One of the most amazing scenes in Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut nearly didn’t happen.
The director opened up on how the cameo of Jared Leto as the Joker wasn’t supposed to be filmed due to Warner Bros’s edict not to film any new footage.
The Joker’s role
The Joker’s appearance in Justice League the Snyder Cut comes during the “Knightmare” sequence where Darkseid has conquered Earth.
Roaming this ruined world, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) find the Joker with Batman naturally wary of trusting his archenemy but needs all the help he can get against Superman warped to Darkseid’s side.
The entire scene was meant to be part of Snyder’s long-range plans for a trilogy that would involve the Flash going back in time to stop this dark future from happening.
Speaking to Cinemablend, Snyder related that Warner Bros didn’t want him shooting new footage for his cut despite how fans had wanted such additions.
“The studio didn’t want me to shoot anything. One of the rules of making the Snyder cut was that the studio said no shooting of any kind. And then I, of course, shot stuff anyway because suddenly, ‘Wait, there’s rules now on the Snyder cut? That seems unfair. Snyder cut, but some caveats?’ And frankly, there are those caveats because there was a lot of things, and I won’t list them here, that the studio did not want me to have in my version of the movie.”
Due to the restrictions because of the pandemic, none of the actors ever shared the same set filming this short scene.
The Grey cut
Notably, the scene does not have the Joker uttering, “we live in a society.” The popular meme was showcased in the trailer for the Snyder Cut, and it turned out to have been ad-libbed on set by Leto.
But HBO Max has confirmed a special black-and-white “Grey” version of the Snyder Cut will soon be available with that line among a few minor additions.
Snyder went on about the odd edict by Warner Bros in wanting him to deliver his vision of the film but not actually add in any newly filmed footage.
“And I think, frankly, that was all just because they have their own cinematic universe and that’s great and they were afraid what I did might — they didn’t want it to — because they consider the theatrical cut as canon and my cut as the Elseworld, kind of cul-de-sac, we know the terms. So they were like, ‘Please don’t do anything, like no Darkseid coda.’ And I was like, ‘Sure. Okay. Great. Do it.’
And I didn’t mean to be subversive or rude, it’s just that the thing that fans wanted, the deal I had made with the world was that they were going to get the unencumbered Zack Snyder version of Justice League. I don’t think anybody in the same position that I was would feel like — I wasn’t cheating…. They’ve got a whole bunch of movies. I have one. I’m not getting paid. I’m doing this for free. I don’t understand.”
Snyder also detailed how he had planned to have the John Stewart Green Lantern in the movie, but Warner Bros claimed to have plans for the character. This pushed Snyder to replace him with the Martian Manhunter.
In the end, Snyder managed to get his way to deliver his vision despite Warner Bros putting more obstacles in ever letting his cut of Justice League see the light of day.
Justice League the Snyder Cut now streaming on HBO Max.