Zack Snyder says it was "important for fans" to see the DCEU Batman (Ben Affleck) and Joker (Jared Leto) collide in Zack Snyder's Justice League, where Leto reprises his role for the first time since 2016's Suicide Squad. When revealing the first look at a world-weary and reimagined Joker from an apocalyptic possible future — the Knightmare sequence first glimpsed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Snyder described the meeting as a scene about "Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman," where the psychopath psychoanalyzes the Dark Knight "about who he is and what he is."
"Part of the reason I really wanted to do the scene was because I felt like this universe, it was important to me that Batman and Joker have a scene together," Snyder said on I Minutemen, adding the Batman versus Joker conflict is "central to the universe."
"And it seemed odd to me, or a shame [we haven't seen them together]. And frankly, it was a conflict that I had planned for, the Knightmare sequence," Snyder added. "I was excited to get the opportunity to do it, to have a little taste of it. So I thought it was important for fans to see their Batman and this cinematic universe's Joker come into some small conflict. Yeah, they have a little bit of history (laughs)."
Batman and Joker almost crossed paths in the David Ayer-directed Suicide Squad, which sees Joker escape justice when a high-speed car chase ends with Batman apprehending Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), an accomplice to the murder of Robin.
"In my mind, it was that Robin had died 10 years earlier, during some run-in with a young Joker," Snyder said in a 2016 interview about the defaced Robin costume that appears as a haunting reminder in Batman v Superman. "So there was a fun backstory there to play with. I felt like the whole idea was that there had been loss and there had been sacrifice. In a weird way, [Bruce Wayne] had sacrificed everything to be Batman. He doesn't really have a life outside the cave. I thought that including Robin, a dead Robin, was helping us understand that he's been on quite a little journey."
Snyder recently revealed he's "talked quite a bit" with DC chief creative officer Jim Lee about a Justice League comic book delving into the backstory of the Knightmare as studio Warner Bros. is, according to the filmmaker, not interested in a Snyder-directed Justice League 2 with a larger role for Darkseid (Ray Porter).
"The world has fallen [to Darkseid], and it's the ragtag team that's left alive, to try and put it back," Snyder said in December about his potential Knightmare comic book. "Inside of that story, we would also do the backstory of Joker killing Robin ... Because the Joker is somehow involved in the stealing of the Mother Box and using it to create the [cosmic] treadmill."
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, Ray Porter, Joe Manganiello, and Jared Leto, Zack Snyder's Justice League releases March 18 on HBO Max.