Looks like we won’t be seeing Jared Leto in the DCEU any longer. Since the release of Todd Phillips’ Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, there have been a lot of questions surrounding Jared Leto’s version of the Clown Prince of Gotham. Leto’s Joker was introduced into the DCEU in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad to highly polarising responses from fans and critics. Some love his gangster-pimp version of the character, others don’t. Regardless, most would agree that Joker isn’t the reason why Suicide Squad is a ridiculous mess of a film.
Anyway, I’ve received a bunch of text messages over the past couple of weeks by friends wondering if we’ll ever see Jared Leto’s Joker in the DCEU again. At the time, I honestly had no idea. In fact, in May, Jared Leto told Variety that even he isn’t sure if there’s a place for him and his version of the character in the DCEU moving forward. You would think that the casting of Joaquin Phoenix would effectively put an end to Leto’s version of the character. However, Warner Bros and Todd Phillips have said on multiple occasions that Joker [Joaquin Phoenix] is a film that exists outside of the DCEU (basically the Aquaman, Man of Steel, Wonder Woman universe) which means that Joker, as played by Jared Leto, would still be able to live on within the DCEU as long as Warner Bros still has faith in and plans for the character.
Having said that, a new report by The Hollywood Reporter claims that Warner Bros might just be done with Jared Leto’s Joker. Per THR:
At this point, 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.”
Interestingly enough, in the Birds of Prey trailer, we hear Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) talk about how she’s broken up with Joker. This initially led me to believe that Jared Leto’s version of the Joker would appear in the female-centric DCEU film, even if it’s just a cameo. However, in retrospect, the line from Harley Quinn could also be Warner Bros telling us that they’ve broken up with Leto’s character.
After all, the Warner Bros/DC has changed their gameplan in a big way since the days of Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad. James Gunn is brought in to helm the new Suicide Squad movie which will be a soft-reboot of sorts. While the film will still feature some of the same actors reprising their established roles (such as Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jai Courtney as Boomerang), the film itself will reportedly ignore (and possibly de-canonise) David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.