Joker is in theaters now and crushing it in the early going as audiences can't seem to get enough of Joaquin Phoenix's version of the character. The previous man to don the facepaint probably feels a bit left out, but one fan decided to imagine what could have been. Jared Leto played The Clown Prince of Crime in Suicide Squad, but when it came time for a Joker solo movie, he was left waiting by the phone.
Reddit posted an image from Will Grey who pondered if some of the more widely criticized elements of Leto's Joker were holding the character back. He edited out all the tattoos and the grill from an image of the character. The design is at once a bit more inviting while retaining that sinister edge. If Joker could have been a little less out there, then maybe he could have made it into Batman v. Superman or this next Suicide Squad movie instead of being quickly replaced.
Leto has been a bit disappointed since Joker was announced to be headed for production. A large oral history about the production revealed how the actor took to the initial news. The report says, "Tsujihara greenlit Joker, which cost less than $70 million, leaving Jared Leto — who played Joker in Suicide Squad — alienated and upset by the move."
News like that shouldn't come as a surprise as anyone would be a little salty about being replaced so quickly. At one point there was actually a Joker film planned starring Leto, but the studio actually pivoted to making the current one helmed by Todd Phillips and starring Phoenix. That move was just the tip of the iceberg as Warner Bros. decided to put a proposed Joker and Harley Quinn movie (featuring a returning Margot Robbie) on ice.
The actor says that he would still be open to returning to the role while also admitting that it is a bit of a longshot at the moment. An extra layer of sadness is present when you consider that both The Suicide Squad, a redress of 2016's effort, and Harley Quinn's solo movie are on deck for the studio with no plans announced to have Leto's Joker appear. All of that, and then this Joker movie comes along to clean up at the box office. So, fans and the actor are left wondering what could have been. Even though some are overjoyed that he won't be making a return, you can't help but think about it.
Joker is now in theaters. Upcoming DC Movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 20.