I’ve always felt Jared Leto’s Joker got a bad rap. Sure, he’s not a patch on either Heath Ledger or Joaquin Phoenix, but I enjoyed his scummy, tasteless art gangster take on the role. As such, it was disappointing that we never got to see him properly interact with Ben Affleck’s Batman. After all, the two characters clearly shared an extensive offscreen past, as proven by the defaced Robin costume in the Batcave and Joker’s super shiny metal grill being the result of the Dark Knight knocking his teeth out. But next month, the iconic pair will finally be brought together in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
It’s notable that Snyder has gone out of his way to include Leto’s Joker, shooting new scenes for this cut. And from what we know so far, their encounter will come during a foray into the desolate and apocalyptic Knightmare future where it seems as if an unlikely alliance has formed between the two. In a recent interview with I Minutemen, Snyder opened up on why this moment was so important to get right, and said the following:
“It was important to me that Batman and Joker have a scene together. Let’s be honest, Batman/Joker are kind of the – that conflict is central to the universe. Frankly, it was a conflict that I had planned for the Knightmare sequence. And so, you know [I] was excited to like, get the opportunity to do it, to have a little taste [of] that. So, I thought it was important for fans to see their Batman and this cinematic universe’s Joker coming to some small conflict.”
The director had originally planned to explore Batman’s relationship with the Joker in the cancelled Justice League sequels, specifically getting into the tragic backstory of the DCEU’s Robin. That’s (probably) now not happening, so here’s hoping this scene will flesh out their dark history. If nothing else, it’ll be strange to see the Dark Knight and the Joker forced onto the same side by Darkseid, especially if (as appears to be the case) Bats is going so far as to break Mr. J out of prison.
All these mysteries and more will be revealed next month in a gargantuan superhero event that’s sure to dominate movie news for a while to come yet. Personally, I’m setting aside an evening to get through this 214-minute behemoth and am optimistic that it’ll be a real good time. At the very least, it’ll be a feast after the COVID-19-induced drought of new comic book movies.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League premieres on HBO Max on March 18th.