Suicide Squad was no one’s favourite movie. Despite a rockin’ trailer, the film opened to overwhelmingly negative reviews. I myself couldn’t even finish the film, despite initially being excited to see the ensemble piece starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto as the Joker. But the film made a killing at the box office thanks to its impressive marketing campaign that showcased style over substance. Now, one of the most divisive and unusual aspects of that film is getting his own standalone film.
Deadline confirms that Jared Leto is getting set to star and executive produce his own Joker spinoff film. This comes months after the reveal that The Hangover and War Dogs director Todd Phillips would be directing a Joker origin film produced by Martin Scorsese. That film is still going to happen – at least at this point in time, but will not be a part of the DCEU, the cinematic universe where Wonder Woman and the upcoming Aquaman are located. A lead for that version is yet to be announced but Joaquin Phoenix and Leonardo DiCaprio are being considered.
Leto’s Joker was met with heavy criticism in Suicide Squad. Perhaps fans were comparing him to Heath Ledger’s portrayal too much, but there’s no doubt that Leto’s performance was definitely unusual. He was notorious for trolling his fellow cast members and remained in character for the duration of the entire shoot, which is an unusual thing to do considering his role was ultimately cut down to around 8 minutes of screen time. What was left was a Joker who was very fond of purring, grunting and acting very cartoony. Couple that with his unorthodox design, which featured numerous on the nose tattoos such as the “damaged” one plastered across his forehead and his grilled teeth and you get a character that was written to stir the pot.
Now, the DCEU isn’t in the best of shapes after the misfires that were Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League. Making a Leto Joker film doesn’t seem like the right move to inspire confidence. Margot Robbie’s Birds of Prey film recently landed Cathy Yan as a director and her performance in Suicide Squad was at least given some praise, so focusing on her character makes sense from a creative and marketing point of view. But this move screams Jared Leto wanting another shot at redemption. The actor was reportedly upset that his role was so heavily reduced and suddenly, a new movie is announced where he’s not only the lead but the executive producer does seem a little fishy.
But that’s Hollywood for ya. If you like the Harley and Joker from Suicide Squad, you’ll have Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad 2, a revealed but not confirmed Joker/Harley love story film and maybe Gotham City Sirens, assuming Birds of Prey hasn’t taken over that production. That’s potentially quite a lot of Joker and Harley Quinn to look forward to in the next few years but it screams oversaturation of the characters to me. Which Joker film are you most excited for? Personally, the non-DCEU one has my interest as it steps away from the DCEU. While we await more Joker news, check out our up to date Westworld timeline and where we think God of War should go next.