James Gunn blockbuster The Suicide Squad has only the loosest of connections with its similarly titled 2016 predecessor, but the return of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn led some to wonder if Jared Leto’s Joker could also reprise his role.
Fans were divided on Leto’s initial performance as the iconic comic book villain, but opinion seemed to sway slightly in his favour recently after a brief reprisal in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Some have also called for him to get his fair shot, following claims from director David Ayer that his film was fundamentally changed in the editing process, with many scenes featuring the Joker left on the cutting room floor.
Nevertheless, after taking the reins on the Suicide Squad franchise, Gunn opted not to bring Leto’s Joker back into the fray even for a cameo, explaining his decision in a recent interview with the New York Times.
“I wanted it to be its own thing completely,” he said. “When Warner Bros. said they wanted me to do this, I watched the first movie for the first time, and I called them back and said, ‘What do I have to keep from this movie?’ And they said, ‘Nothing.’
“They said, ‘Listen, we would love it if Margot’s in the movie but she doesn’t have to be. You could come up with all new characters or you could keep all the same characters.’”
The publication pressed Gunn on whether the Joker featured in any early draft of his Suicide Squad story, but again, he confirmed that the Clown Prince of Crime was never in contention for a role.
“Joker, no,” he responded. “I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation.”
At this stage, it’s unclear if Leto’s Joker will ever make a return to the big screen, with the actor recently jumping ship to Sony’s Marvel Universe for the upcoming Morbius.
Meanwhile, it appears that Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the character will become Warner Bros’ most prominent, with rumours of Joker 2 continuing to gain traction.
Want more film content? Read our breakdown of The Suicide Squad’s post-credits scene, find out where The Suicide Squad was filmed with our location guide or for more details on the action read our The Suicide Squad review.