Jared Leto's Joker Confirmed Not to Appear in Birds of Prey

Amid all of the success of Warner Bros. Pictures latest R-rated comic book movie focusing on Batman's greatest, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the actor who previously portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime. Sure, Joaquin Phoenix is earning a lot of buzz and there's a good chance he could be nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Joker, many people are left wondering: what about Jared Leto? The actor played the Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad and there were rumblings that he would appear in multiple films in the future, but now it's looking like that era is over.

While Joker is a standalone movie, and DC Comics and Warner Bros. have followed up Suicide Squad with a sequel/reboot as well as a Harley Quinn movie with Birds of Prey, there are no plans for Leto's reappearance as the character.

According to the new report from the Hollywood Reporter, Leto will not be appearing in Birds of Prey, even in a cameo capacity. This is somewhat surprising as Harley Quinn's storyline involves her going solo after living in Joker's shadow, seemingly breaking off her relationship with the villain, in order to strike out on her own.

But this is probably also for the best from a narrative standpoint, as including Joker in any capacity could either overshadow the film's storyline or even distract from it.

Leto's appearance as Joker in Suicide Squad elicited a mixed response from fans and critics, as he was depicted more as an aloof urban crime lord and less like the character that's been depicted in countless comics, cartoons, and movies over the years. Covered in tattoos and wearing gold teeth, it was very different from what people have come to expect from the character.

After Phoenix's Joker movie was announced, the report from THR states that Leto attempted to stop the film from taking place. But while that film moved forward and the studio has distanced itself from Leto's portrayal of the character more and more, sources indicate that Leto's time is likely over.

"How do you play the Joker you established following [Phoenix]? It kind of ends his Joker run.”

One fan accused Suicide Squad director David Ayer of not liking Leto's portrayal, prompting him to refute that narrative.

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"This is inaccurate information," Ayer wrote on social media. "Not my words or actions."

Joker is now playing in theaters. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is set to premiere on February 7, 2020.