Director Zack Snyder reveals a bit of backstory for Jared Leto’s Joker in Justice League, saying the Clown Prince of Crime helps steal a Mother Box.

In the backstory of Zack Snyder’s Justice League narrative, Jared Leto’s Joker stole a Mother Box to create a cosmic treadmill the Flash uses to travel back in time. The DCEU’s Clown Prince of Crime will make his return to the franchise, albeit in an unconventional way, via the upcoming HBO Max project, marking the actor’s first reprisal of the role since his introduction in Suicide Squad.

After more than two years of relentless campaigning from the Release the Snyder Cut movement, the much-clamored-for version of Justice League is finally seeing the light of day. It will feature the original story intended for the project by Snyder which was watered down in the theatrical cut after Joss Whedon took over reshoots and assembled the movie’s final form. Aside from realizing his narrative, however, Snyder added an extra element in the four-part Justice League mini-series with the inclusion of Joker.

Speaking with TheFilmJunkee on YouTube, Snyder first revealed that he was thinking of creating a comic book that would feature Ben Affleck’s Batman and Leto’s Joker as Justice League accompanying material. He then continued by saying that the Clown Prince of Crime is actually integral in securing a Mother Box that allows the Flash to travel back in time using the cosmic treadmill.

I don’t think anything’s going to happen right away, but Jim and I talked quite a bit about doing a book or a comic book down the road to kind of finish this. If it’s a thing that would be interesting to the fandom they could always ask Jim about it. [Laughs] I absolutely would love to do a comic book. I said to [Jim], you know, we were just kicking it around, being like dorks, “You know what would be cool, I would love to do, say you’re in the post-apocalyptic world and Darkseid—the world has fallen, and there’s the ragatag team that’s left alive to try and put it back, that inside of that story, we would also do the backstory of Joker killing Robin.” That would be the thing that—because, the Joker is somehow involved in the stealing of the Mother Box and using it to create the treadmill. Because, in my mind, Cyborg was always going to do the math and figure out, “This is what we gotta do to go back in time to warn Bruce correctly.” But I always thought that the conflict that was happening there was Bruce reliving the events—the death of Robin and what went into that. I was like, “That would be a fun comic book, even just the death of Robin. A nice little one-off.”

This explains why the Knightmare scene in the Justice League trailer features a Joker Easter egg. When the promotional video was released, Leto’s involvement was still unknown, with fans merely chalking it up to Snyder wanting to lean on the interconnectivity in the DCEU. Not long after that, however, it was eventually revealed that Leto is returning to reprise his role. Since then, Snyder has dropped bits and pieces of information about how he fits into his Justice League narrative. At one point, he floated the idea that Batman teams up with the Joker, although this is the first time that he went into details about his full involvement in the reformatted movie. It doesn’t seem like we’ll see Joker pull off a Mother Box heist in the Snyder Cut, but it’s still a cool part of his backstory.

Joker’s return to the DCEU is one of the most-anticipated elements of the upcoming HBO Max project as it’s totally unexpected. Had Snyder’s vision been realized on the big screen in 2017, this wouldn’t have happened as this creative decision was made possible for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the extended Justice League run time gave Snyder the opportunity to explore this idea which otherwise would’ve been too tangential for a feature film. Secondly, the additional funding the project got allowed them to reshoot certain scenes and include Leto’s involvement. It’s safe to expect that Joker won’t be that prominent in the project, but perhaps it paves the way for him to properly return to the DCEU moving forward.

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