While DC Comics has plans for the future of The Suicide Squad with filmmaker James Gunn, they still have the difficult task of course correcting after the previous film from David Ayer released to mixed reactions from critics and fans. Part of the criticism comes from the involvement of Jared Leto as a very different take on the Joker, the iconic Batman villain and self-proclaimed Crown Prince of Crime. This version included a more "contemporary" take on a Gotham City gangster, though it wasn't exactly a hit among fans. Now Ayer has revealed that a lot of the footage featuring Leto's Joker has never seen the light of day.
While interacting with fans on Twitter, Ayer expressed love for Leto's work as Joker, confirming most of his scenes were left out of the movie.
For sure character creation is a tightrope. I took inspiration from the current DC comics. I find it incredible it’s still such a topic 5 years later. My heart breaks for Jared - he did magnificent work. Most of it remains unseen. https://t.co/IRj7vB1ZjG— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) May 5, 2020
The first Suicide Squad movie put Harley Quinn's relationship with Joker at the forefront, but the followup film Birds of Prey did not feature Leto except in mention of the character. Director Cathy Yan explained why they decided not to feature Leto's character.
"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 told Heroic Hollywood.
Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie explained that there was a chance her next cinematic appearance could have featured Leto's Joker, but that they instead chose to focus on a different kind of story.
"It was either going to be a complete Harley and Joker story or Joker has got to be out of the picture," Robbie told ComicBook.com. "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."
Leto has since been replaced by Joaquin Phoenix for the standalone movie Joker, though there is a chance that Suicide Squad's version could return in some capacity considering the nature of DC's different movies.
The Suicide Squad premieres in theaters on August 6, 2021.