Snyder teased Leto’s appearance in a tweet earlier this month. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported more details on just how the Clown Prince of Crime will fit into the greater Justice League mythos. The iconic character was not originally part of Justice League, but Snyder told Vanity Fair, “It was always my intention to bring Joker into that world.”
Snyder wanted to fold Joker into a later project, he said, but that never manifested. But with the four-hour-long Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Snyder gets a chance to put his spin on the villain.
[Ed. Note: This post contains slight spoilers for the Snyder Cut of Justice League.]
Unlike Leto’s character in Suicide Squad — shirtless, with provocative tattoos and slicked back green hair — this Joker dons a hospital gown and surgical mask, seemingly an escapee of an asylum. He appears in a dream sequence to Ben Affleck’s Batman, revealing the blasted and apocalyptic Earth that will come about if the heroes fail.
“The cool thing about the scene is that it’s Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman,” Snyder told Vanity Fair. “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.”
Snyder had hinted at Batman and Joker’s connection in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but never got a chance to explore it. He told Vanity Fair that he envisioned telling the story of how Joker murdered Robin, which cements the deep-seated vengeance Batman has for the villain. That dark tale never panned out cinematically, but the dream sequence will give the fans what they want out of a Batman-Joker connection in Snyder’s corner of the DC Extended Universe.
The Snyder Cut of Justice League will hit HBO Max on March 18.