The Joker movie is now out, and the wave of controversy it surfed to release day shows little signs of rolling back anytime soon. There are still any DC fans who don't even think that Joker is a movie that ever needed to be made, and at least one DC movie star seems to agree with them. As detailed in a new report, Jared Leto - the previous actor to play Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad movie - was left feeling some kind of way when he first found out that Joker was headed for production.
THR has a whole breakdown on Joker's path through production - specifically the early stages when the film was still in the hands of Martin Scorsese. The report chronicles how Scorsese nearly directed Joker, but ultimately moved on without influencing the film. However, as part of that breakdown, we also get this very revelatory tidbit:
"Tsujihara greenlit Joker, which cost less than $70 million, leaving Jared Leto — who played Joker in Suicide Squad — alienated and upset by the move."
This shouldn't be surprising to anyone - but this is the first time we've really heard any official reporting on Leto having a problem with Joker. While two different actors can conceivably play the same character at the same time in different projects, Leto actually had a continuing future as Joker (or "Mr. J") ahead of him. Last year this time it was announced that Leto was going to star in his own Joker standalone film, which would have served as a Suicide Squad spinoff. However, that future was ultimately paved over to make way for Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker standalone origin film; by the start of 2019, both Leto's Joker movie and a Harley Quinn & Joker film (that would've re-teamed Leto with Margot Robbie's Harley) were both cut from Warner Bros. slate of DC projects.
Leto has been pretty nonchalant about returning to the role of Joker, since Joaquin Phoenix stepped into it. He's indicated that he doesn't see a return happening ("I don’t think so. You’d have to ask them"), but has also left the door open for the possibility ("I would definitely play the Joker again. It all depends on the script and the circumstances as it always does."). However, the DCEU franchise that launched Leto's Joker is still rolling on with the Birds of Prey spinoff in 2020 and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad in 2021 - an so far, neither project has indicated a return appearance from Leto's Joker.
....To be fair, a lot of Batman fans would likely be happy if the "Damaged" version of Joker never shows up again.
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, 2020.