A Joker deleted scene confirms that Sophie Dumond survived her encounter with Arthur Fleck unharmed. Sophie’s fate has been one of the biggest questions coming out of Joker, with fans discussing whether or not the lead character killed the woman he imagined to be his girlfriend. Todd Phillips, the film’s director, has gone on record about what happens to Sophie. In a new interview, he sheds light on a deleted scene that would have placed any debate to rest.
Early on in Joker, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is having a particularly rough day when he shares a moment with Sophie (Zazie Beetz). Riding in the same elevator, the two neighbors seem to form a connection. They go on a date, which puts Arthur in a rare good mood, and Sophie is by his side during difficult moments. Except, as the audience learns near the end of the movie, Sophie never saw Arthur after that elevator ride. Their entire relationship had been a figment of his imagination. This is particularly unsettling, given how Arthur shows up unannounced at her apartment. The tension, to the audience, and to her Sophie herself, comes from whether or not Arthur would do something unthinkable. The camera cuts away, showing Arthur storming out of the apartment, without a definitive answer.
In an interview with IndieWire, Phillips responded to the lingering uncertainty regarding Sophie. “As the filmmaker and the writer I am saying he doesn’t kill her.” Phillips declared, putting at least one topic of debate about Joker to rest. He also revealed that a deleted scene would have shown Sophie watching Arthur’s interview with Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro) play out on television. Given that the interview takes place days after Arthur surprised Sophie in her apartment, this means that Beetz’s character did not meet an untimely end.
As for why he cut the scene, Phillips explained his view of not wanting to take the focus away from Arthur’s perspective during those crucial moments with Franklin. Given that Arthur ultimately shoots and kills Murray, the decision to leave out Sophie makes sense. Murray’s death is ugly and utterly senseless. It would have been distracting, perhaps, from a narrative standpoint, to overtly show that there are people Arthur won’t kill. As Arthur suggests, in a scene where he spares the life of a coworker, he remembers those who are kind to him and treats them accordingly.
Although keeping the scene in the movie would have answered one question, it would have raised others. But Sophie’s now confirmed survival means the character could return for any potential Joker sequel. In her limited time on screen, Beetz leaves a strongly positive impression. Perhaps that could be expanded upon in future appearances.
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