James Gunn Reveals Why Jared Leto’s Joker Isn’t In ‘The Suicide Squad’

Jared Leto's Joker first and seemingly only appearance in the DCEU was David Ayer's Suicide Squad.

James Gunn Jared Leto Joker Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad writer and director James Gunn has revealed why Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t show up in his film.

Whether you liked it or not, Jared Leto’s Joker was a core part of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Looming over the entire Squad, Leto’s Joker received mixed responses from critics and audiences. Some found his character to be juvenile and annoying, while others praised the updated gangster take on the iconic Batman villain. After the film received middling reception, Leto’s Joker was sidelined in favor of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who received unanimous praise. And so, Joker and Harley Quinn’s relationship was severed in Birds of Prey, and the Clown Prince of Crime isn’t set to appear in James Gunn’s upcoming Suicide Squad sequel.

It’s no surprise that many associate Harley Quinn with Joker and vice versa — both characters are inherently intertwined. But since the debut of Jared Leto’s Joker, the DC Extended Universe has shied away from the character, doubling down on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. It’s a bit surprising that the Batman villain won’t be appearing in The Suicide Squad considering he was an integral part of the first film, but James Gunn says that bringing the character back would tie him down. In an interview with The New York Times, Gunn discussed how there was no reason to bring Leto’s Joker back as he would just tie down his vision.

“I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation. I wanted to create what I thought of as the Suicide Squad. For me to react to David’s movie would make it the shadow of David’s movie. I wanted it to be its own thing completely.”

“When Warner Bros. said they wanted me to do this, I watched the first movie for the first time, and I called them back and said, what do I have to keep from this movie? And they said, nothing. They said, listen, we would love it if Margot’s in the movie but she doesn’t have to be. You could come up with all new characters or you could keep all the same characters.”

Are you disappointed that Jared Leto’s Joker won’t be appearing in The Suicide Squad? Comment below and let us know!

You can check out the synopsis for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad below:

Welcome to hell—a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out—even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave…and Amanda Waller’s government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement. And as always, one wrong move and they’re dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone’s laying down bets, the smart money is against them—all of them.

Written and directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad stars David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Jai Courtney, Joaquín Cosío, Nathan Fillion, Joel Kinnaman, Mayling Ng, Flula Borg, Sean Gunn, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Pete Davidson, Taika Waititi, Alice Braga, Steve Agee, Tinashe Kajese, Daniela Melchior, Peter Capaldi, Julio Ruiz, Jennifer Holland, Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, and Michael Rooker.

The Suicide Squad is currently scheduled to hit theaters and HBO Max on August 6, 2021. Stay tuned for all the latest news on The Suicide Squad and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content!