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What Happened To The Joker's Face Tattoos In The Justice League Snyder Cut?

If you've seen images from Zack Snyder's Justice League, you're probably wondering why the face tattoos famously sported by Jared Leto's Joker in the David Ayer film Suicide Squad (2016) are missing. As Vanity Fair notes, two exclusive images show Snyder's interpretation of the Joker as hauntingly white-faced and scarred, rather than in your face with a bevy of facial tattoos, and there are several reasons why there's such a marked difference between the twin portrayals of the same character.

First of all, the only reason we're seeing a new rendition of Justice League is that Snyder, who was originally chosen to direct the comic book juggernaut, left the project because of a family tragedy. To keep things rolling, Joss Whedon finished directing the movie, but he took things in a very different direction than Snyder had planned, and CinemaBlend notes that Whedon's final version was widely panned by fans and critics alike. Also, Jared Leto's Joker didn't even appear in Whedon's film, so it's not like Snyder had to retcon too much. When HBO Max asked Snyder to complete his vision of Justice League, a now-four-hour version lovingly called the "Snyder Cut," the returning director decided to take his own crack at salvaging Leto's much-maligned version of the Clown Prince of Crime.

As more films inspired by Batman and the broader world of DC Comics are made, each director should have the opportunity to realize their own unique vision of the characters. So Snyder's tattoo-less version of the character isn't entirely surprising, but it is intriguing.

The Joker's face tattoos are absent in Zack Snyder's Justice League

Another reason Jared Leto's memorable face tattoos are missing in the Snyder Cut of Justice League is that his character provides more of a mental motivation rather than a physical threat. According to Vanity Fair, Snyder's version of the Joker appears in a dreamlike, post-apocalyptic vision to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) as he warns the superhero about what will happen should the band of heroes fail to stop the alien villain Darkseid (Ray Porter). It's this haunting, white-faced version of Leto's character that Snyder envisions Batman, who has a long history with the Joker, carries with him.

Also, the inclusion of the Joker in Justice League wasn't something Snyder had originally planned. As Winter Is Coming notes, Jared Leto's Joker hadn't had a major interaction with Ben Affleck's Batman yet, so it's not a shock that his character has a new, unique look for their first major meeting. The decision to include Leto's character was only made when Snyder had the greenlight from HBO Max to pursue a full vision. That more or less gave him carte blanche to reimagine the character for Leto free from all the Suicide Squad baggage.

Ultimately, why the Joker's face tattoos are absent in Zack Snyder's Justice League is still something of a mystery, as Snyder told Vanity Fair, "I would say that there's been some water under the bridge. Who knows what's happened. I don't know if he's wearing makeup, I don't know what's happening. It's hard to say exactly."

Zack Snyder's Justice League premieres on HBO Max on March 18, at which point we'll hopefully find out if Darkseid sprung for Joker's laser tattoo removal treatments.