The Hollywood Reporter has reported Jared Leto is set to return as The Clown Prince of Crime for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, while The Cultured Nerd released the announcement of Ben Affleck signing on for future installments as Batman.
Jared Leto is set to reprise his role as the Joker during reshoots for Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The four-part miniseries scheduled to be released early next year on HBO Max. Leto starred in 2016’s Suicide Squad as Joker as a side character hell-bent on retrieving his girlfriend Harley Quinn portrayed by Margot Robbie. Much of Suicide Squad was edited by the direction of the studio (similar to Justice League), cutting a lot of Leto’s scenes as the Joker and reducing his screen time down to ten minutes. It is currently unknown just how large his role will be in Justice League, but will be joining the ensemble of Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher and Amber Heard returning for reshoots. However, since the announcement of the Snyder Cut there has been rumors about the existence of an Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad. The Ayer Cut is said to feature a darker tone and much more screen time for the Joker as the main antagonist for the Squad to face against. It’s unsure Ayer’s version would be able to work within continuity, considering Birds of Prey is a continuation of that film. But if there is a chance we could see that version someday and with this announcement of Leto’s return, who knows what this could mean for his take on the Joker for future DCEU installments.
In other news, The Cultured Nerd covered a story stating that Ben Affleck has signed on to dawn the cape and cowl once again for future films and potentially an HBO Max series. It was announced in August 2020 that Affleck would be reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming film The Flash and is set to appear alongside another Dark Knight with Michael Keaton. However, at the time of that announcement, there was nothing else explaining Affleck’s further involvement with the DCEU. It is now confirmed that Affleck will be returning for an undisclosed number of films and the proposed HBO Max series.
Nothing else has been announced about what their plans as far as a premise goes, but there is countless Batman lore that can be explored from either comics or original content. Matt Reeves’ The Batman is rumored to be an iteration of The Long Halloween, and is still scheduled to be released as a trilogy with Robert Pattinson in the role. But a popular storyline that fans are craving to see is the Under the Hood arc from the comic books. In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a death in the family is hinted at as Bruce solemnly stares at a jokerized Robin suit. Nothing more about this suit has been explored throughout the DCEU, but there is potential in explaining its origins further with more Batman media.
Despite Ben Affleck and Jared Leto’s portrayals being a mixed bag, this is an excellent opportunity to give both of these actors the chance to shine in their roles. Since we have not seen Leto’s Joker as a major antagonist or Affleck in his own film, we would love to see both of these actors take the opportunity to give us definitive performances of these roles and show audiences their version of the Dark Knight and especially Jared Leto as the Clown Prince of Crime.