One of the many DC characters who’ll be appearing in Zack Snyder’s Justice League who didn’t show up in the theatrical cut is Jared Leto’s Joker. But unlike the others, such as Ray Porter’s Darkseid or Harry Lennix’s Martian Manhunter, the Clown Prince of Crime’s cameo wasn’t planned from the start. Leto was a late addition to the movie, with his scenes being shot last year during a brief bout of reshoots.
So, why was Snyder so determined to get the Suicide Squad star back for his Justice League cut? While speaking to Total Film, the filmmaker explained that he was adamant about it as he worried that this could be the final time Ben Affleck and Leto played their respective versions of Batman and Joker on screen and he didn’t want them to miss the opportunity to come face to face.
“[Adding the Joker] was a thing I had wanted to do,” Snyder said. “Because frankly, the ultimate conflict in a universe where Batman exists is for him to confront Joker. I was afraid that if this was the last Justice League with Ben [Affleck’s Batman] and Jared, it would be remiss if I couldn’t figure out a way for them to come into conflict.”
Snyder went on to elaborate that, seeing as he’d already sown the seeds that the villain was still around in the Darkseid-controlled Knightmare future, first glimpsed in Batman v Superman, it only made sense to factor him into a return trip to this dystopian world in Justice League.
“Also, it was a wish of mine to bring Joker into the continuing storyline. I hinted at it in Batman v Superman – when you see Batman’s gun in the post-apocalyptic world, it has a Joker playing card taped to it. This has a little bit to do with that concept,” Snyder added.
We’ve got a pretty good feel for Joker’s role in JL by this point thanks to various promo images and some footage in the final trailer. Snyder has completely redesigned the character from his SS debut, stripping away his gangster chic clothes, tattoos and grills and turning him into a Brandon Lee in The Crow lookalike in surgical scrubs. With a Jesus-like crown of thorns, for some reason. And he’s already made an impact online, thanks to his instantly iconic quoting of the “we live in a society” meme.
Two weeks from today, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is finally released. Don’t miss it on HBO Max – or on VOD internationally – from Thursday, March 18th.