to a theory with hard confirmation is the idea that the film’s musical sequences will be entirely imaginary. When it was announced that the film would have musical elements, eyebrows were raised as to how the dark tone of the original film could be maintained through a traditionally lighthearted medium. But the recently-released teaser trailer has proven that the idea is in good hands, as Joker and Harley dance their way through a musical landscape colored by psychosis.

It’s very likely that the musical sequences of the film will take place entirely within a delusion shared between Joker and Harley Quinn. This is supported by the extravagant Broadway-play-looking sets that the characters find themselves in, with non-diegetic changes to the environment such as a neon sign for “Hotel Arkham”, rather than Arkham Asylum, lit up above Joker and Harley’s heads. A veil of hallucination would be the perfect excuse for the radical change in genre and tone the Joker sequel will be going for.

7. Joker: Folie À Deux Is Changing Harley’s Origin

From psychiatrist to psych ward patient

Joker Opens Up to Harley Quinn in Batman The Animated Series

Ever since Harley Quinn’s debut in Batman: The Animated Series, her origin story has been well-established. Originally a psychiatrist working at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Harleen Quinzel becomes Harley Quinn after having her mind broken by the Joker in an attempt to treat him with conventional talk therapy. This origin story hasn’t been touched in most depictions of the character, with Margot Robbie’s version in the DCEU following suit, but Joker: Folie À Deux may be taking a radically different approach to the birth of Harley Quinn.

Rather than being a medical professional working in Arkham Asylum, all evidence in the new teaser trailer for Joker: Folie À Deux points to Harley starting out the film as a fellow patient instead. This is supported by her attire and presence in what appears to be group activities organized for the sanitarium’s patients, such as a choir and a movie viewing at a theater. While this theory still awaits hard confirmation, it appears extremely likely to be true, as it would be difficult to explain Harley’s apparent lack of pedigree moving among the asylum otherwise.

6. Joker: Folie À Deux May Flip Joker And Harley’s Classic Roles

It’s more ambiguous as to who radicalizes who

Joker and Harley Quinn about to kiss in Joker: Folie à Deux

Even if Harley Quinn only winds up being a patient at Arkham Asylum, Joker: Folie À Deux could still follow the classic origin story for the character relatively unchanged, with Harleen Quinzel ultimately succumbing to the wiles of the Joker and falling into a life of crime. However, evidence in the teaser trailer for the sequel may suggest that the roles may be reversed this time around, with Harley being the one to radicalize the Joker instead. This presents a fascinating twist to the typical dynamic shared between the two characters, putting a unique Joker spin on the traditional narrative.

From what snippets of Harley Quinn are shown off in the trailer, she seems to be significantly more active than Arthur Fleck. It’s Harley who suggests to him “Let’s get out of here“, suggesting that Joker was more or less comfortable in the stasis of Arkham Asylum internment before meeting Harley. She’s also the one to apply the famous Joker makeup the most, including the shot at the end of the trailer in which Joaquin Phoenix aligns his smile with the red crescent Harley draws on his cell wall. It seems as though Gaga’s villainess may be the film’s antagonist.

5. Harley May Not Even Be Real

Harley Quinn interacts with other characters strikingly little

Lady Gaga Playing Harley Quinn in Various Scenes of Joker Folie a Deux

Going off of everything known about Joker: Folie À Deux and the preceding film, it’s not out of the question to wonder if Harley Quinn is even real in the first place. In Joker, it was revealed that Arthur Fleck was able to summon an entirely imagined relationship with his neighbor after only the briefest of interactions with her, essentially hallucinating an entire romance. This theory posits that in the sequel, he’ll take things one step further by conjuring an entirely nonexistent woman from the depths of his mind, feeding into his latent psychosis.

There is some evidence to support this idea sprinkled throughout the latest trailer. For one, no one else really seems to directly interact with Harley Quinn other than Joker himself, making it very possible she exists solely within his imagination. Additionally, Harley seems to be the main subject of Arthur Fleck’s dreamlike musical sequences, almost assuredly taking place outside the fabric of reality. This could explain why Harley might be the one to egg on Arthur into taking up the mantle of the Joker, rather than the other way around, representing the deepest, darkest parts of his frayed psyche.

4. Joker: Folie À Deux Is Told In Retrospect As A Joke

The lines between reality and fiction may be even more blurred than ever before

Lady Gaga's Harley Quinn and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker and a shot from the Joker Folie À Deux's First Trailer

The new teaser trailer for Joker: Folie À Deux begins with a guard or orderly at Arkham Asylum asking Arthur Fleck if he has “a joke for us today?“, which may be eerily prescient about the circumstances of the movie. The trailer cuts before Arthur’s response to this question is given, but the playing out of the rest of the teaser following it may hint at the constructed reality of not only Harley Quinn and the musical sequences, but the entire film. It’s possible that the entire story of Joker: Folie À Deux is one big joke told by Fleck.

These types of “it was all just a dream” theories may be a little on-the-nose, but if there’s one movie whose sequel would dare to be entirely imaginary, it’s 2019’s Joker. It’s incredibly easy to imagine the entire scenario ending with an unceremonious punchline, possibly a cheesy pun that completely undermines the seriousness of the established narrative. Arthur’s conversation with the guards could even be a framing device, cut back to at multiple points throughout the film to establish Joker as an unreliable narrator of his own story.

3. Joker: Folie À Deux Will Introduce The “Real” Joker

One leading theory from the previous film may soon return

Split image of Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker in Joker (2019) and Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008)

Supposing that the events of Joker: Folie À Deux are indeed real, the sequel could go a long way to establishing the events of Joker as canon within a Batman timeline. One Joker theory suggested that Arthur Fleck himself was not the “real” Joker, but merely the catalyst that goes on to inspire a copycat. This copycat Joker might be the “actual” Clown Prince of Crime in the sense that he’s the one to actually fight Batman rather than Fleck. The recent trailer for the sequel lends some credence to this claim.

The teaser trailer seems to assert that things have indeed been tumultuous in Gotham since the events of Joker, with Arthur Fleck’s actions inspiring a wave of clown-themed rioters violently turning over the city. Fleck himself even seems to be on the receiving end of this movement, having gotten away from him, as he’s chased through the streets by two Joker copycats. One of these rioters could turn out to be the Joker that goes on to fight Batman, explaining the massive age difference between Arthur Fleck and Bruce Wayne in this universe.

2. Joker And Harley Will Make Some Kind Of Run For Office

Joker: Folie À Deux might solidfy Joker’s hold on Gotham

Joker and Harley Quinn standing facing each other against a dark background in Joker: Folie à Deux

The undercurrent of political dissonance coursing through Gotham by the time of Joker: Folie À Deux is ripe for taking advantage of by Joker and Harley Quinn. One sequence hinted at in the teaser trailer seems to show Joker and Harley Quinn greeting a horde of rioters outside the steps of a government building. Rather than fighting them, it seems as though the Gotham City Police Department are actually protecting them from their own supposed supporters, holding back the rowdy crowd.

This has some chilling implications for the future of Joker and Harley Quinn in Joker: Folie À Deux. The duo may be taking advantage of Fleck’s fervent popularity as the start of a clown-themed movement of reprisal, taking their bid for power through official channels with a political run. This may be possible thanks to signs in the crowd, which seem to imply that Joker has managed to be legally cleared of all wrongdoing or otherwise freed from custody via above-board means.

1. Joker And Harley Will Lead A Jailbreak Freeing Arkham’s Patients

Romantic passion isn’t the only thing burning in the teaser trailer

A split image of Arthur Fleck being shaved in Joker 2, and Fleck at the end of the first Joker is Arkham

Harley’s coy request for her and Joker to “get out of here” may have some sinister implications for Arkham Asylum. During one brief shot in the trailer, we see a rolling ball of fire moving through what appears to be the halls of Arkham Asylum. These images could depict the early stages of a mass breakout, initiated by some grand act of arson by Joker and Harley.

This theory seems to be supported by set photos of Joker: Folie À Deux, in which Arkham Asylum seemed to be burning down. Logic would dictate that the disaster was orchestrated in order to free the restrained psychiatric patients from the custody of the sanitarium, allowing for more of the chaos Joker‘s Gotham has been exposed to ever since Fleck’s actions on Murray’s show. Of all the theories put forward for Joker: Folie À Deux‘s story, it seems quite likely that Arkham won’t be left standing by the time the credits roll.

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