The success of Joker has had the presumably unintentional side-effect of reducing the appeal of Jared Leto’s take on the character. Leto, who hasn’t been the most popular incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime since debuting in 2016’s Suicide Squad, was reportedly not happy that Joaquin Phoenix was also cast in the role. With appearances in Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad already seeming unlikely, it’s now understood that he probably won’t return to the franchise.
The Hollywood Reporter is suggesting that Leto is almost certainly finished being the DCEU’s Joker, despite being enthusiastic about his future in the role earlier this year. In an article published earlier today, the outlet wrote:
“Sources say Leto’s days as the Joker likely are over. He will not reprise the role for Warners’ upcoming DC movies Birds of Prey (a spinoff centered on Robbie’s Harley Quinn) or in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, due out in 2021. Says one person involved in the situation: “How do you play the Joker you established following [Phoenix]? It kind of ends his Joker run.”
Leto apparently expressed his disappointment to Warner Bros. executives during the production of Joker, even reportedly trying to stop the film from being made. Obviously, that didn’t work and now, it seems like he’s on his way out of the DCEU.
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At the moment, it’s unclear whether we’ll get a new version of the Joker to take on Robert Pattinson’s Batman, or if Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck will be brought back for more films. Joker was set up as a standalone picture, but its box office success and positive reviews for Phoenix’s performance means that the idea of a sequel hasn’t been ruled out.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Mr. J can’t put in some kind of cameo in Birds of Prey or The Suicide Squad, as we’ve heard from our sources that he’ll be in the former film via a stand-in. Given everything that’s going on with Joker and Leto’s public comments about his relationship to the part though, we think it’s probably best for there to be a clean break between the actor and Warner Bros.
Jared Leto isn’t leaving comic book movies altogether, though, as he’s been cast as Morbius for Sony’s Marvel movies. For now, however, it’s appearing increasingly likely that we’ve seen the last of his Joker in the DCEU.