Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Zack Snyder Finally Reveals Joker's Deleted 'We Live In A Society' Scene

If you click a link and buy a product or service from a merchant, we may be paid an affiliate commission.

Back in February, when HBO Max was promoting Zack Snyder's Justice League, it released a trailer for the upcoming film that ended with that now-famous scene from the Knightmare ending at the tail of the movie's four-hour runtime, in which the Joker says, "We live in a society where honor is a distant memory." Now, this line didn't actually make it into the film, despite its much-vaunted length. However, in a tweet on April 2, Snyder revealed this deleted scene and its context, giving it a second life through a short black-and-white clip.

During an intense moment between Ben Affleck's Batman and Jared Leto's Joker, Batman says that Harley Quinn died in his arms, making him promise to kill the Joker slowly. "I'm gonna honor that promise," he says, taking a Joker card from his nemesis and saying it might be useful. The Joker responds with the line in question. He also adds, "Who do you think screamed the loudest, the girl, or the boy?"

Now, this brings up a bit of uncertainty. It appears as though Snyder here meant to reference Robin, who was killed by the Joker prior to the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Harley. But, given the Knightmare scenario, he could also have been referring to Lois Lane or Batgirl.

The background of that significant line

Some fans think the "we live in a society" line is pretty perfect and bemoan its absence from the film, but it has possibly already played a role in the success of Zack Snyder's Justice League. Its presence in the trailer may have heightened excitement around the film, providing a peek at the complicated dynamic between the Caped Crusader and the nuanced villain and drawing people to the film when it debuted on HBO Max last month. 

The line itself has an interesting background. For one thing, it wasn't scripted. Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter that he wrote the scene while in quarantine at home, but that line wasn't in it. And then, he had to bring Leto back to film the Knightmare ending as the Joker. "We went back and forth a bit, and I'll give Jared credit for that little ad-lib there, because it was really, really beautiful," Snyder said to The Hollywood Reporter of the line. Apparently, Affleck and Leto filmed separately due to scheduling issues, so they weren't actually together in the scene.

To give the line even more weight, it's actually a reference to a long-standing absurdist meme that was originally intended to be a statement about the flaws and contradictions in society but got turned into a piece of parody that instead poked fun at the enlightened nature of ... itself. The "we live in a society" meme depends on the image of the Joker as a representation of mental illness, his outsider status, and their effects on the cultural conversation. Basically, if you don't get it, don't worry about it. You're not supposed to. In an odd way, its exclusivity is part of the point. The fact that the meme got included in Snyder's film, Happy magazine posits, "really proves the growing influence of meme culture and the power of virality" — which, interestingly, not only plays into how the Snyder cut got made but how fans are hoping to #restorethesnyderverse. In a way, its inclusion brings the DCEU experience full circle.