James Gunn, the director of The Suicide Squad is not interested in The Joker
When Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruited a new army of throwaway supervillains, including Bloodsport (Idris Elba) and the Joker’s emancipated ex Harley Quinn, the Suicide Squad director benched the Joker (Jared Leto) (Margot Robbie). In a new interview, the writer-director behind The Suicide Squad and the upcoming HBO Max spinoff Peacemaker explains why he’s more interested in super-zeroes like King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) and Polka-Dot Man than another Joker adaptation (David Dastmalchian).
“There’s all sorts of other characters I’m interested in doing. Joker isn’t really one of them,” Gunn told Desde Hollywood. “He’s been done well so many times by so many people. I am much more interested in taking characters who haven’t fully had their shot, or people who I [connect with].”
After 2016’s Suicide Squad and 2020’s Birds of Prey, Harley Quinn makes only her third live-action appearance in a feature film.
“For whatever reason, I feel connected to Harley Quinn. I feel she’s one of the easiest characters I’ve ever written,” the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker said. “So I’m interested in her, and I’m interested in some other DC characters, and we’ll just see what happens next.”
Over the summer, Gunn explained to The New York Times why he didn’t conscript Leto’s Joker for Task Force X’s mission to Corto Maltese: “I just don’t know why Joker would be in the Suicide Squad. He wouldn’t be helpful in that type of war situation.”
Gunn instead tapped Suicide Squad’s returning Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) for one final suicide mission in The Suicide Squad, with Robbie’s Quinn and Davis’s Waller. Whereas director David Ayer’s film used the Joker as a wild card thrown into the mix during Task Force X’s mission to eliminate Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Gunn chose to assemble a misfit crew of lesser-known costumed criminals like Peacemaker (John Cena) and Ratcatcher 2 during the mission to eliminate Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) (Daniela Melchior).
Leto has only reprised his Suicide Squad role once, in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, alongside the DC Extended Universe’s Batman (Ben Affleck). Following Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson’s live-action roles as the Joker and The Dark Knight, respectively, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix won Oscars for their portrayals of the character in 2019’s Joker and 2008’s The Dark Knight.
After The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, Gunn indicated that he isn’t done with the DC “villain-verse,” telling Entertainment Tonight about a return to the DCEU: “I have all sorts of ideas, and we talk about it all the time.”