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The Joker has always been an integral character to the DC Comics universe, primarily by serving as Batman's arch-nemesis. But DC and Warner Bros are planning to kick up the Clown Prince of Crime's exposure up a couple notches. In addition to Jared Leto's Joker returning for more DC Extended Universe installments, it was reported last week that an origin story centered on the super villain is in the works that won't be connected to the DCEU canon. The news of this standalone movie has been met with mixed reactions, and now it appears that we can count Leto among the group who isn't pleased with its existence.
In its report about how the Joker origin story movie is eyeing Leonardo DiCaprio and other A-list actors to play the grinning maniac, THR mentioned that Jared Leto was "caught off guard" by the plans to give audiences a different version of The Joker while his iteration is still wreaking havoc in the DCEU. Leto has reportedly expressed his displeasure to his agents at CAA, and rival agency WWE has used this opportunity to try and court the actor. So far this Joker movie is the only project that's currently slated for the new DC films banner that will consist of one-off, standalone stories that will be separate from shared universe that began in 2013 with Man of Steel.
It's certainly understandable why Jared Leto would find himself concerned with Warner Bros putting a new big screen Joker project into the works when it's only been a little over a year since he debuted as the Clown Prince of Crime in Suicide Squad. Whether you approved of his Joker performance or are one of its detractors, the man was selected to succeed Heath Ledger as the next movie Joker, so to find out that someone else is being brought in to play a different version of the green-haired, white-skinned criminal at the same time is surely disconcerting. However, Leto needs to keep in mind that this Joker origin story isn't expected to interfere with his work in the DCEU. If certain reports are accurate, Leto's Joker will appear in Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens and a Joker/Harley Quinn movie (not necessarily in that order), so he needn't worry about this particular development affecting his DC future. We also can't discount that Matt Reeves might find a way to fit Leto's Joker into The Batman.
As for this Joker origin story movie, there are few details available. The Hangover's Todd Phillips will work with 8 Mile's Scott Silver on writing the story, and a deal is being drafted to have Martin Scorsese produce. The story will reportedly be a "gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film" set in early 1980s Gotham City, and it's also been rumored that we'll see the villain as a child dealing with being bullied because of his permanent smile.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest on what's happening with The Joker in a theatrical setting, be it this origin story or Jared Leto's future appearances as the mirth-obsessed psychopath in the DCEU.