James Gunn Explains Why Joker Isn’t In The Suicide Squad

Joker Justice League

Jared Leto’s Joker just made a shock return earlier this year in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which continued on from the reappraisal of Leto’s portrayal of Batman’s nemesis that’s been happening over the past couple of years. Don’t expect this to lead to a return to the Suicide Squad franchise, though. Leto won’t be reprising his role from David Ayer’s 2016 flick in this summer’s The Suicide Squad.

While speaking to The New York Times, writer/director James Gunn explained why Joker is a no-show. Gunn was pretty up front about his feelings, making plain that he just wasn’t interested in using the character and felt he had no place in the war movie vibe he was going for.

“I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad,” Gunn said. “He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation. I wanted to create what I thought of as the Suicide Squad. For me to react to David’s movie would make it the shadow of David’s movie. I wanted it to be its own thing completely.”  

That’s a fair explanation from Gunn. Part of the reason why Joker had such a short amount of screentime in Ayer’s film was that it made no sense to put him on the team so he was left skirting around the edges of the movie. Fans wanting to see more of the Clown Prince only served to distract from the squad themselves, so removing Joker from the equation entirely is no doubt a smart move.

The fact that Gunn elected to go for obscure characters in his sequel also likely had something to do with it. This time around, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is joined by the likes of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone). What with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, Gunn has a knack for making audiences care for characters they might not have heard of before, so working with a universally known icon like the Joker wouldn’t have really fit his MO.

Don’t miss The Suicide Squad when it hits theaters and HBO Max from August 6th in the US.