According to Zack Snyder himself, Jared Leto’s Joker was never a part of the plan for the original Justice League shoot. It’s been around three years since the theatrical release of Justice League, a far contrast to Snyder’s original vision for the film. The now famous Snyder Cut movement finally paid off earlier this year when news came out Zack Snyder’s Justice League would release as a four-part miniseries on HBO Max in 2021. The Snyder Cut will restore elements that were removed from the theatrical version, such as Superman’s black suit and Darkseid. However, thanks to the project’s additional photography, the new version of Justice League will also add Leto’s Joker.
Leto famously played the Clown Prince of Gotham in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad in 2016, but much like Justice League, that DCEU project was heavily altered from what the director originally envisioned. This affected Leto’s character, as Ayer has revealed a lot of Joker’s scenes were not included and so the reaction to his portrayal was quite divisive. Many believed Leto’s time as Joker was over, but thanks to a cold call from Snyder, Leto agreed to reprise his role for the Snyder Cut of Justice League. However, the director has now revealed Leto was not part of his original shoot.
In an in-depth interview with TheFilmJunkee, Snyder discussed various topics related to the upcoming Justice League, such as how Leto’s Joker came to be involved. When asked if Leto was in the plans for the initial principal photography of Justice League, Snyder revealed “he wasn’t” and that it’s an idea he has “boiled on” in the years since:
No. No, he wasn’t. There was a few things that I had thought about doing that I had thought about grabbing in post. There was a number of things I had drawn – a couple of them, I wasn’t able to do, but it’s fine. I’m completely satisfied. But this was one of the things that in the years since I’ve kind of boiled on and kind of said, like, this would be a cool thing to do. I’ll be honest, I never thought the opportunity would come, and thanks to the fans, of course, and this whole journey, it’s happened, which is insane.
It sounds like this idea for Leto’s Joker has always been on Snyder’s mind. Thanks to the benefit of time and the reported $70 million investment from Warner Bros. for the Justice League Snyder Cut, he was finally able to pull the trigger on the idea. Joker’s involvement has certainly heightened the anticipation for what already felt like a massive event, so fans will likely have high expectations for whatever Joker’s role is in Snyder’s series.
Snyder teased Leto’s Joker will have a different look and that he’s a “road-weary Joker.” He also said viewers could see a possible Joker and Batman team-up. Interestingly, Snyder revealed his cut is only adding five minutes of screentime to its four-hour runtime, so it will be interesting to see how long Leto will actually be in the new Justice League, especially with this reveal he was never intended to be there in the first place. A new trailer for Snyder’s Justice League will release this coming week, and it’s possible fans could see a glimpse of Joker, despite the fact he was not a part of Justice League’s original shoot.