Looks like the joke is on us. In news that almost no one is going to be excited about, THR is reporting that Jared Leto is returning to the role of the Joker for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a four-part series/film/thing coming to HBO Max that is supposed to be the director’s original vision for the film. Leto, much to the derision of everyone, played the Joker in the 2016 film Suicide Squad.
Despite Snyder originally implying that his “definitive” cut of the film could be put together with little extra work, the movie seems to be going through pretty considerable shooting with Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, Amber Heard, and possibly other cast members returning to shoot extra content. That now includes Jared Leto, which raises the question of just how much new content is in there. The film does have Darkseid in some capacity, and Snyder has said that both Flash and Cyborg’s storylines will be fleshed out. But those could seemingly fit into the theatrical cut’s story. The Joker was not a piece of the original film at all, though Affleck’s Batman did cameo in Suicide Squad.
The real question is of why this is happening at all. While Jared Leto’s Joker was obviously tied to the same DCEU universe that Snyder was building before leaving the franchise, bringing Leto back seems like a mistake after the almost universal disdain that his interpretation received. Zack Snyder’s Justice League, however, is not part of the DCEU — though it could be part of DC’s multiverse — so maybe this is just a last hurrah for a character that Snyder liked.
Stunt casting seems to be a bit of a trend for superhero movies right now. There are rumors that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield may return for Spider-Man 3, and DC has brought back Michael Keaton for The Flash.