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James Gunn Further Explains Why The Suicide Squad Didn’t Include Jared Leto’s Joker

Jared Leto in Suicide Squad

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The movies are officially back, with studios releasing long-awaited blockbusters this summer for the big screen. One of the most highly anticipated of these projects is James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, with the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker making his DC debut in the R-rated movie. And Gunn recently went into more detail about why the movie didn’t include Jared Leto’s Joker.

The Suicide Squad is an interesting project because its a sequel/reboot to David Ayer’s 2017 original. That movie featured the debut of Jared Leto’s Joker, although much of his footage was left on the cutting room floor. Gunn previously gave one reason why Mr. J wasn’t included in his movie, and he’s expanded his thoughts, saying:

I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation.

Well, that was simple. It looks like Amanda Waller simply wouldn’t have a reason to include Jared Leto’s Joker in the mission for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. And as such, the Clown Prince of Crime was once again left out of a new installment of the DC Extended Universe.

James Gunn’s comments come from an interview with The New York Times ahead of the release of The Suicide Squad. The visionary filmmaker opened up about his career and experience joining the DCEU for the first time. And while Gunn assembled a massive cast of familiar faces to bring his version of Task Force X together, he simply had no use for Jared Leto’s Joker.

As it hits theaters, The Suicide Squad will also be available on HBO Max. You can use this link to sign up (opens in new tab) for the streaming service.

Prior to this new interview, James Gunn cited DC comics for Joker’s absence in The Suicide Squad. Because while Harley has been on Task Force X for years, Batman’s arch nemesis isn’t really a team player. And considering Gunn was putting the movie’s villains into a literal war zone, it didn’t make sense to have Jared Leto back to reprise his role.

As previously mentioned, Jared Leto had a somewhat controversial presence in David Ayer’s original Suicide Squad. Some criticized his performance, although Ayer has been open about how Warner Bros. eviscerated his original vision and cut most of Joker’s scenes. Leto eventually reprised his role for the Snyder Cut’s Knightmare sequence, but hasn’t had a meaty role in a DC movie since.

The Suicide Squad is currently set to arrive in theaters on August 6th. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.