In the past two decades, we have had two iconic, Oscar-winning live-action versions of Batman's arch-nemesis Joker. And then there is the third portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime by Jared Leto in Suicide Squad, which received mixed reviews, to say the least. In an interview with Variety, Leto spoke about returning as the Joker in the upcoming Zack Snyder's Justice League, admitting that despite how Suicide Squad turned out, he has a hard time turning down a comeback as the psychotic clown.
"It's hard to say no to that character. It's like [Leto's character] Albert Sparma in The Little Things. There are very few characters that you play that have absolutely no rules, you know, that you could just go to town. It's so much fun, that energy. I had a lot of fun with that character."
There was a time when Leto was poised to be the DCEU's definitive Joker. Before Suicide Squad released, Leto was already lined up for a spinoff movie focussing on himself and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. But then Suicide Squad released, and was panned by critics, and Leto's Joker had to bear the major brunt of the online mockery regarding his appearance and performance.
Not only was the spinoff Joker and Harley movie starring Jared Leto canceled, but Warner greenlit Todd Phillips' Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix instead. The massive success of Joker could well have been the final nail in the coffin for Leto's role in the DCEU if Zack Snyder had not reached out to him to talk about including his Joker in the upcoming Zack Snyder's Justice League. According to Snyder, his take on the story of Leto's Joker will be set in the days after Darkseid's invasion of Earth, where the Clown Prince of Crime will play a more helpful role than usual.
"I said to [DC Comics publisher Jim Lee], you know, we were just kicking it around, being like dorks, "You know what would be cool, I would love to do, say you're in the post-apocalyptic world and Darkseid-the world has fallen, and there's the ragatag team that's left alive to try and put it back, that inside of that story, we would also do the backstory of Joker killing Robin." That would be the thing that-because, the Joker is somehow involved in the stealing of the Mother Box and using it to create the treadmill [that Flash uses to go back in time to warn Bruce about Darkseid]. Because, in my mind, Cyborg was always going to do the math and figure out, "This is what we gotta do to go back in time to warn Bruce correctly."
Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. Zack Snyder's Justice League will premiere exclusively on HBO Max in March 2021. This is originally a story that appeared in Variety.