Why is Jared Leto's Joker getting his own movie?
By Joe Harker
Before we start this piece I'd like to suggest my own name to the folks at DC Comics if they're thinking of aliases The Joker might use.
Anyway, on the subject of the Clown Prince of Crime, he's getting a standalone movie of his own, or four if some reports are to be believed. Desperate to save the ailing DC Cinematic Universe, they have greenlit a whole slew of projects featuring their most iconic villain.
Jared Leto will be reprising his role in the second Suicide Squad movie, a film that took in a lot of money but very little appreciation. Still, money talks so of course they're making another one. While Suicide Squad 2 had been expected to be released in 2018 it hasn't actually gone into production yet so 2019 or 2020 would be the earliest it came out. A standalone Joker movie would likely come out after that, followed by plans for a film with the character and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn.
Another film to add to the mix is an origin movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, with help from Martin Scorsese. This one will be considered outside the canonical events of the DCEU, though if it succeeds it would offer Warner Bros a convenient way to keep using the character if audiences don't take to Jared Leto in future installments.
Part of the problem with Jared Leto getting to star in a Joker movie is that his take on the character is one of the least popular versions ever. One of the main complaints about Suicide Squad was his Joker, putting him front and centre of his own film is unlikely to win over fans and could drive them away from seeing what would likely be an expensive film.
When making a new film the question of who it is actually for is a valid one. Fans didn't like Leto's Joker, so who is the film starring him in the lead role supposed to be for?
Mashable believes the problem with Jared Leto's version of the character was that he tried to be too edgy and too cool. Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance in The Dark Knight was unlikely to be topped and doing a different portrayal was a good idea, but in doing so they created a version that was rejected by audiences. His portrayal came off less like the Joker and more like a vain gangster who was desperately trying to make a clown gimmick work.
This could also be a disastrous business decision from Warner Bros. Suicide Squad brought in a lot of money but that doesn't mean a series of sequels and spin offs will do the same. Many who saw the film didn't like it and may have no interest in going to see another one. If Warner Bros pour money into a multitude of new films starring Leto's Joker then the joke will be on them.