The Joker is back—if he ever left.
Oscar-winner Jared Leto returned to the role for a short appearance in the long-anticipated “Snyder Cut” of 2017’s “Justice League,” which premiered on HBO Max last month. Joker wasn’t in the original movie, or in any of the cut footage that fans had been longing to see since the dismal product hit theaters. Nor did he have much to do with the story. But director Zack Snyder said it would seem “uncool” for the Joker to never show up in his series of Batman films. He’s probably right—the Joker has reached the kind of cultural prominence where his absence would have been noticed.
Ten years ago, after Heath Ledger nailed the role in “The Dark Knight,” fans petitioned that the Clown Prince of Crime be permanently retired from cinema. Since then we’ve had two more—three if you count animated movies, and four if you consider Leto’s return to be a new character.
“I seriously have Joker fatigue,” comics writer Gail Simone said in 2015—and that was several Jokers ago.