Batman’s most infamous villain the Joker is returning in Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” more widely known as the Snyder Cut. Sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that Jared Leto will reprise his “Suicide Squad”-iteration of the Joker in Snyder’s reshot production. Leto’s villain was not featured in the 2017 theatrical cut of “Justice League.” THR adds: “Shooting is currently underway with Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, and Amber Heard among those involved on top of Leto. It is unclear which other actors are involved.”
WarnerMedia announced in May it was moving forward with the Snyder Cut and giving Zack Snyder the chance to make his version of “Justice League.” Snyder left the comic book tentpole in post-production due to a family tragedy, leaving Warner Bros. to bring in Joss Whedon to complete the project and oversee reshoots. Whedon’s theatrical cut was panned by critics and overhauled Snyder’s darker take on the material with more humor and a lighter tone.
Completing the Snyder Cut is no small endeavor as the majority of the footage Snyder shot for his version of “Justice League” was scrapped before VFX was completed. HBO Max boss Bob Greenblatt said in May that WarnerMedia was preparing to spend over $30 million to complete Snyder’s version of “Justice League.” Leto’s hiring confirms that brand new scenes are being filmed for the project as the Joker never showed up in the theatrical cut.
Leto made his Joker debut in David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad,” itself a Warner Bros. comic book tentpole that was panned by critics. The Joker only appeared briefly in “Suicide Squad,” and Ayer has said that a lot of Leto’s scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Ayer has been campaigning on social media for Warner Bros. to allow him to make an Ayer cut of “Suicide Squad,” although the studio has not yet given the director the greenlight.
During the making of “Suicide Squad,” Leto made headlines for staying in character as the Joker and pulling heinous pranks on his co-stars. To the surprise of some, Leto’s Joker did not appear with much screentime in the film, and his take on the Clown Prince of Crime did not receive the critical accolades that Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger earned for their Joker turns in Tim Burton’s “Batman” and Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” respectively. Leto’s Joker was followed by Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in “Joker,” which won Phoenix the Oscar for Best Actor.
According to THR, original producers Jon Berg and Geoff Johns are in the midst of removing their names from the Snyder Cut. Both producers were Warner Bros. executives at the time of the theatrical release but have since left the studio and are not involved in the Snyder Cut. Berg and Johns have been accused by “Justice League” star Ray Fisher of condoning abusive behavior on set by Whedon. Sources tell THR that removing their producer credits “also pays respect to Snyder’s creative vision and the additional photography shoot.”