When Warner Bros announced they would be making a standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jared Leto wasn’t happy about it, and now he’s noticeably absent from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad cast.
So, what’s going on with Leto’s Joker and why isn’t he involved in The Suicide Squad?
It turns out, the answer is pretty simple, according to Gunn.
Speaking in an Instagram Story Q&A, one fan asked Gunn how he could justify not having the Joker in his Suicide Squad movie, the director didn’t directly say the character wouldn’t be in the film, but said the Joker isn’t part of the Suicide Squad comics to begin with.
He said, “No one but me and a few others know all the characters in the movie, but if the Joker isn’t in the film, I don’t think it would be strange as he isn’t a part of the Suicide Squad in the comics.”
The only reason the Joker was in David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad was to explain Harley Quinn’s origin story and to add some conflict. He’s a supporting character who isn’t part of the Squad.
We’ve had no indication about whether or not Leto will make a cameo or surprise appearance in the film. Harley will be a key character in The Suicide Squad and it’s entirely possible the Joker could be written out of Harley’s story in Birds of Prey.
But is Gunn telling the truth? Could there be a bigger reason for not wanting to work with Leto on The Suicide Squad?
In May, 2018 Gunn responded to a tweet written by Dylan Sprouse about Leto with some serious allegations:
It’s important to also note that there haven’t been any police reports filed against Leto in regards to these allegations.
According to ScreenGeek, in 2012, Gunn also tweeted, “Driving home from Vegas trading stories about what a dick Jared Leto is.”
So, it doesn’t seem as though the director is a huge fan of Leto and perhaps he didn’t want to work with the actor – or perhaps Leto didn’t want to work with him after finding out about the tweets.
Whatever the case may be, THR is also reporting that Leto won’t be returning as the Joker in any capacity and their reasoning is due to his frustration over Todd Phillips’ Joker film. However, at this stage, it’s simply a rumour and has yet to be confirmed.
Apparently, Leto thought Warner Bros was stringing him along with promises of his own Joker stand-alone film, only to go ahead with Phillips’ version instead (which isn’t part of the DCEU like his character is).
The publication also reports that the studio wasn’t all that impressed with the pranks Leto pulled on his co-stars in order to get into character, like sending a live rat to Margot Robbie, bullets to Will Smith and a dead pig to the cast and crew during rehearsal.
David Ayer only used 10 minutes of Leto’s performance in Suicide Squad, which likely angered Leto further.
So, it’s possible Leto might not have chosen to come back for another round as the Joker, or Gunn perhaps simply chose not to write him into the script because he’s clearly not a fan?