James Gunn Explains Why The Suicide Squad Doesn’t Need Jared Leto’s Joker

Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

As of now, the future of the Joker in the DCEU feels veiled in messy clown makeup. Warner Bros certainly found success with Todd Phillips’ dramatic character study starring Joaquin Phoenix, but it was never meant to connect to the larger universe based on DC Comics being built on the big screen. Harley Quinn will be emancipated from her once-boyfriend in Birds of Prey, and it doesn’t seem likely the Clown Prince of Crime is returning for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.

Welp… this is awkward for Jared Leto. The actor apparently hasn’t been happy about the disregard for his version of the character. And fans of the stylish and tattooed Joker were disappointed to see that the huge cast list for The Suicide Squad did not include Leto. Here’s what Gunn says about the villainous clown in the midst of filming:

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.

James Gunn posted this on his Instagram story during a Q&A where one fan asked him how he can justify having a Suicide Squad movie without Joker. Now, Gunn didn’t come out and say Joker will not be appearing in his upcoming take on the DC property, but he did aptly point out Joker isn’t part of the Suicide Squad comics to begin with.

Joker only became associated with the team of villians in David Ayer’s 2016 flick to explain the origin story of Harley Quinn and to add to the conflict of the story. He was a supporting character who didn’t actually hang out with the gang. So Gunn is absolutely right! There’s certainly no need to inject Jared Leto’s Joker into his Suicide Squad movie.

It’s still possible Jared Leto's Joker could cameo or make a surprise appearance! We know Harley Quinn will be a key player in the movie, but it seems as though Birds of Prey could write him out of her story and make him irrelevant as she learns to fly solo and with the other birds. So heading into The Suicide Squad following her “emancipation,” it seems unlikely Leto’s Joker will come into play.

And let's not forget about all the big stars being introduced in James Gunn’s DC movie. His recently released official cast list included 24 talented actors, including John Cena, Nathan Fillion, Sean Gunn, Pete Davidson, Taika Waititi and Idris Elba. Audiences might forget who Joker is considering all these names and potentially exciting characters coming to the film. Plus, along with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, we also have the return of Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller.

Considering the love for Joaquin Phoenix’s highly-praised performance in Joker that's been circulating, fans may think differently about seeing Jared Leto’s Joker returning as well.

What do you think? Would you be excited to see Jared Leto’s Clown Prince of Crime show up in The Suicide Squad coming on August 6, 2021? Sound off in the comments below!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.