Zack Snyder Explains Why Jared Leto's Joker Is In His Justice League Movie

Why is Joker in Batman's Knightmare? Justice League director Zack Snyder explains.

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One of the most surprising revelations about Zack Snyder's director's cut of Justice League is that the film will feature the return of the Joker, as portrayed by Jared Leto--who reprises his role from the Suicide Squad movie. The addition raises so many questions about the new version of the film and what it could mean for the future. Thankfully, Snyder gave some context during IGN's Fan Fest. The director also shared a new clip of the movie and revealed that multiple versions of the film will be released--some potentially in theaters.

As seen in a trailer for Justice League, Joker appears in Batman's Knightmare vision of a post-apocalyptic world that was first seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. How that fits into this movie and whether it's actually a version of the future or merely a dream remains to be seen, though it could have something to do with the cliffhanger that will end the Snyder Cut. Regardless, that setting was too tempting for Snyder to not include Joker.

"You'd always wanted [Joker] to be in the Knightmare reality," he explained. "And so it was a great opportunity. And when I talked to Jared and he was interested in doing it, I just felt like, 'Okay, this feels like a thing. I can't pass up.'"

As for Joker's new look in the film, Snyder elaborated on the makeover. "What inspired the look was, you know, the sort of post-apocalyptic world that I'm a huge fan," he said. What's more, this version of Joker--and the Knightmare sequence as a whole--could have eventually fed into future movies.

"The idea was that as the movies progressed, the next movie--if there ever was one and it doesn't seem like there ever will be--but if there was, it would exist primarily in that world with them trying to set it right," he explained. "We played around with a lot of different things. I did a bunch of drawings and we pulled a bunch of different costumes and tried a bunch of different looks. Jared had a bunch of great ideas and we all kind of mashed that together and sort of settled on this cool version of Joker."

It's worth noting that while Snyder did collaborate with Leto on Joker's appearance in Justice League, he did not consult with Suicide Squad writer and director David Ayer. Instead, Snyder said he looked to the film itself, as well as the images released to support it--including advertising. "I was inspired a lot by that imagery," he said.

Zack Snyder's Justice League launches March 18 on HBO Max.

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