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Answering The Big Questions About Jared Leto's Solo Joker Movie

Does It Connect To Suicide Squad 2?

Despite the fact that the Joker was a surprisingly minor presence in Suicide Squad, it's been confirmed Leto will be returning for the sequel. That movie ended with Joker busting Harley out of prison, so if he's playing a role in the film, it's probably not as a member of Task Force X himself. Perhaps the sequel's producers will end up doing what many people thought was going to happen with the first film and make Joker the Squad's primary antagonist - with a deeply conflicted Harley by his side.

Suicide Squad 2 has been in development much longer than this proposed Joker film, so the events of the former would likely inform the latter. We still don't know enough about Suicide Squad 2 to say for sure, but if Harley ultimately sided with Deadshot and friends over the Joker, that would leave an opening for a truly unhinged, Harley-less Joker romp.

Related: Suicide Squad 2: Every Update You Need To Know

Is He The Hero, Villain, Or Anti-Hero?

Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad

The notion of the Joker starring in his own movie is jarring for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the most obvious is that he's an absolutely remorseless monster. He's one of fictions greatest villains, but that doesn't necessarily make him a prime candidate to be the protagonist of a movie. Indeed, part of the Joker's dark charm is that he's inherently unknowable, more a violent force of nature than a fully realized human being. Maybe the Scorsese-produced version will be enough of a reimagining to play outside of those parameters, but we've seen enough of Leto's Joker to know he's the traditional, soulless ghoul iteration.

So how do you make a movie that revolves around that guy? One way would be to pit him against a character so overwhelming evil and destructive that he ends up as a reluctant hero out of self-interest. It would also be possible to lean into the fact that past iterations of the character have shown an ability to "evolve" into wildly different personalities, some of them bordering on innocuous, if not exactly heroic. Among the many obstacles this movie faces, perhaps its greatest is making the Joker a functional protagonist that audiences would want to root for, and would require some seriously impressive trickery by the writers to make work.

Does This Mean The Batman Won't Use Him?

Matt Reeves Ben Affleck Batman

Of the DCEU films that are almost certainly going to get made, the biggest question mark is The Batman. After the Caped Crusader's decidedly mixed reception in Batman V Superman and Justice League, no one is quite sure what we're going to get with Matt Reeves' solo film. The writer/director has said that while the film will take place within the DCEU, it will be largely unconnected from the other DCEU films. Batman V Superman and Justice League happen on such a massive, superpowered scale that to mostly ignore them makes a certain amount of sense for what will likely be a grittier, street level film, but Suicide Squad invokes so much of Batman's world that it would be close to impossible to not touch on it, certainly not if it intends to use the Joker.

Related: What's Going On With Ben Affleck's Batman?

But so far there have been no indications that the Joker will play a role in Reeves' film. To be fair, there are no indications of anyone playing any role in The Batman yet - not even Ben Affleck. But even the rumor mill suggests the likes of the Penguin and the Riddler are more likely than the Joker. It's possible Leto's interpretation of the character simply doesn't fit with what Reeves has planned, as he's described his desire to tell a smaller scale, neo-noir detective story. A Joker solo movie could be something of a consolation prize, or maybe he's simply being saved for a sequel down the road, but a Joker who never has a proper face off with Batman would be a very strange development.

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There are some genuinely important questions to be asked about this movie, and many of them ask the same fundamental question: Why does this exist? It's entirely possible Warner Bros. really does think this version of the character is strong enough to carry his own film. Leto is certainly a talented enough actor to make it work if he's surrounded with the right creative team. And yet there's the inescapable feeling that this exists because Warner Bros. aren't exactly sure what to do with the character, so they're trying a dozen different things and seeing which one sticks. Of all the options on the table, a Joker solo film is probably the riskiest, and if it's going to work, Warner Bros. will have to get it exactly right.

More: The Batman: Every Update You Need to Know

Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
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