Zack Snyder's Justice League Proves Joker Knows Most Important Batman Secret

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Jared Leto as Joker, Ben Affleck as Batman

It's no secret that Zack Snyder's Justice League lived up to its promise of delivering Snyder's original vision. The four-hour-long version of the film provided fans with a stockpile of DCEU Easter eggs and surprising character debuts while also showcasing thrilling action along the way. 

One of the intriguing (and unexpected) additions to the Snyder Cut is the Joker. Played by Jared Leto, the character was last seen in David Ayer's Suicide Squad back in 2016, and the villain didn't reappear until in the Knightmare timeline of this Justice League

Given that the backstory of the Joker wasn't fully explored in DCEU canon, it gave Snyder a chance to tell parts of his story in his cut of the film. As a result, it led to a huge revelation about the villain's relationship with Batman. 


Joker Justice League
Zack Snyder's Justice League

During Zack Snyder's Justice League, Jared Leto's Joker and Ben Affleck's Batman had an intense confrontation.

The back and forth between the two enemies included several references throughout the storied DCEU history of The Dark Knight such as the death of Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin: 

Joker: "Au contraire, my little fish stick. He knows exactly what it's like to lose someone he loves. You know like, uh, a father, like a mother..."

Batman: "Be very careful with the next thing you say."

Joker: "Like an adopted son. Isn't that right, Batman? Maybe, in a way, that smelly old flounder is right. Because how many can die in your arms before you grow numb to death?"

Batman: "That's not very careful."

Joker: "And how many dead eyes can you look into before you die inside yourself?"

However, the big revelation was during mid-conversation, when it was revealed that Joker knows Batman's secret identity, addressing the hero as Bruce: 

Batman: "I've been dead inside a long time, but even I have a limit. And if you cross that line, I swear to God, I will..."

Joker: "Before what, Bruce? Kill me? You won't kill me. I'm your best friend. Besides, who's gonna give you a reach-around? Anyway, you need me. You need me to help you undo this world you created by letting her die. Poor Lois, how she suffered so. I often wonder how many alternate timelines do you destroy the world because frankly, you don't have the cojones to die yourself. Hmm? So as usual, I'll be the bigger man. A truce, Bruce. As long as you have this card, a truce. But all you have to do is to tear it in half and I'm happy to discuss with you in any way you like, why you sent the Boy Wonder to do a man's job?"

Batman: "You know, it's funny that you would talk about people who died in my arms because when I held Harley Quinn, and she was bleeding and dying, she begged me with her last breath that when I killed you, and make no mistake, I will fucking kill you, that I'd do it slow. I'm gonna honor that promise."

Joker: "Oh, you're good. You almost had me." 


Joker's appearance might be brief, but Snyder made sure that the moment was worthwhile. The face-off was a must-see for DCEU fans, considering that this is the first real confrontation between the two characters in the franchise (the Suicide Squad fight scene doesn't count). 

The fact that Joker knows Bruce Wayne is Batman is a game-changer, even though the world is in shambles already by the time the Clown of Prince gets access to this information. Not much is known when Joker found out this secret, but it's possible that he obtained it after the Earth succumbed to the Anti-Life Equation. Regardless, this tidbit adds another layer of story to the pair's complicated history. 

In a way, this would be a whole different story if Joker found out Batman's identity early on, and could have drastic ramifications towards the life of Bruce and even the League. Despite that, there's evidence from the comics that the Clown Prince of Crime doesn't really care about the alter-ego of his nemesis. 

Multiple comic-book issues like Batman #663 and Secret Files # 3 established the idea that Joker chose to ignore the fact that Batman is simply a man and not a powerful entity. In addition, this was further amplified by Batman # 40 where Bruce told Alfred that he found out Joker broke into the Batcave to uncover the long-kept secret of the Batman, but the villain did nothing as soon as he discovered that a playboy billionaire is Gotham's protector. 

The same could be true for the DCEU's Joker, and there's a chance that the villain is only using this information to play mind games with Bruce, and not ruin the hero. After all, the world is currently in a state of chaos (a place where Joker thrives by the way), and he already has nothing to lose at that point.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max. 

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.