Zack Snyder's Justice League has released a new image of Jared Leto's Joker - and it is a provocative one, to say the least. The new image depicts Leto's "Knightmare" Joker in the pose of Jesus Christ, complete with a crown of thorns around his head. If David Ayer depicting Jared Leto's Joker as a nightclub gangster was controversial, this new image is about to make DC fans (and religious types) collective heads explode. Still, Zack Snyder is known for infusing heavy biblical themes and imagery into his DC movies - and Leto is infamous for stirring the pot with his Joker, so really, this new image makes so much sense, on so many levels.
It's hard to know if this picture (via Vanity Fair) will be an actual scene in Zack Snyder's Justice League, or if this is just part of the same photo session that Leto had with Snyder, to help promo Justice League's release on HBO Max next month. Previous photos from the presumably same set have shown Leto's Joker holding up a Joker card with his face blurred in the background; a close-up of Joker's face in the middle of some speech; and the companion photo to the one above, which depicts Joker in this surgeon or butcher's gown, sitting in this corner of some bunker.
Snyder has already explained just how Jared Leto's Joker fits into his cut of Justice League: As a "world-weary" version of the villain, still on the loose in the hellish world that Darkseid creates on Earth. Odes to famous Batman stories like White Knight see Joker sporting some GCPD tactical gear, and he and Batman are due for a conversation about what morality means in this new Knightmare context:
"The cool thing about the scene is that it's Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman," Snyder told Vanity Fair. "It's Joker analyzing Batman about who he is and what he is... "[I] felt like fans deserved [this] from the DC Universe. That is to say, the Jared Leto Joker and the Ben Affleck Batman, they never really got together. It seemed uncool to me that we would make it all the way through this incarnation of Batman and Joker without seeing them come together."
Needless to say, fans are plenty hyped to see this scene of Zack Snyder's Justice League play out - if only to see what might've been. At one point Affleck and Leto were set for an Oscar-worthy clash in Affleck's Batman movie franchise, but that ship has seemingly long since sailed.
...Perhaps unless DC fans make Zack Snyder's Justice League a big enough success?
Zack Snyder's Justice League streams on HBO Max starting March 18th.