Despite both characters appearing in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Batman and Joker haven’t shared the screen together in any significant way in live-action since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Zack Snyder’s Justice League aims to rectify that, uniting Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jared Leto’s Joker for a sequence created specifically for the long-awaited release of The Snyder Cut.
As Zack Snyder explained during his panel appearance at Saturday’s IGN Fan Fest 2021, his film’s Batman-Joker sequence gives fans of the DCEU the match-up they’ve long craved but also allowed the director a chance to put his stamp on the meaning of this iconic hero-villain relationship.
Snyder previously revealed that Jared Leto’s Joker appears during the Knightmare sequence of Justice League, a postapocalyptic future Batman envisions where the superheroes failed to stop Darkseid from conquering the world. The scene will see Leto’s Joker speaking directly to Batman, where he offering his analysis of his longtime nemesis.
Recalling how he brought back a few cast members -- including Affleck and Cyborg actor Ray Fisher -- for this “little bit of additional photography,” Snyder opened up to IGN about the “important matchup” of the Caped Crusader and Clown Prince in his film.
“It really defines, in my mind, the mythological heart of the conflict that both of them share is their relationship,” Snyder said of his film’s depiction. “I think without a scene where they get to air their dirty laundry about each other, I felt like we were getting shortchanged as fans of the DC Universe. That was the hope, that we would get to see them come together but also, in particular, reflecting on each other and their struggle with each other and the why a little bit, so that was really fun for me.”Snyder circled back to the subject later, revealing he “always wanted (Joker) to be in the Knightmare reality, and so it was a great opportunity. When I talked to Jared and he was interested in doing it, I just felt like, okay, this feels like a thing I can't pass up.”
If Snyder had been able to make a follow-up to Justice League -- a possibility he conceded seems unlikely -- the movie would have been set “primarily in that [Knightmare] world with them trying to set it right.”
Jared Leto, of course, previously played Joker in director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, appearing with a far different (and controversial) look than he sports in The Snyder Cut. Snyder admitted he didn’t consult Ayer about the Joker’s new look here and also played coy about what happened to all of Joker’s notorious tattoos seen in Ayer’s film.
“When you look at him closely, he's wearing a lot of makeup, maybe it's covering them. Maybe he had them removed somehow, maybe something happened to him. I'm not 100% sure,” Snyder said. Of the process for his Joker redesign, Snyder said: “I did a bunch of drawings. We pulled a bunch of different costumes and tried a bunch of different looks. Jared had a bunch of great ideas, and we all mashed that together and settled on this cool version of Joker. Now, as far as David goes, I did not consult with him but I did look at all of the reference [material] and … I was inspired a lot by that imagery.”
One character whose look didn’t change for The Snyder Cut was Ben Affleck’s Batman. Until his casting in the upcoming Flash movie was revealed last year, it appeared Affleck’s days as the Dark Knight were behind him and that Batman’s film future belonged to Robert Pattinson. So seeing Affleck -- who Snyder cast in his 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice -- suit up once more as the hero of Gotham City moved Snyder.