Zack Snyder Explains Why Batman Needed Joker In Justice League's Knightmare Sequence

When Zack Snyder got the opportunity to return to his Justice League and complete the four-hour Snyder Cut of the abandoned movie, he received closure on a number of dangling story threads. But in the process of finishing the movie, he also embarked on a few reshoots that he wanted to be set in the “Knightmare” version of Earth that had been teased in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This brutal, scorched-Earth reality would have happened after Superman (Henry Cavill) broke from reality and went “evil,” siding with Darkseid and blaming Batman (Ben Affleck) for the death of Lois Lane (Amy Adams). But there was a line of dialogue in the reshoots that I thought was important, so when given the opportunity, I asked Snyder about it. 

Zack Snyder screened the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman in Pasadena as part of SnyderCon, and asked me to moderate the Q-and-A that followed the screening. When answering a fan question about the circumstances that led to the death of Ben Affleck’s Robin, whom we never saw on screen, Snyder elaborated on the motivations of The Joker (Jared Leto) to hurt Batman in one of the last ways he knows how. He brutally beat and burned Robin until the young man died. 

This is a storyline that Snyder says he still wants to explore on screen. And with Joker on the mind, I brought up a story beat in the Justice League reshoots, where Jared Leto’s Joker taunts Affleck’s Batman by saying “you need me” to complete an important mission and undo the universe that came out of Batman letting Lois die. When asked why Batman would ever NEED The Joker in this Knightmare scenario, Snyder explained:

Our theory is that he’s the one who knows where the Kryptonite, what shards of Kryptonite exist. He has that information. And so he’s being carried… he has basically made a deal with Batman. Don’t kill me, and I’ll show you, I’ll get you a tool to fight Superman. And so (Batman’s) kind of stuck with him, in that way. If he kills him, or gets rid of him, then he’s screwed himself.

That’s a classic give-and-take often explored between hero and villain, where they are forced to set aside their divisions for the benefit of the greater good. The Joker even gives Bruce a Joker card as a sign of their truce. You can watch the scene now:

As for the death of Robin, which leads to so much of the contention between Batman and Joker in that above scene, Snyder gave a few more details in his planned sequence, but actually stopped short of giving away too many specifics, as he said it’s a story he still hopes to tell on screen one day. But he did admit:

At that point, (Batman’s) real vulnerability was Robin. What’s obvious is that The Joker understood that. And all I’ll say is that – I think I’ve talked about this a little bit. Clearly, he blew him up. Or it looks like he burned/scorched him. I think beyond that, I really don’t want to say the actual circumstances because I feel like it’s a spoiler for maybe a thing that may never be spoiled. We should wait to see, don’t you think? A little bit.

There you have it, SnyderVerse fans. Hope. Zack Snyder isn’t ready to reveal details, because he thinks he might one day get to tell the story of what happened between Jared Leto’s Joker, and an uncast Robin. Maybe on Netflix? Time will tell.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.