James Gunn Has A Very Good Reason For Not Including The Joker

Several members of the cast from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad won’t be back for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, but none has attracted more commentary than The Joker (Jared Leto), who wasn’t in Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, but who reappeared in a scene from Zack Snyder’s Justice League. When the film was first in production, little was known about the cast, but there had been reports that Leto was done as The Joker for some time. Most fans also assumed that he would not appear in a film directed by Gunn, who had previously put him on blast publicly for alleged improper behavior.

It has been confirmed for some time that The Joker would not appear in The Suicide Squad, and Gunn has addressed the issue in the past. He doubled down in a new profile in The New York Times.

“Joker, no. I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation. Will — I really wanted to work with Idris. It is a multi-protagonist film. We go off for a while with Margot, and Daniela [Melchior, who plays Ratcatcher 2] is the heart of the film in a lot of ways. But if there’s one protagonist, it’s Idris. And I wanted somebody who had that gruff, “Unforgiven”-type feeling about him. This guy who had been reduced from being a bigshot supervillain — he took Superman out of the sky — who is now scraping gum off the floor at the beginning of the movie. He absolutely doesn’t want any part of it — he just has accepted this is his life. And I just think that character is Idris Elba.”

In The Suicide Squad, welcome to hell — a.k.a. Bell Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out — even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.

The Suicide Squad will see the return of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang from 2016’s Suicide Squad. Joining them in the film are David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Steve Agee as King Shark, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Flula Borg as Javelin, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, Michael Rooker as Savant, Alice Braga as Sol Soria, and Sean Gunn as Weasel.

The Suicide Squad will be in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6.

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