After years of clamoring — and a mass social media movement — from hardcore Snyder fans, Zack Snyder's original vision for the DC team-up is set to come to life next month when Zack Snyder's Justice League releases on HBO Max.
While a large portion of completing this project has simply been re-editing the footage that was already shot, Snyder had a few extra tricks up his sleeve as he returned to the project. One of these comes in the form of the inclusion of Jared Leto's Suicide Squad version of Joker, who was previously absent from the film but will now be included in a brief appearance.
Leto previously made his debut as Batman's nemesis in the 2016 Suicide Squad movie when he took up a brief role alongside Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. While Ben Affleck made a brief cameo as the Caped Crusader in the movie, there was very little opportunity to explore his Batman's relationship with the Clown Prince of Crime. Easter eggs throughout the universe have made it clear that a deep history exists between the two.
However, as Ben Affleck departed to the role to be replaced by Robert Pattinson in Matt Reeve's The Batman, it seemed as if Leto and Affleck's relationship was doomed to never be explored, until now...
BATMAN AND THE JOKER COLLIDE IN THE DCEU
In an exclusive, Vanity Fair shared a new look at Leto's new Joker look for the film, alongside which Zack Snyder offered details regarding the scene which will show “Joker analyzing Batman about who he is and what he is.”
The scene will offer some much-needed interaction between Ben Affleck's Batman and his arch-nemesis, something which has largely been absent from this interpretation of the character. Snyder said Joker will be "analyzing Batman about who he is and what he is:"
“The cool thing about the scene is that it's Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman. 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.”
Furthermore, Snyder will finally take this opportunity to explain an age-old Batman V Superman Easter egg that teased the death of Robin in this universe, something which has previously never been explored in live-action.
Exploring this loss was seemingly a major part of Snyder's master plan for Batman as his 2016 superhero face-off film showed Robin's armor present in the Bat Cave, graffitied to say “Ha Ha, Joke's on you, Batman.” While a standalone film is unlikely to ever see the light of day, Snyder shed further light on the direction he was planning to take the universe:
“The scene explains why Bruce had the Joker card taped to his gun that you see in Batman v Superman. I'd always wanted to explore the death of Robin. 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.”
It seems Snyder was deeply interested in further exploring the dynamic between the two characters as he planned to show “how they became like this ... how he hurt him in a way that no one has, really. Other than losing his parents, it was probably the most significant personal injury to his life.”
A SECOND CHANCE FOR JARED LETO
Jared Leto's Joker has been given very little opportunity to shine in the DCEU. 2016's Suicide Squad displayed the Joker in controversial a way that has never been seen before, something which led to a lot of backlash from many DC fans. All around, most fans agree David Ayer's attempt at creating a new interpretation of the Joker was sub-par, to say the least, leading most to assume the character would never return again.
The Death of Robin is a fan-favorite character arc for Batman fans. While the film doesn't explicitly confirm as much, it's believed the DCEU's deceased Robin is Jason Todd — who infamously goes on to become the Red Hood years later in the classic comic arc. Even though fans aren't seemingly set to see the live-action take on this arc just yet, it's interesting to see Snyder's vision for the DC world.
The future of the DCEU is unclear, especially with regard to Batman. Despite Robert Pattinson taking up the mantle of the caped crusader in The Batman, set to release in 2022, Ben Affleck's Batman is reported to make an unexpected comeback to the role in the upcoming The Flash movie.
Reports have also suggested Michael Keaton will take up the cowl once again in The Flash — a role he hasn't held since 1992 — with supposed plans to return for more projects in the future.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is set to debut March 18 on HBO Max, with the first full trailer coming next week.