Back in 2017, the first ever live-action “Justice League” film released, starring an ensemble cast including Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa. After years of speculation and online fan campaigning, DC made the existence of a new cut of the film a reality at their Fandome event, with Zack Snyder returning to shoot new scenes and direct the new cut. Today, it came out that Jared Leto will be returning to reprise his role as Joker, his first real appearance as the character since his introduction in 2016’s “Suicide Squad.”
Zack Snyder was one of the main figures of the DC Extended Universe, having directed both “Man of Steel” as well as “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” so it made sense for him to return to direct DC’s version of Avengers in “Justice League.” Unfortunately, Snyder’s daughter passed away during production, and Snyder had to step away from the project. “Avengers” director Joss Whedon then stepped in to shoot new scenes and oversee post-production.
The theatrical release of “Justice League” was received relatively poorly. Many saw Whedon’s and Snyder’s filmmaking styles as too opposing to make a tonally coherent movie, and the story was generally seen as overly rushed and inconsequential. Many hardcore DC fans believed that Zack Snyder had his own complete cut of the film that would, in theory, be more cohesive that the theatrical cut. Following years of teases from Snyder and the rest of the cast, as well as the announcement at DC Fandome, the HBO Max-exclusive “Snyder Cut” is now filming.
Wednesday morning, The Hollywood Reporter published an exclusive that Jared Leto is set to reprise his role as the Clown Prince of Crime in the film. Leto first appeared in 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” a film that was critically panned but a huge success at the box office. Many saw Leto’s Joker as incredibly edgy and not fitting the character, with the film as a whole having issues with pacing, tone, and the story.
The character was central to the plot of “Birds of Prey,” which was one of the last major film releases early this year before the pandemic forced theaters to close. However, Leto himself never appeared in that film. Last year, Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the character appeared in Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” which found tremendous success at the box office, and won multiple Academy Awards.
While the DCEU got off to a rough start, more recent releases such as “Aquaman,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Birds of Prey” have been received better than early entries into the franchise. Hopefully, this re-release of “Justice League” continues this trend. It’ll be interesting to see how Snyder and Leto work together, and what the finished product looks like.