Birds of Prey Director Reveals Why They Didn't Bring Back Jared Leto's Joker

Fans will finally get to see Harley Quinn's next adventure in a week as we gear up for the release of Birds of Prey. And while the film will show what's next for the DC Comics anti-hero after her role in Suicide Squad, it will not feature a major character as Jared Leto's Joker does not show up in the movie. That's not to say that the Clown Prince of Crime doesn't loom large, as his breakup with Harley is what kicks off the events that transpire in Gotham City. But Joker himself, despite being mentioned, doesn't make an appearance.

Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan spoke out about the decision to not include Leto's divisive take on the Batman villain, explaining that including him in any capacity beyond a mention would detract from the main point of Birds of Prey.

"Well for us, I think the movie starts with the breakup and then it's all about Harley and we just wanted to work with that and whatever we needed him to be… just to show that he existed and that there was a breakup, but the focus of the movie is definitely not on the Joker," Yan explained to Heroic Hollywood.

Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie previously spoke with ComicBook.com during a press event where she revealed the plan for the film, which she executive produced, didn't have the room to include Leto's Joker.

"It was either going to be a complete Harley and Joker story or Joker has got to be out of the picture," Robbie said. "I really wanted to see Harley in a girl gang and I felt there was a huge gap in the market for a girl gang ensemble action film. I felt like no one was doing that and I couldn't understand why, especially a comic book movie."

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She added, "From the very beginning it was a conscious choice of they have to be broken up at this stage. I have a whole backstory in my head [of] what's happened between what you saw at the end of Suicide Squad and what you see at the beginning of Birds of Prey."

Fans will get to see just where life without the Joker takes Harley Quinn and her new allies when Birds of Prey premieres in theaters on Friday, February 7th.