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The Real Reason Jared Leto's Joker Is In The Justice League Snyder Cut

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DC fans are still buzzing about that Joker cameo in the trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League — and for good reason, no one expected Jared Leto to appear in the film. During IGN Fan Fest on February 27, the director revealed how Leto's Joker ended up in the Snyder Cut, and it seems the decision was all about honoring the legacy of Batman and his ultimate archnemesis. (Of course, it also helped that the Joker actor was more than game to film a scene for the movie.)

Throughout the movie's IGN Fan Fest panel, Snyder shared fresh details about what fans can expect when the new Justice League premieres March 18 on HBO Max, including the official running time (the move will clock in at four hours and two minutes). But one of the most interesting tidbits he dropped was that the Joker's cameo wasn't in his original script. Instead, it was added in later as a way to "fulfill the promise of having the Joker in this universe."

"[I] always wanted him to be in the nightmare reality, and so it was a great opportunity," the director said, as reported by IGN. "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."

Joker's inclusion in the Justice League Snyder Cut gave Zack Snyder a chance to bring Batman and the Joker together

In an early February interview with Vanity Fair, Snyder shared that adding Joker into Batman's vision of the Knightmare world from the comics was one of the only things on his wishlist that wasn't already filmed. At this time, the director doesn't have any other films lined up with DC, and he was keenly aware that his Justice League cut was a now or never moment for him to feature the Joker in one of his movies.

Had Snyder made another DC movie, he shared with the magazine that he would have explored the conflict between Batman and the Joker in relation to Robin's death. But since the Snyder Cut looks to be his final foray into the world of DC superheroes, he opted to work the Joker into the Knightmare world scene instead. Ultimately, he's pleased with how things worked out, and he's eager for the fans to see Ben Affleck's Batman and Leto's Joker interact.

"The cool thing about the scene is that it's Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman," Snyder explained to Vanity Fair. "It's Joker analyzing Batman about who he is and what he is. That's the thing I also felt like fans deserved from the DC Universe. That is to say, the Jared Leto Joker and the Ben Affleck Batman, they never really got together. It seemed uncool to me that we would make it all the way through this incarnation of Batman and Joker without seeing them come together."

It would have been uncool indeed. Thankfully, these two fascinating incarnations of the iconic DC characters will finally meet when the Justice League Snyder Cut premieres on HBO Max.