After much speculation from fans on how he was going to look, our first glimpse at Jared Leto’s reimagined Joker in Zack Snyder’s Justice League was finally unveiled today. Gone is the supervillain’s gangster chic style and tattoos, and now he looks like a serial killer from a horror movie, with long dark hair and a blackened mouth, dressed in surgical scrubs. So, that’s how he’ll appear in the director’s cut, but how about how he’ll actually fit into the plot?
Snyder has opened up to Vanity Fair on just this topic. The filmmaker confirmed that the Joker will show up in the Knightmare timeline – a vision of a dystopian future ruled over by Darkseid that Bruce Wayne first witnessed in Batman v Superman. He also revealed that Joker’s cameo serves a purpose in digging into the Dark Knight’s psyche as well as operating as a bit of fan service, finally giving us the Ben Affleck/Leto face-off we’ve been craving.
“The cool thing about the scene is that it’s Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman,” Snyder said. “It’s Joker analyzing Batman about who he is and what he is. That’s the thing I also felt like fans deserved from the DC Universe. That is to say, the Jared Leto Joker and the Ben Affleck Batman, they never really got together. It seemed uncool to me that we would make it all the way through this incarnation of Batman and Joker without seeing them come together.”
Leto’s cameo wasn’t originally part of Justice League but was shot specifically for this HBO Max edition, as Snyder was adamant on grasping his opportunity to work with the Clown Prince of Crime while he could. And if a sequel does end up happening, the director would include flashbacks to the day Joker killed Robin, something referenced in BvS.
“I’d always wanted to explore the death of Robin,” he said. “And if there ever was going to be a next movie, which, of course, there probably won’t be, I wanted to do a thing where in flashbacks we learn how Robin died, how Joker killed him and burned down Wayne Manor, and that whole thing that happened between he and Bruce.”
All of that won’t be touched on in JL, but Snyder revealed that one minor mystery from the earlier film will be cleared up. “The scene explains why Bruce had the Joker card taped to his gun that you see in Batman v Superman,” he teased. When asked how the maniac’s look has changed so drastically – including how he got his tattoos removed in a post-apocalyptic wasteland – Snyder admitted he didn’t have an answer, responding:
“I don’t know if he’s wearing makeup, I don’t know what’s happening. It’s hard to say exactly.”
Despite all the fanfare, Joker’s return won’t take up too much screen time in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but it’s still one of the most anticipated elements of the director’s cut. Don’t miss the four-hour epic when it hits HBO Max on March 18th.