Todd Phillips' Joker, now eyeing the billion-dollar mark as an outright inevitability, has inspired a trove of fan debates about the intended meaning behind certain scenes. Perhaps most notably, many have continued to debate the offscreen fate of Zazie Beetz's character Sophie.
As we all know by now, Sophie isn't seen in the film again following a sequence in which Joaquin Phoenix's character Arthur Fleck exits her apartment after being found inside, signifying to the audience that previous scenes of romance between the two were likely mental fabrications.
Now, per IndieWire, Phillips has stated "definitively" that Sophie was not harmed by Arthur and that she remains alive in the Joker universe.
"He doesn't kill her, definitively," Phillips explained. "As the filmmaker and the writer I am saying he doesn't kill her. We like the idea that it's almost like a litmus test for the audience to say, 'How crazy is he?' Most people that I’ve spoken to think he didn't kill her because they understand the idea that he only kills people that did him wrong. She had nothing to do with it."
Phillips added that most viewers considered Arthur to being acting based on a certain internal code, meaning "of course" he wouldn't kill such a character. Furthermore, Phillips said there was originally a scene written into the script that confirmed Sophie's fate by cutting to a quick shot of her watching Arthur's interview with Robert De Niro's character Murray Franklin on TV.
For more insight on the Joker creative process, catch Joaquin's recent appearance on Rain Phoenix and Summer Phoenix's LaunchLeft podcast below.