James Gunn recently revealed the huge ensemble cast of The Suicide Squad, and despite previously refusing to confirm whether the movie was a sequel or reboot, a look at the two dozen names involved makes it seem like a little bit of both. Only Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman and Jai Courtney are returning from the first movie alongside one of the most bizarre-looking acting rosters ever assembled that also includes Idris Elba, Peter Capaldi, John Cena, Pete Davidson and Taika Waititi.
The most glaring omission is obviously Jared Leto, whose interpretation of the Joker was the most controversial and talked-about aspect of Suicide Squad. One of the first major announcements surrounding the follow-up was the news that Will Smith wouldn’t be returning as Deadshot, but there’d been constant speculation surrounding Leto’s involvement, with the actor himself even admitting he wouldn’t be against the idea.
Soon after Gunn’s big reveal hit the internet, fans took to social media to voice their opinions on the lack of Jared Leto. Most were furious that the Academy Award-winning actor wouldn’t be involved, but others didn’t seem too concerned at all about the Joker not being part of the movie.
Leto isn’t in the next suicide squad movie? Smmfh
— John Wayne (@readytodie___) September 13, 2019
What’s happening with Jared Leto?
— MysteryGuest (@MysteryGuest18) September 13, 2019
No Jared Leto? Nope.
— Omar Little (@LoloNefertiti) September 13, 2019
— đari0_ (@dxr10_) September 13, 2019
Who’s playing the Joker? No Joker is a no go for me.
— 아빠, 젠장 (@MrsFkdUp) September 13, 2019
(scanning with increased desperation for jared leto) https://t.co/Ty25j8dHsM
— Jingleghost (@JeremyMonjo) September 13, 2019
Where's Jared Leto?
— Ken Adams (@KenAdam86776811) September 13, 2019
Ticks me off how they misused Jared Leto and then continue on with the franchise as if he didn't pour his soul and heart into his character. That's Hollywood for you, though. Gotta love them politics. ? #LostInHollywood https://t.co/jUmU6M3CYf
— Gabby (@gbluebelle) September 13, 2019
Can’t wait for Jared Leto‘s to send used condoms to all these people https://t.co/MwmCtSRPtg
— Rhys Speight (@RhysSpeight) September 13, 2019
While I am firmly against Leto getting work or paid, I am ALSO in favor of having the opening 90 seconds of The Suicide Squad being his Joker's death.
— Katharine Trendacosta (@k_trendacosta) September 13, 2019
Warner Bros: We're gonna re-do it, and call it "The Suicide Squad"
Will Smith and Jared Leto: pic.twitter.com/Ujm0hcTJMZ
— Brandon Davis (@BrandonDavisBD) September 13, 2019
There could be several reasons why Leto wasn’t asked to reprise his role as the Clown Prince of Crime. Most obvious is how his performance in Suicide Squad divided opinion, along with frequent reports that his on-set behavior veered wildly from full-blown method acting to more than a little creepy. Not to mention the fact that Joaquin Phoenix is currently earning rave reviews for playing the character in Todd Phillips’ Joker, and having two Jokers at the same time could create something of a headache for the studio.
Perhaps James Gunn had no interest whatsoever in wanting Leto to be part of the project though, having been publicly critical about his reputation in the past. Either way, the involvement of the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker and the list of names involved should ensure that The Suicide Squad marks a huge improvement upon its predecessor.